Have you ever had to prepare a speech? Do you have to do it soon? Perhaps you have wondered what you should do to make a perfect speech.
For me there is no discourse model to follow. Every speech and every speaker is different. How to prepare a speech will depend on what you want to achieve.
But it is also true that there are some ideas that work for practically all short speeches.
Here are 10 tips for preparing a speech;
If someone is going to introduce you, prepare that introduction carefully. Don’t leave to chance the first words the public will hear about you.
The title of your speech or conference will be what many people use to decide if they find it interesting or not. It will even determine how many people will attend your event.
If your title already advances everything you are going to say, bad. People won’t need to listen to you.
If your title generates interest and curiosity, good.
Some words that help are: “why”, “how” or “it was like that”. If you have doubts about how to create it, review the digital editions of the main newspapers in your country. One of their jobs is to get you to click on their news and they usually do it very well.
If there were two press conferences with these titles:
“Rajoy did not attend the summit because he suffered dizziness”
“The reason why Rajoy did not attend the summit”
Which one would you go to?
Writing a speech is one thing but giving it publicly is quite another. The paradox is that a written speech is intended to be spoken.
In general, when you write you use longer sentences than when you speak. To elaborate your speech try to use short sentences and few subordinates. What I do is say it out loud as I write it. This is how I realize if that phrase “sounds good” or is too far-fetched.
Avoid the classic: “Good morning, I’m Nacho Tellez and today I’ll talk about…” to start your presentation. Your mission in the first few seconds is to capture the attention of your audience so have the start of your speech prepared beforehand. Here are three suggestions on how to start your speech.
Focus on your ideas. Pick a few main points and develop them. This is especially important in short speeches, less than 20 minutes.
My recommendation is that you don’t try to talk about more than five things. The ideal? Of the three.
Personal stories will bring you closer to the public as they are easy to digest and repeat and easily hold the audience’s attention.
Don’t you feel like always knowing the end of a story? To them too.
All great speech examples contain a metaphor. Metaphors manage to reach a very wide range of people and are a simple way of making some concepts understood. Try to include some metaphors in your presentation as the human mind welcomes them.
Don’t end up with a “chin pun” or “that was it” anyway. The ending is the most important part of your presentation so have studied and prepared what to say. Here are some ideas on how to end a speech.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the first steps in preparing a speech is to design the ending. A good ending can fit multiple beginnings but it is much more difficult to design a good ending when the beginning is already prepared.
Years ago I began to practice the speeches with my first draft and I have always been a bit anxious. As I practiced and memorized, I corrected parts of the speech: a word here, an inversion of order there, a discarding of an entire paragraph… When I continued practicing, it was difficult for me to de-memorize those parts that I had changed and needed more repetitions.
My suggestion: don’t practice your speech until you’re sure that’s the final draft. Write, delete, edit, repeat the process as many times as necessary and, when it is final, start rehearsing.
If you’re using Powerpoint, Keynote, or something similar, make sure your presentation meets a few minimum design requirements. It’s easy to get used to what you see out there and end up doing the same thing. And if what you see are bad examples, what happens happens.