How To Put Together a Short Speech part one

Introduction

This article has been written to assist people who have a requirement to present a short 5 10 minute speech. Maybe you have been asked to be the best man at a mate’s wedding or perhaps the boss has fingered you with some additional responsibility that you just can’t get out of. There are many instances in adult life where you may be called upon to make a speech, sometimes with very little notice, so you need a guideline that you can refer to quickly.

Because high quality speech writing and presentation is quite a refined art, I have decided to write this article as a series so that all aspects of speech writing and presenting can be covered in suitable depth. The reader can then determine what level of requirement they have and reference the required sections.

Part one will cover speech structure

A) Speech Structure

A good speech must have a definite structure which allows the audience to easily follow the presentation and understand the purpose and main points of the speech.

Opening

You have about 20 seconds to grab the attention of your audience who will very quickly determine if you are going to be worth listening to (or not). It is imperative that you have a strong opening to your speech that gets their attention immediately. Place yourself in their seat and ask "what is this person going to say that will be of value or of interest to me".

The opening should be about 1 minute for a 10 minute speech something that gives the audience a reason to want to listen to you. Pause at the end of your opening, before starting the body this signals that the opening has concluded and adds impact to it.

Body

The middle section of the speech is where you will present the facts or ideas required to reinforce the main purpose of your speech. It is very important to only present up to 3 main points in the speech body – more than that will lose most of your audience.

Present each point with a definite pause (no spoken word) between each one this signals that one idea/fact is over and another will follow. Arrange these points so that the most compelling is left till last because the audience will remember the last point most easily. When writing the speech, juggle the 3 points around to see what has the most logical flow if it doesn’t flow well then replace a point with a new one that fits into the flow even if it is not quite as important as the point you removed. Do not be tempted to add another point (total now 4) just to make the speech flow unless you are well practiced at this art.

Pause at the end of the body.

Close

By now you have spoken for maybe 8:30 mins so you only have 1:30 mins to finally convince your audience this is done with your speech closing statement. This is what the audience will remember most about your speech so you must finish with a strong statement, a call to action or a heartfelt ending that "hits the spot".

You must know the ending off by heart and flawlessly deliver it, because if you make a mistake, the audience will only remember your mistake.

These are the three basic sections of a good speech and will allow you to deliver a presentation that your audience can easily follow and appreciate.

In part 2, I will cover how to organize and write this speech for best effect and then in part 3 we will discuss how to practice the speech and add refinements, humour and impact.

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