|Did you know that of all
the things that you can do to prepare for a speech, the best one
is the simplest one? PRACTICE!
How do you feel when you're about to give a speech? Excited? Nervous? Scared? Well, most people are terrified! In surveys, the #1 fear of most people is public speaking. Most people are even more scared of public speaking than of death or financial ruin! So, on this page, you'll learn why this anxiety happens and what to do to help it.
Most people feel nervous about giving a speech because:
Public speaking may be unfamiliar to them. Most people rarely talk to an audience.
People may have a lack of confidence. They might compare themselves to other speech givers and feel they won't be as good.
They may feel isolated. When people give a speech, they're often alone and all the attention is on
Some people feel bad about how they'll look up on stage or what other people might think of them.
Some people fear they'll
make a fool of themselves. People worry that they'll
forget what they're supposed to say, or that they'll stumble over the words.
Here are some tips for writing a good speech to
help you feel more confident.
There are six steps to writing a good
Pick the topic (if one hasn't already been assigned). Ask
yourself these questions:
* What is known about the topic?
* What information is needed?
* What subjects are interesting?
Narrow the topic. Speeches can't be about one huge thing.
Example: If the topic is geography, don't tell absolutely everything about geography. Narrow down
the topic to smaller subtopics such as:
* North America
Eventually the topic will become smaller and easier to write about.
Gather the information.
* Look on the Internet.
* Read books or encyclopedias.
* Interview people who know about the topic.
* Read the newspaper.
* Check for articles in magazines.
Write an exciting introduction.
* Start out with a famous quote referring to the topic.
* Ask a question. (Did you know that . . .)
* Refer to something that happened in history or an important event that had something to do with
Write an outline for the speech. Then actually write the speech. Make it easy to follow and understand and make sure
the topic doesn't sound boring. If note cards are being used, write down the basic parts of
the speech on the cards. Or just write down things that are reminders of what
to say. But never write down everything. The audience will be able to tell
if the speaker is just reading off the cards instead of actually speaking.
There is one main thing to do to get ready for the speech.
the speech in a quiet place to be able to listen to it without an
audience. Next, practice talking into a video camera or tape recorder to hear how it sounds. And last, practice in front of a small group of friends or family
the big day. Also, practice how to keep going, even if a mistake is
made. Don't apologize. Instead, just pretend it was done on purpose. Besides, if
an apology is made for a mistake, it will just be calling attention to something no one
Here are some tips for actually presenting the speech.
Know the room. Be familiar with the place that the speech will be given
Know the audience. It's easier to talk to a group of friends than it is to give a speech to strangers.
Relax. Try taking a deep breath if you are nervous.
Visualize presenting the speech and doing a great job.
Realize that most people want to see the speaker succeed. They want
the speech to be interesting.
Concentrate on the message, not the audience. Focus on presenting the speech, not on
nervousness or what the audience might be thinking.
And one more thing. Talk really loud and speak clearly. Nothing is worse than trying to listen to a speech and not being able to hear
Good luck on the next speech. Follow these tips and it'll be great!
Kemper, Dave, Ruth Nathan and
Patrick Sebranek. Writers Express: A Handbook for Young Writers, Thinkers, and Learners.
Wilmington, Massachusetts: Heath and Company, 1995.