Planning your speech

  1. Substance matters. There is absolutely no substitute for knowing what you’re talking about. Select a topic that you know and understand, so that you can talk about it with confidence.
  2. Know your audience. Tailoring the content to meet the audience’s expectations is not a guarantee of success, but a journey of thousand miles starts with a single step.
  3. Write down a statement. A single, simple sentence declaration of what you want the audience to understand. Don’t forget that they need to keep something valuable from the experience.
  4. Develop the main points. Make sure you have time to develop and explain all two or three main points.
  5. Gather supporting material. Make sure that all your evidence relates to and supports your main points. Make them relatable to your audience, so they will find the most convincing.
  6. Think about the structure. It is not only what you say, but also the order in which you deliver the information. Think carefully about what to put in your speech’s introduction/body/conclusion.
  7. Write the outline. Think like a novelist. Write the outline of your speech, the issues, the sequence, and the evidence you’ll offer to your audience.
  8. Use visuals. Use them to explain, enhance and reinforce your main points.
  9. Script your speech. Try reading it out loud, in front of a mirror. Think about your feeling when delivering your speech. Calm down, and be confident. Think about your audience. Then repeat.
  10. Prepare your notes. Don’t learn by heart. It’s a speech, not a Shakespeare’s play. Consider that you can be excited in front of a real audience. So better prepare some notes, write them down, or use a PowerPoint presentation. Don’t write too much, you won’t have the audience reading your script.

Matteo Felici

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