There are many people who dread the idea of delivering a speech to an audience. In fact, more than 70 percent of people experience some level of anxiety whenever they’re forced to do public speaking.
If you fall into that category, public speaking might sound like a gigantic undertaking. But there are some steps you can take to pull it off without sending your anxiety levels skyrocketing.
Here are 10 tips that will allow you to give a speech that everyone in a crowd will remember once you’re finished.
1. Prepare by Watching Others Give a Speech
There are so many great public speakers who have delivered speeches in the past. From John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King, Jr., you can find many of their speeches right on YouTube.
Watch several great speeches and ask yourself:
- What made that speech so effective?
- What did the speaker say that got a strong reaction from the crowd?
- What non-verbal cues did the speaker use to make points?
- What parts of the speech were the most memorable to me?
- What techniques did the speaker utilize that I can use?
You might be surprised by how much you can learn from watching just one or two great speeches.
2. Outline What You Want to Cover
Once you’ve watched some speeches and picked up some pointers, it’ll be time for you to start working on your speech.
Rather than jumping right into it, try to sit down and outline some of the specific points you want to make when you give a speech. This will help you organize your thoughts and put things in the right order.
If you skip this step and jump right into the speech, you might find yourself writing it over and over again to get it right. Outlining will help you make sense of everything more effectively.
3. Find Ways to Make Your Speech More Personal
One thing you should keep in mind at all times — this is your speech.
Anyone can sit down, look up a bunch of facts, and then organize them within the context of a speech. But not everyone can offer the same insight into those facts that you can.
Instead of simply slapping a bunch of facts together, you should take the time to put your own personal touch on your speech. When you deliver a speech, it’s a good idea to start with a personal story to draw people in before touching on the specific points you want to make.
By mixing personal stories with facts, you will help people to draw connections between the two. They will remember more of what you say when you take this approach.
4. Write Your Speech Down
You might be surprised by how many people decide to “wing it” when giving a speech. They don’t write anything down at all and try to work off a few basic ideas in their heads.
There are some people who can do this when they give a speech. But the majority of people need some guidance along the way. Even if you don’t need to read right off a piece of paper when delivering a speech, it will help to have your written speech with you.
If you happen to get nervous or simply forget something you wanted to say, you will have your speech right there with you to use as a crutch.
5. Practice on Your Own
After you have written your speech out, you should give a speech while standing in front of a mirror to practice.
Watch yourself give the speech and see how you can improve. That might mean changing a word here or there, or it might mean using a non-verbal cue or even a prop to get a point across.
You should go through your speech multiple times until you just about have it committed to memory. You should also consider timing your speech so that you know how long it will take you to get through it.
6. Ask a Friend to Watch Your Speech
While you will probably have a decent idea of how your speech sounds after practicing it a bunch of times, it still helps to get an outsider’s opinion on the speech.
Before you give a speech to an audience, you should give it to one or two other people to see what they think about it.
After you’re done, ask them:
- Is there anything I could do to make this speech more effective?
- Are there any parts of the speech that seem unnecessary or forced?
- Should I use any non-verbal cues or props during my speech that I’m not using now?
- What are the weakest parts of my speech?
- Do you remember specific parts of my speech now that I’m done giving it?
Take the feedback you receive and use it to tighten up your speech.
7. Rest Up and Eat Right Before Your Speech
This might be the most underrated tip on this whole list.
You should rest up in the days before you give a speech so that your mind is sharp.
You should also eat right and make sure you’re well hydrated heading into your speech.
You will look and feel your best when you’re well-rested and ready to go on the day of your speech.
8. Dress Appropriately
When you give a speech to an audience, you should wear something that looks professional. You should steer clear of anything that’s too over-the-top unless it’s part of your speech.
You want people to take you seriously when you’re delivering a speech. It’s not going to be easy to do that if you’re wearing something distracting like a wrinkled shirt or a pair of yellow pants.
9. Respect Your Audience
During your speech, your audience will respect you by focusing all of their attention on you. Do your best to send that same level of respect right back at them.
Start your speech by introducing yourself and acknowledging those who have come to see you speak. It will go a long way towards people remembering what you say after that.
10. Close Your Speech on a High Note
Not every speech is designed to end with the crowd bursting into applause. But regardless of what topic you’re touching on when you give a speech, you should end it on some kind of high note.
Maybe you ask a thought-provoking question that gets people thinking. Maybe you thank everyone for giving you the chance to speak. Maybe you propose a toast.
Whatever you choose to do, close your speech by ending it definitively and making it worth everyone’s time. Your closing remarks are important and will go a long way towards making sure people remember the things you said.
Start Putting Together the Perfect Speech Now
Giving a great speech isn’t nearly as difficult as most people make it out to be. Prepare for your speech, speak clearly, and show confidence, and people will respond accordingly.
Take a look at our blog for more simple hacks and tips to improve your life.