(Written by DTM Dr. Ram Jayaraman)

I’ve attempted to outline below in a brief manner some of the basic elements to keep in mind, while preparing for a speech and then delivering it.

While writing the speech, keep in mind that it is going to be orally delivered and NOT read from a book or magazine or listened to from an audio or video recorder. This major difference calls for the writing to be SIMPLE. As you speak, what you say must be immediately intelligible and not ultimately understood! Your audience does not have the luxury of flipping back a few pages and reading again what you’ve written; nor do they have the opportunity to Stop and Rewind and listen to what you said even a few seconds ago. Use simple words/sentences to communicate your message. Your audience will not be simultaneously looking at the dictionary, while listening to your speech!!

Enthusiasm is truly contagious!

Secondly, a speech would be generally more forceful if you PERSONALIZE it. Talk about YOUR involvement in the anecdote / organization / topic that you are talking about. “MY grandfather”, “in MY college”, “when I was keeping wickets”.

One pitfall you want to watch out for is “pouring in” example after example after example to illustrate the point you wish to make. When this happens, people go back home recapitulating some of the numerous anecdotes you talked about; they have forgotten your message! Remember that there are (only) “TWO Es in “speech”. It would be effective to restrict your speech to “TWO Es”. “EXAMPLE” “EXAMPLE”

The letter “C” denotes CONFIDENCE. Do your homework diligently; collect relevant statistics and research your topic thoroughly. When this vital earlier work is done, your audience will notice the confidence you exude and respect you for that.

Lastly, and certainly not in the least, weave good appropriate HUMOR as you write out your speech. Good humored speeches are always very much enjoyed and remembered; further, they help tremendously in driving home a message.

Let me now highlight some basic elements to observe when you GIVE your speech. Let me start with the “G” – GESTURES. When you are delivering your speech remember your whole body speaks. Hand gestures would help, as you speak, in talking about physical things; (“BIG / small”, “petite / obese”); facial gestures would aid in communicating emotions; love, anger etc.

The “I” in GIVE is for “EYE” CONTACT! When you are speaking before an audience, do NOT ignore the group of people in front of you! Don’t talk to the clock on the wall or the lovely tie you are wearing!! Talk looking at the people who are eager to listen to you and get them involved. When your eyes are turned away from your audience, it is translated to “insincerity” in the minds of people. (Especially of a Western audience).

VOICE or VOCAL VARIETY is an excellent skill to develop to win your audience. Vary your voice as you go along to emphasize salient points and draw your audience’s attention. Even a very significant message would be lost, if the audiences were put to sleep by a monotonic voice!

The most important ingredient of any speech, in my view, is ENTHUSIASM. If YOU are not enthused about the topic you are talking about, how could you expect your audience to be interested in listening to what you have to say?! Your enthusiasm is easily perceived through your animated gestures, arresting voice and the look in your eyes!! And enthusiasm is truly contagious; it inspires your listeners and motivates them to act on lines mentioned by you.

So, when you have to give a speech. GO AHEAD! GIVE that SPEECH!!

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