Elements Of An Effective Speech
“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t; the other half have nothing to say and keep saying it.”
Anyone can give a speech. Not everyone can give an effective speech. To give an effective speech there are 6 elements you should consider.
Be Prepared – Being prepared is by far the most important element. How many times do you practice your speech? As a general rule, you should spend about 30 hours of preparation and rehearsal time for every hour you will be speaking. Use a tape recorder or videotape yourself. This will help you to get an accurate picture of how you speak.
Give of Yourself – Use personal examples and stories in your speech whenever possible. Make sure your stories help to emphasize or support your point. The stories must match your message. Use examples from your personal and professional life to make your point. In either case be willing to give of yourself by sharing some of yourself with the audience
Stay Relaxed – To stay relaxed you should be prepared. Also, focus on your message and not the audience. Use gestures, including walking patterns. Practice the opening of your speech and plan exactly how you will say it. The audience will judge you in the first 30 seconds they see you.
Use Natural Humor – Don’t try to be a stand up comedian. Use natural humor by poking fun at yourself and something you said or did. Be sure NOT to make fun of anyone in the audience. People will laugh with you when you poke fun at yourself but don’t over do it.
Plan Your Body & Hand Positions – During the practice of your speech look for occasions where you can use a gesture. Establish three positions where you will stand and practice not only how to move to them but where in your speech do you move. Pick three positions, one on center stage, one to your right, and one to your left. Do not hide behind the lectern. When you do move maintain eye contact with the audience.
Pay attention to all details – Make sure you have the right location (school, hotel, room & time). Make sure you know how to get to where you are speaking. Ask how large an audience you will be speaking to. Make sure you bring all your visual aids and plenty of handouts. Arrive early so you can check out where you will be speaking and make any last minute adjustments.
It is very important that you pay attention to even the smallest details. You can never overplan. Remember, “He who fails to plan is planning for failure”