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There will be at least one moment in your life when you will need to give a speech. Graduation events, wedding ceremonies, presentations at work, birthday parties—these are just some of the cases when you might have to speak in front of an audience. A speech can be persuasive, informative, commentative, or reactive, and it can inspire your listeners or call them to action. In other words, a speech is a powerful communication tool, and just like any other tool, you might want to learn several tips regarding its usage.
Preparing a speech for the members of “Happy Centenary Bachelors Society” is not the same if your audience consisted of middle-aged businessmen. In other words, the content, style, and tone of your speech heavily depends on whom you are doing it for.
Learn as much as you can about your audience. Their average age, gender, political views, educational background, ethnic and racial identification, financial and social status—all these, as well as a number of other factors, you should consider when preparing your speech.
Of course, in the majority of cases, the topic will be determined by the event on which you will be giving your speech. However, sometimes the occasion only provides you with a general direction of thought, and you will need to narrow the subject down to a specific issue or question.
Surprisingly, many people underestimate the importance of having a roadmap for their speech. Trying to write a speech as it goes will do you no good—most likely, you will just get yourself confused. It is advisable that you create a list of issues you would like to address, instead. The outline may change as you work on the speech, but it will give you the initial structure, a direction to work in. It is a great way to prevent yourself from getting stuck in the very beginning.
Giving an impromptu speech is a sign of either great professionalism or recklessness. If you want to be on the safe side, you should learn more about the subject you are going to talk about. Getting yourself acquainted with some major opinions on the topic, using statistical data, supporting your statements with facts and examples—all this makes your speech more vivid and persuasive.
The easiest and the most effective way is to adhere to a classic structure: an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. It is up to you what you will talk about, but be aware of several crucial elements:
Try to predict what questions an audience might ask you after you finish talking, and prepare answers. Even if no one asks you anything, the sole fact of you being prepared for possible debates with the public will boost your confidence. And, in case you are asked questions, you can come up with meaningful and informative answers.
It would be great if some friends of yours would agree to act as your audience, so that you could train your posture, intonations, and so on. Ask them to give you feedback: what they did and did not like, what questions they had, what they think you could have done better, etc. You can practice alone as well: in this case, a mirror and some imagination is all you need.
This is basically all the tips you need for writing a nice speech. To be on the safe side, give yourself enough time to prepare it: do not leave everything to the last minute. Also, remember that practice makes perfect, and with every public performance you will get better as a speaker.
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