Twenty Tips For Spellbinding Speeches

by Eileen Kugler

  1. Find out as much as you can about your audience before you prepare your speech.
  2. Focus on what your audience wants and needs to hear -- not what you want to tell them.
  3. As you prepare, give yourself an opportunity to think creatively about your topic by tapping into creative times ... walking the dog, taking a shower, other non-stressful times. When you get a new idea, jot it down and put it in a folder for later use.
  4. Be conscious of the length of your presentation.
  5. Develop an overall theme for the presentation, and make sure you keep to that theme throughout the speech.
  6. Don't overload a short speech -- make just a few points, and make them well.
  7. Use conversational language. Remember the spoken word is different from the written word.
  8. Don't use jargon or acronyms that you don't define.
  9. Get the audience's attention with a strong opening. The more you can customize your opening for that particular audience, the better.
  10. Mention something unique about your knowledge or approach to the issue to establish credibility.
  11. Use transitions between points to keep your audience focused on your theme.
  12. End with a strong closing that emphasizes key points.
  13. Keep a file of quotations that reinforce your message. A dramatic quotation from a well-known source can add punch to a speech, but only if it reinforces the points you want to make.
  14. Humor is also a welcome addition to a speech. Keep a file of stories or jokes that you like. The essential point is, again, to make sure that the story or joke clearly relates to your message.
  15. Before you go before any group, PRACTICE. Time yourself to make sure you will stay within the limits.
  16. Don't read your speech! Practice your presentation until you are so familiar with your presentation that the words flow comfortably from your mouth.
  17. Computer-based illustrations or overheads are a good way to emphasize key points or illustrate themes. A few slides can illustrate a point, but use them sparingly because they require lowered lights (that reduce attention).
  18. Make sure the information on each transparency or slide is limited, and is easily read in the back of the room.
  19. Don't let technology overtake the human element of your speech. You want them to remember you, not the slides.
  20. As you give your speech, make eye contact with audience members as much as possible. Speak to each person "individually."
Website maintained by Chris Baken
Ysmillenials.com