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May 2001 - Preparing Your Speech

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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May 2001

Preparing Your Speech

I have discovered through the years that there are ten important things to do when preparing a speech and ten other important things to do when presenting it.  Speakers who do all twenty will be successful. I teach these twenty things in seminars on effective speaking. This month, I will list the ten things to do when preparing the speech. Next month I will list the ten things for presenting the speech  

  1. Know the people in your audience.  Learn as much about them
    as possible before preparing or presenting the speech.
  2. Prepare with the audience in mind.  Make sure that your
    speech fits the audience.
  3. State your objective(s) in terms of what you want the audience to know, believe, or do.  It is not what you say; it is what the audience hears that matters most.
  4. Organize clearly.  Use of a standard outlining format usually works best. Consider organizing main points with proven patterns of organization, such as time, space, problem/solution, cause/effect, topic, or pro/con.
  5. Use interesting examples, illustrations, and comparisons-ones that will appeal to the audience and get your point across.
  6. Determine if any humor or stories you plan to use are appropriate and in good taste.  If you aren't sure, don't use them.
  7. Make certain that statistics are easily understood and that testimony or quotations come from sources that your audience will consider both expert and trustworthy.
  8. Define any words or acronyms that may be unclear.
  9. Plan a beginning that gains the attention of the people in the audience, motivates them to listen, and gives an overview of the speech itself.
  10. Plan a conclusion that summarizes the main points, motivates the audience to remember or act on information from the speech, and provides a sense of finality.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama
jkline@klinespeak.com


May 2001 - Preparing Your Speech
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