Tuesday, July 05, 2011

For Speech Preparation

by CWK

Here are some questions to run through the next time you prepare a speech. The questions are divided up into various themes concerning a speech.


1.       Is it well researched?
The key here, as Aristotle would say, is to think out the other side. You need to (if your speech is persuasive) be able to argue the other side and really see its best points.
2.       Written out?
“Writing maketh a man exact (Bacon).” This is the way to calm your nerves and ensure that you deliver your speech well.
3.       Practice?
At least 5 times for shorter speeches. Remember, practice in front of real people; or, lacking real people, a real dog or cat. Lacking any real living creature, try to speak in such a way that you will bring something to life.
4.       Is there a clear big idea?
The fruit of all your research should bring you to the point where you can simply state the main point, the big idea, of your speech. This needs to be a simple sentence that can pass the 3 am test (Bryan Chapell).


1.       Get your attention?
Does the first sentence or two grab us and cause us to listen?
Here are some ideas for attention getters…
  1. Anecdote (this is the best and most effective..tell a good story that introduces the topic).
  2. Startling statement (surprise your audience)
ex. They told me not to stand behind this coffin.
  1. Comedy
  2. Shocking question
ex. “Have you ever jumped from a two-story building?…bungee jumpers do it all the time.”
  1. Startling fact
2.       Does it matter?
Your listener is thinking, “This speech doesn’t matter to me.” You need to prove them wrong right away. Pretend your listener is thinking, “So what? Why should I listen?”… and then answer that question. Say directly, “this is important for all of us because…” Tell them why they should listen. You can figure out how to do this by asking the simple question, "Why do I, me, myself, and I, care about this subject?"
3.       Does it preview what is to come?
Give the listener a big billboard so they will know what to expect.
4.       Does it state the big idea?
Near the end of your intro. you should make it clear what the big idea of your speech is. Tell us in simple language what you are going to tell us about. If you are going to teach us to do something tell us what you are going to teach us; if you are going to educate us tell us what we are going to learn about; if you are going to persuade us tell us to what viewpoint you wish to win us. Your whole introduction should be preparing us for this one sentence.


1.       Summary?
Tell us what you told us (so we will remember what you told us).
2.       Climax?
Your speech should build to its highest point in the conclusion.
3.       Tell us what to do?
Your last sentence should tell us what we are to do now that we have heard your speech. If you gave a speech on scuba diving you may encourage us to learn more about the ocean or even go scuba diving ourselves.
ex. “I hope that if you ever have the chance you will take the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful (but unseen) parts of the earth.”
4.       Planned definite end?
Plan out your last sentence. Don’t let your speech end aimlessly. Have a good specific final sentence to end with.


1.       Does this illustration truly clarify?
Avoid telling stories just to tell them. Make sure your stories actually help your audience understand your points.
2.       Does it state the point of similarity?
Your audience may not understand your illustration unless you tell them clearly what you are illustrating. Use a sentence like, “In the same way…”
3.       Real life details?
Take us there to the story and give us interesting facts. Make us see the scene you are describing.

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