How to Prepare for an Outstanding Speech
Speech Preparation

How to Prepare for an Outstanding Speech


“Be over prepared so that you wont under perform”

Gary Mack


Do you want to deliver an outstanding speech?
I guess you do. So am going to show how.
Hold my hands and let’s walk down till the end of this article.

KNOW YOUR TOPIC

Develop a Concept

It is great that you desire to deliver an outstanding speech.
But first, you need to know exactly what your speech is about.
What is the principal idea that will drive your speech?
For King Jnr. It was His Dream, and for Obama 2004 it was ‘The Audacity of Hope’. Simply put, coin your topic.

Define the Scope

You cannot cover every angle of your chosen topic effectively in one speech.
Therefore, narrow down your speech. Focus on a specific angle.
It’s extensively better to be a jack of one trade and master of one. Than to be a jack of all trade and master of none.
Let’s assume you are talking about fast cars, of course, you cannot cover everything about fast cars at a go.
Therefore, define your scope, “I am talking about fast cars but am going to focus on what makes them fast”

Do a lot of Researching

You have to read and study a lot about the topic you have chosen. You might not talk about everything relating to the topic but you need to know almost everything about the topic as possible.
Knowing the breadth and length of your topic gives you a preparatory boost, an edge and confidence while you go on stage to deliver the speech.
So basically, you need to have a wider and broader knowledge about your speech concept.

Cite Credible References

It’s good that you have a good idea but it is great when you have credible references to support your ideas.
References, credible references gives your speech a logical appeal: appeal to the human intellect.
Facts, accurate facts, and statistics from credible sources that reinforces your concept would do the trick.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Know Their Personality

Who are your audience? And what makes them who they are?
By putting in an effort to understand the personality of your audience, it makes connecting to them and getting your message across easier.
You ought to understand the most likely characteristics of your audience. Basically, you would try to know how their nationality, religion, culture, race or social status plays a role in shaping their personality.

Know the Do’s and Don’ts

With respect to your audience personality you should try to garner out what they might perceive as right or wrong. What is acceptable and presentable before them and what is not?

Identify how your chosen topic affect them?

It’s your responsibility to be able to tell if your chosen topic or concept would affect your audience and in what way.
I am not a fan of WWE, I don’t really think a topic about “smackdown being better than raw” would affect me honestly.
So, you should be able to picture out how your topic affects your audience and if it does actually affect them.

Know their Expectations?

You need to know what your audience will probably be expecting from your speech. What are your audience’s expectation for and from your speech?
Try to uncover their expectations and do well in your speech to fulfil it as much as you can or you try to blow their minds by beating their expectations.

KNOW YOURSELF

In as much as your speech should be tailored for your audience. Your audience are not going to be looking and listening to themselves during your speech.
They are going to be looking and listening to you. So who are you?

Know What Shapes Your Personality?

Ask and provide answer to yourself, “who are you from a personality point of view?”
How do you differ from your audience and what do you have in common with them?
Knowing your personality and/or what personality set your audience might perceive that you possess is key in preparing for a speech.
It help know who you are, especially when you need to be yourself.

Know what makes you Credible?

Who are you by virtue of status to be discussing or talking about what you intending speaking about?
You need to have credibility in the topic you choose to speak about. Because it is key to delivering an outstanding speech.
What are the attributes or elements that qualify you to take such speech?
Is it your academic qualification, your talent or passion, or your experience?
Are you really credible enough to speak on the speech topic you intending speaking about?

WRITE IT DOWN

Now that you’ve known the three “knows” (Know your Topic, know audience and know yourself), you should jump straight into writing down your ideas.

Write it first in your Thought

Every successful speech writing begins in the thoughts. As ideas springs out into your imaginary stream while you research on the topic and reflect upon it. You should gather them up, select the best and arrange them all in your thoughts.
By writing your speech in your thoughts, you are painting a mental picture of your speech.

What are you going to talk about in specific and how do you intend talking about it? Write it down in your thoughts.

Choose a Speech Structure

No matter how organize the ideas in your thought seems to be. They will always be unorganized when brought out to light without a speech structure.
You need to adopt a specified structure for your speech. For in structure your ideas will flow in organization.
I would recommend you check out Nick Morgan’s “5 quick ways to structure your speech”.

Put your Thoughts down to Paper

After building up ideas in your thought and organizing your flow of thought by adopting a specified structure for your speech, do the actual writing/typing.
That picture you have in your imagination, paint it in reality.

Use Visual Aid

Visual aids helps your audience to easily and quickly digest what you are saying to them.
So if applicable and when applicable try to use visual aids to show instead of tell.
It saves a lot of energy, time and it’s easy to comprehend.
And also do note that using the right visual aids at the right point is all important. As visual aids can make or break your speech.
Check these tips on “how to use visual aids for your speech

REHEARSE/REFINE

Rehearse Your Speech

This is the point when you do the actual talking before the mirror. You practice how you say your speech; the voicing, the pitch, areas you need to employ pauses etc.
By rehearsing you are also taking into consideration, how your body moves with respect to what you are saying; body language. You should try as much as possible to communicate almost every idea with your body (mostly your hands) and don’t overdo it.
Just be moderate and passionate.

Refine Your Speech

Remember the Famous Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address. A close friend of Lincoln told a story of how Lincoln wrote and re-wrote that speech severally. He never stopped refining it.
So don’t stop refining your speech. Have a second, a third, a fourth and when possible a hundredth look at your speech. You are bound to see redundant parts in the speech, part that doesn’t fit and areas that needs more light, more touch.
Polish you speech over and over again until it sparkles like diamond.

Bonus Tips

  • Give special consideration to the drafting of the beginning and ending of your speech.
  • Study Outstanding speeches and borrow ideas from them
  • Don’t imitate, be yourself
  • Practice, practice and practice. Don’t get wary of practicing your speech over and over again
  • If you are struggling with the fear of public speaking here is an article on “how to overcome your fear of public speaking”

Conclusion

That was quite a walk right?
Am hoping you enjoyed it.
Don’t forget that an outstanding preparation is key to every outstanding speech.
You can’t go to your audience under prepared and expect to deliver an outstanding speech.

Please do leave a comment below.
And if you have any tip you think should be added do so please in your comment.

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