Knowing how to deliver an effective speech is a quick way to impress clients and colleagues and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Strong speaking skills also increase self-confidence and improve your everyday communication skills.
- Good speeches are achieved through preparation and practice.
- Prepare as early as possible.
- Always keep in mind that audiences want you to succeed.
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View sample speeches onlinePrepare and study an outline of your main points. The best speeches stick to the tried and true formula: Tell them what you're going to say, say it, and then tell them what you just said.
Memorize only your introduction and conclusionDon't memorize your entire speech — instead highlight the main points and key works you want to discuss on index cards. The exceptions are your introduction and conclusion, which can help you begin your speech smoothly and more naturally and end on a positive note.
Use simple, short wordsWhen it comes to speeches, less is always more. Don't use two words when one will do. Avoid jargon and use action verbs.
Soothe anxiety and nervousnessBreathing exercises can calm yourself before your speech. Many mindfulness routines that focus on counting breaths help reduce stress and anxiety.
Deliver an effective openingThe first minute sets the mood of your speech. Begin with a personal anecdote or humorous quote to break the ice and make your audience feel at ease.
Record and evaluate your speech for future successRecord and listen to your speech to improve speed and tempo, word choice or awkwardness in your delivery.
- Visual aids like photographs, slides, videotapes, and graphs and charts offer critical reinforcement for both your main points and your supporting evidence. They can also act as a memory spur to help you stay on track.
- Arrive early so you can become familiar with the layout of the room. Where will you stand while you speak? Is there a microphone? How will the audience be seated?
- If you use equipment, such as a projector, make sure you are familiar with it and it works properly beforehand.
- As audience members arrive, introduce yourself and chat with them. It's easier to speak with a group of friends than strangers.
- Dress comfortably. Don't get distracted by clothes that are too tight or too short.
- Hand-outs add value to your speech. Refer to them in your presentation, but give them out after your speech so your audience is not reading while you talk.
- Don't apologize for nervousness — the audience probably won't notice.