Public speaking is something that many Americans fear more than death. Considering this, it is no surprise that American students are terrified of public speaking classes. When you have a great formula for writing a great speech, the anxiety surrounding speaking in front of a group of people can be greatly reduced. This is how to write a great speech for any class, and ways to feel more confident doing it.
Step One: Pick a great topic.
Pick a topic that you know a lot about, if you are given the option. It makes it much more natural and easy to talk about if the information has been with you for a long time. However, if the topic isn’t something you’re very familiar with, make sure to do a good amount of research. The more you know, the less nervous you are when you get up to give your speech. Once you have a general topic, pick a more narrow aspect of that topic that you can see yourself giving in the amount of time the teacher allots. Don’t pick a huge topic like the Civil War. Pick a specific battle, or a specific soldier or general. If you only have to give a five minute speech, make sure that you have a narrow enough subject.
Step Two: Write an outline.
Depending on how easily public speaking comes to you, this could be a paragraph, or several pages. If you’re just starting, it is really helpful to write out the entire speech, just to make sure that all of your information is well organized. Also, when you’ve out the entire speech, it is more difficult to forget once you’re giving your speech. When you write it, include something to get the audience’s attention in the beginning. If you don’t want your audience to lose interest quickly, use something like a video clip, quote, or story to begin your speech. Move smoothly as you can between main points, with clear transitions in order to keep your audience on track with your story. Writing it out helps you hear how your audience will hear it when you read it out loud. Make sure to finish out well, end with something called a “clincher”. This is just something to drive home your point to the audience.
Step Three: Practice, practice, practice.
Start out trying your speech out on your cat, then move on to your family. Once you get to the point where you really know your speech, the more confident you can be in front of a group of people. If you get a lot of anxiety, breathe deeply before you give your speech, and remember that most of the others in your speech class will probably have forgotten your speech by lunch. Remember to never start your speech with an explanation of how nervous or unprepared you are, this is never a good way to get an audience interested. Even if you’re very nervous, begin as strong as you can. There is no reason that you will give a bad speech, except expecting yourself to.
Watch yourself giving your speech in the mirror. Is your face unremarkable? Work on making eye contact, and looking eager and excited about what you’re talking about. Are you standing as still as a statue? Work on incorporating hand gestures and body language into your speeches. Audiences read nonverbal clues even more than they read verbal ones. If you look like you absolutely don’t want to be giving a speech at that moment, your audience will be able to tell. Giving a good speech is all about getting a message through to your audience, and if they are sleeping that isn’t going to happen. Also, make sure that you’re using a good and strong voice. Nobody likes to strain to hear you.
Plan for the unexpected, if a train rolls by, your message may not be heard. Plan what you might if something happens to interrupt your speech. Whether it is another student being noisy during your speech, or a loud noise outside, or it seems that nobody is paying attention to what you’re saying. Making sure your message is heard can be the difference between an A or a B.
Step Four: Get feedback.
This may seem obvious, but some people are afraid of asking other people’s opinions of their speech. They may just be embarrassed, but asking is the only way you’ll ever know how well you’ve done. This well help you improve your speech and techniques in the future. Ask for very specific things you can do to make your speeches better. If you’re watching somebody else give a speech, watch them intently and make mental notes of things that they are doing.
By following these steps, you can help yourself to prepare and deliver a speech or presentation for any class. Giving good speeches is essential for many reasons, and learning to do so well may be your success or failure in a job or a class.