On Delivering a Speech: 5 Important Tips



Editor’s note: This article is also used as a lecture in the subject “Public Speaking, Argumentation and Debate”. An academic debater in his college years, the author is a Philosophy and Debate Professor and has been a debate coach in the university where he teaches. His other vocation also inevitably engages him in frequent public speaking.
1. PLAN YOUR SPEECH by considering your audience.
          Identify your audience. Keep in mind their age bracket, educational attainment, profession, cultural background, etc. Be clear on why your topic is of interest to them.
          If you’re preparing a speech for a debate contest, know also the background or ‘demographics’ of the judges and keep them in mind as you proceed.
2. Organize your speech by identifying your main points.
          Jot down few key points you want your listeners to remember. Express each thought in a single, unambiguous statement, and support each statement with pertinent information. Facts, statistics, historical background, quotations from authorities, case studies, and the like may be important to your topic. Consider also using visual aids to emphasize significant points.
3. Write your speech. Make it understandable, organized, listener-friendly, and conversational. If it’s for a debate, make it argumentative and logical too.
          Employ simple words and short and clear sentences. Avoid using jargons, technical terms, ambiguous, and vague terms unless your topic or the debate proposition calls for it. You can make your speech conversational by:
   a) using adlib
e.g. transitions like,"Moving on..."; or responding to what is happening, like, "While our audiences are smiling..."
   b) asking questions (including tag and rhetorical questions)
   c) sparingly addressing the audience (e.g. “Dear Friends…”, “Brethren…”, “Ladies and gentlemen…”).
          Furthermore, making use of analogies and dramatic stories involving real people can have great impact on your audience.
          Try using 3x5 cards especially in writing down your main points or arguments.
4. Rehearse the speech.
          Time your delivery to match the allotted duration of your talk. Practice in front of your family or a friend and seek for honest feedbacks. If you’re planning to use audio-visual equipments (e.g. laptop, projector, and speakers), learn how to make them work.
            If possible, visit the venue of your talk beforehand. Familiarize yourself with the space, the acoustics, and the technical equipments.
5. Deliver the speech interestingly and eloquently.
          Speak slowly and with enough loudness that persons at the last row could clearly hear your speech. With modern sound system nonetheless, there is no need to amplify your voice. Try modulating it instead.
          Stand in a relaxed manner: your feet slightly apart, your hands at your side or on top of the lectern. Make eye contact with your audience frequently. Try not to read your speech: refer to an outline or to your 3x5 cards.
          Speak with conviction and emphasis. Your enthusiasm and interest, reflected by your intonation, will help hold the audience’s interest. With proper pausing, forcefully pronouncing important terms or phrases, and parallelism (the deliberate repetition of words or sentence structures for effect), your delivery can be emphatic.
     Examples of Parallelism:
          "When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative." (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
          "Truth is not a diet... [Truth is] a condiment."(Christopher Morley)
            Pre-performance jitters and stage freight can be minimized or overcome by enough preparation and mastery of your speech.
Related article/s:
How to cite this article:
Jensen dG. Mañebog. “Debate 101: On Delivering a Speech: 5 Important Tips”@www.OurHappySchool.com
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