You’ve probably heard that most people’s biggest fear is public speaking. It’s enough to make some people ill and others tremble in fear. However, giving a good speech can actually be quite fun. Here’s how to give a good speech, and maybe enjoy doing it.
Step One: Make sure you’re comfortable with your topic. Ideally, you’ll actually enjoy the topic and maybe even feel passionate about it. It’s a lot more fun to listen to someone who is passionate about their topic.
Step Two: Know whom you’re talking to. Who is going to be sitting in the audience? This is important because you’re going to speak differently if you’re chatting with a room full of teenagers than if you’re chatting with a room full of business people.
Step Three: Know how long you have to speak. This will make a difference in how you prepare and how involved your speech will be. A 10-minute talk on copywriting would be very different from an hour talk on copywriting.
Step Four: Begin to prepare your speech. Outline what you want to talk about and write your key points. If you’re going to be citing data or statistics, make sure you write those down and do your research now.
Step Five: A good speech is interactive. It has the audience nodding, laughing, and raising their hands to participate. Once your speech is outlined, make room for audience participation. Ask questions, tell funny stories and leave room for your audience to interact. Additionally, if your audience is participating, it takes some of the pressure off you – your speech becomes a bit of a collaborative process.
Step Six: Create note cards. Use note cards as cue cards. They’re present to cue you to what you’re going to talk about next. You may also want to jot your data on these cards so you don’t have to memorize statistics.
Step Seven: Practice your speech. This is perhaps the most important point of giving a good speech because if you practice correctly and enough times, you’ll be able to walk in front of your audience knowing deep down that you know your topic well enough to talk for the full time allotted. However, practice doesn’t mean reading your speech over and over again. It means standing up and talking. Use your note cards to keep you on track.
Step Eight: Smile. Really, if it looks like you’re having fun then your audience will have fun too. If you look like you’re going to pass out at any minute, your audience is going to be more focused on how much you’re perspiring than what you’re actually saying.
Step Nine: Take a deep breath before you step on stage and then relax and go with the flow. Take comfort that once you’re done, you’re done and plan to celebrate when you’ve completed.
Step Ten: Once your speech is complete and the raucous applause has quieted thank your audience for their attention and take your leave.
Congratulations! Giving a good speech is more about being comfortable with your topic and that requires a bit of relaxation and preparation.