4 Key Tips for Preparing a Speech

If you want your speech to be lively and appealing, these are four key steps you need to apply as you prepare your speech. If you write a speech before delivering, use these four tips as a part of editing your first draft. If you prefer to speak from an outline, practice your talk keeping these principles in mind.

1.  Use Short Words

People find short words easier to understand than long words; especially when spoken. Short words can carry more force in a statement. Even Shakespeare knew the benefit of short words: “Out, out damned spot.” “I come to bury Ceaser, not to praise him.” “Alas poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio.”

For the most part, use words you would use in everyday conversation. Review your draft and replace as many long words as you can, with short words.

2. Use Short Sentences

Short sentences have the same effect on understanding as short words. Make your sentences short and to the point.

This is generally easy to fix. After preparing a draft of your speech, go back and break the long sentences into shorter parts.

3. Use Personal Words

Words such as: you, me I, they, we will make a talk more direct and add some informality. Audiences respond to the personal much better. They want to know how what you are saying applies to them.

Instead of asking in general, “How would a person respond?” make it specific. Ask, “How would you respond?”

4. Save the Humour for the End

No, not the end of the speech, but the end of the preparation. Unless you’re performing stand-up comedy, the jokes are secondary to your speech. I’ve listened to too many speeches where the jokes did not support the point of the talk. They seemed to be thrown in because somewhere along the line, the speaker heard, “good speakers tell jokes.”

Make sure that you have laid the foundation of your speech and are covering all you need to say. Then, go back and add any appropriate humour to enhance your presentation.

Four simple keys. Apply them as you prepare and edit your speech and you find audiences keen to listen to what you have to say.

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