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How to Give a Speech

Most of us dread making a speech to a group, but if you think of it as simple communication or helping others, you won't be nervous.


  • Step 1: Know the subject Know your subject and align your message with audience expectations.
  • Step 2: Prepare Prepare by role-playing the speech with a cohort to challenge your points. Focus on one topic and set out your speech to cover issues.
  • Step 3: Write it down Capture key elements on paper in draft, and refine and edit a day or two later. Be concise and simple, using words that are easy to pronounce.
  • TIP: Limit complex formulations, big words, and too many statistics in your speech to avoid losing your audience.
  • Step 4: Summarize While you're preparing, summarize your speech in one sentence to be sure you’re on point. Jot notes to trigger stories and metaphors you will use to emphasize important information.
  • Step 5: Emulate others Study other speakers and absorb effective tendencies to enrich your presentation.
  • TIP: Allusions to people, history, or events must be brief and widely familiar.
  • Step 6: Practice and smile Practice in front of a mirror, remembering to smile and gesture naturally. Outline your speech on note cards, but try to get "off book" as soon as you can so your delivery will flow.
  • Step 7: Project your voice Project and modulate your voice, using emotion to telegraph key points.
  • TIP: As long as it’s not overdone, humor is always a good idea.
  • Step 8: Interact with the audience Interact with the audience as you speak, permitting questions and moving around, keeping the presentation dynamic.
  • FACT: Did you know? Making a presentation in public is the no.1 fear reported by people in the U.S.

You Will Need

  • Knowledge
  • Critic
  • Paper and pen
  • Role models
  • Stories and metaphors
  • Mirror
  • Note cards
  • Strong voice
  • Audience

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