Public Speaking for Success 101: The Secrets on Writing and Delivering a Great Speech
One of the greatest assets that a person can possess is a strong command of written and spoken language. People who are able to perfectly articulate their thoughts into concrete statements can become a very useful tool when communicating with others. However, there are instances when you might be tapped to deliver a speech for an important event. It could be anything where your presence is invited or required such as a mandatory company gathering, a business conference out of town, a graduation ceremony at a high school or college, or even a wedding reception for one of your close friends or relatives. Even something like a presentation of progress reports at work is considered a form of speech delivery, so there are many forms in which this thing manifests itself in our daily lives.
For most people, the very thought of delivering a speech—let along writing one, for that matter—is something that sends them into paroxysms of great anxiety and nerves. The expectation to either educate or entertain an audience is not something that most people are willingly comfortable with doing, and this is completely understandable. However, if you are tasked to rise to the occasion, then you must be prepared to really make your speech sound engaging and eloquent. Nothing can be more embarrassing than having to make a fool out of yourself in front of several people by giving a speech that is not only badly written, but also poorly delivered. This is something that you should be highly conscious about because speeches are opportunities for you to connect with others on a bigger scale.
Think of speech writing and delivery as a form of communication where you are sharing your thoughts and ideas to other people whose only job is to listen to you speak out your mind. When you really think about it, one of the great advantages of doing this kind of thing is that you’re given the chance to showcase your intelligence and personality within a public setting. Fortunately, there are ways where you are able to get this job done without any hiccups in the process. It’s important for you to know and understand these methods so that you won’t even have to think twice about saying yes if you’re asked to do a speech for an event. Look to the pieces of advice featured below to learn the secrets on how to write and deliver a great speech.
Clarity is absolutely vital
Doing an oral presentation means that people will be listening intently to what you say, especially if your role in the event requires something that will educate or inform the audience. If your speech merely involves an incoherent rambling of random thoughts, then people won’t be too pleased or thrilled to know that you’ve basically wasted their time over nothing. Before you get started, it’s essential that you prepare your speech by making sure you are presenting clear and understandable points.
People should come out from your speech learning things they haven’t heard about before. The best way to achieve that is to do your research and craft a cohesive narrative that will allow the audience to really hang on to your every word. You know you’ve done a good job in writing and executing your speech when people remember a lot of key passages and quote them back to you.
Make it genuinely compelling
There’s nothing worse than boring people when you’re talking, and nobody wants to experience that kind of discomfort or embarrassment firsthand. Admittedly, there is this unfair stereotype that listening to speeches can be rather boring, but that is only if the audience chooses to tune in to what is actually being said by the speaker. The challenge here is to make sure that the full attention of the audience is planted firmly on you and the speech you’re giving, so how exactly do you confront this obstacle?
The answer: make your content and delivery compelling. Before you even give out your speech to the crowd, you must first practice by yourself in order to get your tone of voice and your cadence just right. Doing this beforehand will allow you to take note which parts of your speech need improvement and where you are able to ensure that you won’t bore the audience with mundane yet crucial information.
Keep your content current
A common mistake that most people commit when delivering speeches is that they often present material that people know is outdated. This is a surefire way to not only waste other people’s time, but also lose their interest in what you have to say. Think about the kind of event you’re going to and focus on tailoring your speech to fit whatever is currently trending on your social or professional life. This keeps things interesting and makes people think that you’re not doing the expected route of speech delivery.
Bear in mind that aligning the content of your speech with current events or news that people are actively talking about at the moment will create a stimulating conversation once you’ve delivered your piece, and this is the desired outcome you should consider reaching. Keeping things current lends a sense of relevancy to the proceedings, and therefore, you’ll gain the audience’s interest and respect in the process.
Be congruent with your image
Giving speeches isn’t just about impressing people with your intelligence or oration skills; it’s also something you do for yourself that helps to establish your identity or personality to a group of people. Even if you’re delivering a speech to a group mostly comprised of total strangers, they’ll be able to get a sense of who you are as an individual based on how you talk, the way you move through your body language, and the kind of things you’re talking about in your speech. You need to think about your image and your personal branding because this is how you are able to connect with other people during an oral presentation.
When they are able to understand who you are and what you do, then they’ll quickly get the gist of what you’ll be discussing with them for the next few minutes of your speech. Take note that it can be jarring to the average audience member if they see you looking one way offstage but then the content of your speech is in complete contrast to your personal image. Congruency is key, so don’t forget to ensure that this element is firmly in place.
Think about commercial viability
The one thing you might not know about giving speeches is that you can really make a name for yourself out of it if people really like hearing your thoughts and discussing topics that genuinely capture their interests. Certain businesses, organizations, or institutions would definitely want to book your services if they feel like you’re a person who has something valuable to contribute in front of a willing and eager audience. If you intend on making a mark on becoming an in-demand orator, then you must practice your public speaking skills and refining them in a way that will be commercially viable to the broadest demographic possible.
Never underestimate the power of strong word-of-mouth because you never know when someone in the audience might record your amazingly written and delivered speech on video and broadcast it through video platforms such as YouTube and shared through various social media sites. As such, you should always treat every speech as an opportunity to network and gain potential collaborations that could boost your personal and professional profile in a really huge way.
Consistency definitely matters
When you have your personal brand and image firmly established, then it’s important for you to focus on your key strengths and remain consistent with your material. Although it’s also essential that you evolve with the changing times and acquiring new knowledge you’ll gain over the years, you must never abandon your roots despite the fresh ideas you’ve absorbed in your quest to become a better and more successful individual. Positioning yourself as a flexible yet consistent public speaker will give people the positive impression that you’re someone who takes things seriously but with an open mind.
Furthermore, you don’t want to bore people by talking about the same topics just because you’re generally associated with a specific field of interest. It helps if you could expand your reach just a little bit further than what you’re normally comfortable with or what people would expect from you just to keep things fresh but still retaining your signature stylistic imprint.
Apply a competitive edge
For the average audience member, listening to a speech may sound monotonous especially if they’ve heard the same topic being discussed in various ways by different speakers. The trick to ensuring that the audience will always be on their toes is to make sure that you’re generating concepts and ideas that nobody else has tackled before. In doing so, you’re giving yourself a competitive edge that separates you from other public speakers who are also vying for the attentions of a crowd willing to learn new information.
Remind yourself that it’s not enough to be the best at what you do; you must also strive to be the only one who can provide new ideas to others before anyone else beats you to it. And even when there’s a common concept that most everyone will likely scramble to claim as their own, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should abandon the idea. In fact, you should use this as an opportunity to design a provocative premise around it that hasn’t been shared before.
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