Chapter 2: Preparing Your Speech
If you’re looking to deliver a compelling and impactful speech, it all starts with the preparation. Preparing your speech is essential to ensure that your message is clear, concise, and engaging for your audience.
Whether you’re giving a presentation at work, delivering a keynote speech at a conference, or preparing for a special occasion, effective speech preparation is key to success.
In chapter 1, we have seen what is public speaking, its history and importance.
In this chapter, we’ll explore the key elements of speech preparation, from choosing a topic to creating effective openings and closings.
By the end of this chapter, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to prepare your speech, and the tools and techniques you need to deliver a powerful and memorable message.
So, let’s get started!
A. Choosing a Topic
Choosing the right topic is crucial to the success of your speech. Here are a few tips to help you choose a topic that is interesting, relevant, and engaging:
1. Know Your Audience
Think about who your audience is and what they might be interested in hearing about. Consider their age, gender, occupation, and other relevant factors.
2. Choose a Topic You’re Passionate About
When you’re passionate about a topic, it’s much easier to speak confidently and engage your audience. Choose a topic that you’re knowledgeable about and that excites you.
3. Keep It Simple
Don’t try to tackle a complex or controversial topic that you’re not equipped to handle. Keep your topic simple and focused, and make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to say.
B. Conducting Research and Gathering Information
Once you’ve chosen a topic, it’s time to start researching and gathering information. Here are a few tips to help you do this effectively:
1. Use Reliable Sources
Make sure your sources are reliable and reputable. Use academic journals, government websites, and other trustworthy sources to gather information.
2. Take Notes
As you gather information, take notes on the most important points and ideas. Make sure to keep track of where you found each piece of information so you can cite your sources later.
3. Be Selective
Don’t try to include every piece of information you find in your speech. Be selective and choose only the most relevant and interesting information to include.
C. Organizing and Outlining Your Speech
Once you have your information, it’s time to organize it into a clear and effective speech. Here are a few tips to help you do this:
1. Start with an Outline
Create an outline that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion. Use bullet points to organize your main ideas and supporting points.
2. Use Transitions
Use transitions to help your speech flow smoothly from one point to the next. Use phrases like “Moving on to my next point” or “In conclusion” to signal transitions.
3. Practice Your Delivery
Practice delivering your speech with your outline until you’re comfortable with the structure and flow. This will help you deliver a confident and effective speech.
D. Creating Effective Openings and Closings
The opening and closing of your speech are crucial to engaging your audience and leaving a lasting impression. Here are a few tips to help you create effective openings and closings:
1. Grab Your Audience’s Attention
Start with a hook that grabs your audience’s attention and makes them want to hear more. This could be a surprising statistic, an interesting anecdote, or a thought-provoking question.
2. Summarize Your Main Points
In your closing, summarize your main points and leave your audience with a clear and memorable takeaway message.
3. End with a Call to Action
End with a call to action that inspires your audience to take action based on your message. This could be a request for donations, a call to vote, or an invitation to take further action.
By following these tips for preparing your speech, you’ll be well on.
Preparing Your Speech – An Example Template
Scenario – A boss giving a motivational speech to his team to achieve 10% more sales than the budgeted target:
A. Attention-grabbing opening
- Acknowledge the hard work and achievements of the team so far
- Explain the purpose of the speech: to motivate the team to achieve something unprecedented
B. Background information
- Review the current sales figures and the budgeted target
- Explain the importance of achieving 10% more sales, and how it will benefit the company and the team
C. Thesis statement
- State the main message of the speech: “We can achieve 10% more sales than our budgeted target, and I believe in each and every one of you to make it happen.”
II. Body A. Main point 1: Believe in yourself and the team
- Encourage the team to believe in themselves and their abilities
- Highlight past successes and how they demonstrate the team’s capabilities
- Express confidence in the team’s ability to achieve 10% more sales than the budgeted target
B. Main point 2: Focus on the goal
- Explain the importance of setting goals and focusing on achieving them
- Emphasize the benefits of achieving the goal, such as recognition and rewards
- Encourage the team to stay focused on the goal and avoid distractions
C. Main point 3: Work together as a team
- Emphasize the importance of teamwork and collaboration
- Encourage the team to support each other and work together towards the goal
- Highlight past successes that were achieved through teamwork
III. Conclusion A. Restate thesis statement
- Reinforce the message that the team can achieve 10% more sales than the budgeted target
- Reiterate your belief in the team and their abilities
B. Summarize main points
- Summarize the key messages of the speech, including believing in oneself and the team, focusing on the goal, and working together as a team
C. Closing statement or call to action
- End with a motivational statement or call to action, such as “Let’s make this happen! We can do it!” or “Let’s get to work and achieve our goal!”
Exercise for Chapter 2: Preparing Your Speech
Now that you’ve learned about the key elements of speech preparation, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Here’s an exercise to help you prepare a speech:
- Choose a topic: Select a topic that you’re passionate about or have some knowledge about. It could be related to your work, personal life, or any other area of interest.
- Conduct research: Use various sources to gather information about your topic. You can use the internet, books, articles, interviews, surveys, or any other relevant sources.
- Organize and outline your speech: Once you’ve collected all the information, organize it in a logical and coherent manner. Create an outline with the main points of your speech, including an introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Create effective openings and closings: Craft a strong opening that grabs the audience’s attention and sets the tone for your speech. End your speech with a memorable and impactful closing that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.
- Practice your speech: Practice delivering your speech in front of a mirror or with a friend. Pay attention to your body language, tone, and pacing. Refine your speech until you feel confident and comfortable delivering it.
By completing this exercise, you’ll gain valuable experience in speech preparation and delivery, and be better equipped to deliver a powerful and impactful speech in any setting.
- Lucas, S. E. (2012). The art of public speaking (11th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education. Chapter 8 covers speech preparation and organization, and includes tips on choosing a topic, conducting research, and creating effective openings and closings.
- TED Talks. (n.d.). How to prepare for a TED-style talk . This resource provides practical advice on how to prepare for a TED-style talk, including tips on developing your idea, structuring your talk, and rehearsing your delivery.
- Toastmasters International. (n.d.). How to prepare a speech. This resource provides a step-by-step guide to speech preparation, including tips on selecting a topic, researching, outlining, and rehearsing your speech.
- Berkley, N. (2018). Crafting your elevator pitch. This article provides guidance on creating a concise and compelling elevator pitch, which is a short speech designed to sell yourself, your product, or your idea in a brief period of time.
- Institute of Communication and Leadership. (2018). The public speaking process. This resource provides an overview of the public speaking process, including tips on speech preparation, delivery, and audience engagement.