I am sure I’m not the only one who’s afraid of talking in front of big crowds. I’ve heard it from my friends, my family, my children – everybody is anxious about public speaking. While I am sure that you are here because you are sharing this fear, I am also certain you a great leader who’s looking for great advice. I will do my best to help you, but I promise that nothing will change until you actually trust your leadership qualities.
I will provide you with a list on how to write awesome speeches and how to perform in front of an audience, but your part of the deal is to learn to trust yourself. You know yourself the best, so even though feedback is highly appreciated, make sure other people’s judgment of you does not change the way you behave and think. Stay smart, stay motivated, stay yourself. Now take a look at the following list of tips writing great speeches!
- The 10 Minutes Rule
I am sure you have great things to talk about. I am also sure there are many people who would love to have a one on one with you, enjoy pleasant conversations and exchange thrilling ideas; but what you have to understand is that not all the people around you think the same. Believe me or not, people care about fewer things than you can possibly imagine. So while you might be tremendously excited about a subject, there will be people who are going to stop listening to you.
In order to avoid boring your audience, make sure you respect the 10-minutes rule. That means after 10 minutes, stop talking. There is no better way to put it. During those 10 minutes, keep your ideas brief and concise, and do not deviate from the subject. This time offers your speech value, but it is not long enough to bore your audience.
I am not saying you will bore your audience because I am a mean person and I try to demotivate you. I just know how much our attention span has decreased lately. We are not able to concentrate anymore, as research shows. We tend to be distracted by anyone and anything, so I do not want you to risk speaking purposelessly.
- Structure is The Key
Without structure, you are going to be lost. There is no way you can deliver a clear message without already knowing what you have to say. Even if you could possibly have a solid conclusion without a plan, the content you come up with is very important to your listeners. They have to be able to follow your words step by step.
- Start with a captivating introduction – I usually interact with my public, so they feel engaged in the conversation from the moment they meet me.
- Do not try to be funny if you are not usually a funny person. You risk making yourself feel uncomfortable and you do not want to screw up the entire speech. If on the other hand you’re good at jokes, do not hesitate to introduce them into your speech. Laughter will capture the attention of your audience very quickly.
- Release information little by little, and emphasize the main points of your message. At the end, recap every important piece of information.
- End your speech with a provoking question. Make them think about your speech later in the day. Don’t forget to leave time for questions!
- Speaking Out Loud
When you write down your speech, rehearse it out loud. Make sure you hear yourself talking. Sometimes, some ideas sound good on paper, but when we actually read them, they do not seem to match the context. It also happens the other way around too, so hearing yourself speak while writing is very effective!
When you speak out loud, you can also fix the tone of your voice. Some sentences might have to be spoken with a lower tone, some with a higher one. You might have to pause after a certain word and wait for your public’s reaction. Speaking out loud will help you realize when you have to adjust your voice, so it is a very beneficial way to test yourself before the actual speech.
- Thinking About Your Audience
This might actually have to be number one in your list. Knowing your listeners’ preferences, ambitions, desires, or interests will help very much when you write down your speech. You will know how to address them, what the right tone to stick to is, and how to engage them in the conversation (probably in the introduction as mentioned before).
Providing solutions and new ideas for an audience that you are familiar with is so much easier! Now you know what bores them, what makes them happy, or what issues you should under no circumstances bring up.
- Writing a Persuasive Speech
Writing the speech before verbally presenting it to the public is essential. Take a look at the next steps you’d need to take.
- Find a widely and heated debated topic to discuss.
- Be familiar with both pros and cons of the topic, and make sure you are able to argue both sides. Even though you are pro one side, you have to be able to empathize with your audience if they are against it. Having a productive conversation is about listening too! (Although that’s probably happening in the Q&A section only).
- Anticipate the points your audience could make against you and rebut them before they have the chance to come up with them.
- Even though your audience will never see the written speech, you have to have good writing – in the end, this translates into good speaking, right? If you are not sure of your abilities or you’re short on time, try some of the custom writing services available online.
- Last but not least, pull it all together, recap every important point, and finish your speech with a strong comment.
Being a leader has never been easy, and delivering a speech is scary most of the times. Anyhow, by practising and taking yourself out of your comfort zone, you will start to feel more connected to your true self and develop real self-confidence. The more you do that, the more success and courage you’ll have in public speaking.
Sharon Hooper is a marketing specialist and blogger from Manchester, UK. When she has a minute, she loves to share a few of her thoughts about marketing, writing and blogging with you. You could follow Sharon on Facebook.