Preparing Your Speech
I have discovered through the years that there are ten important things
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
the ten things to do when preparing the speech. Next month I will
ten things for presenting the speech
- Know the people in your audience. Learn as much about them
as possible before preparing or presenting the speech.
- Prepare with the audience in mind. Make sure that your
speech fits the audience.
- 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
audience hears that matters most.
- Organize clearly. Use of a standard outlining format
usually works best. Consider organizing main points with proven
organization, such as time, space, problem/solution, cause/effect,
- Use interesting examples, illustrations, and
comparisons-ones that will appeal to the audience and get your point
- 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.
- Make certain that statistics are easily understood and that
testimony or quotations come from sources that your audience will
both expert and trustworthy.
- Define any words or acronyms that may be unclear.
- Plan a beginning that gains the attention of the people in
the audience, motivates them to listen, and gives an overview of the
- Plan a conclusion that summarizes the main points, motivates
the audience to remember or act on information from the speech, and
a sense of finality.