Let’s face it… for the majority of us giving a speech can be a terrifying experience. The majority of great orators that we call “naturals” weren’t born that way. It takes practice, lots and lots of practice. Don’t become enslaved by the process of writing and delivering a quality speech! Here are 5 easy steps to giving a great speech from Joan Detz, public-speaking expert and author of How to Write and Give a Good Speech:
- Know that less is more. Focus on your message. “The audience can only absorb so much. A general rule is, the more you put in, the less they will remember.”
- Aim for a target. “Look at the audience in terms of demographics, age range, etc.” Detz says. “Speaking about energy conservation to a young adult who just bought a new car, for example, is going to be much different from speaking to a family.”
- Choose interesting research. Don’t just “throw numbers at an audience,” she says. Put data into everyday language the audience can relate to. For example, if you were speaking for an hour about underage drinking, tell the audience how many teens will call a help hotline in an hour. “This will immediately grab their attention.”
- Write it down. Put your thoughts on paper before standing up and presenting them to an audience. “Whether you type them or write them down on index cards,” know the opening, middle and end.
- Practice without stopping. “A lot of inexperienced speakers will worry about starting off strong and will practice the beginning of their speech 10 times and just skim over the rest,” Detz says. Going through the entire thins is essential. Practice will, indeed, help make your speech perfect.
To enhance and refine your speaking skills, consider joining a Professional Club like Toastmasters International. “Toastmasters International helps men and women learn the art of speaking, listening and thinking-vital skills that promote self-actualization, enhance leadership potential, foster human understanding and contribute to the betterment of mankind.”
Several of our team members participate in Toastmasters meetings and have expressed the benefits of the mentorship they have received. The best way to free yourself from your fears of public speaking is to practice, and prepare. I would encourage you to speak through the jitters and see great results in your professional and personal communication skills.
For more information about Toastmasters go to www.toastmasters.org