Imagine you have done all the preparatory work for your speech. College students are given the assignment to write speeches periodically, so you know already the basic steps. You have identified your audience, collected important data, and defined the main purpose of your speech. Though, even if you have super effective material, you still have to do a smart job of preparing a perfect presentation of the topic. As you’re learning, you have a good opportunity to practice speech writing, a skill that may be essential both in your career and your relations.
Let’s get straight to the point and find out how you can minimize typical mistakes when preparing your speech.
Not Crafting a Powerful Opening
A quality performance is impossible without an effective opening. Avoid making it dull and uninteresting. Make yourself clear from the start by engaging your audience. Here are the common ways to open a great speech:
- Start with a relevant quote that would draw the attention of the listeners and comprise the main idea of the presentation.
- “What if” or “imagine” scenarios immediately engage the audience, be it college students or your colleagues at a business conference.
- Put a question; that’s another memorable way to start a speech.
- Begin with statistics, but make sure the listeners understand it.
- A powerful phrase – an opinion, an alternative view, or an unbeatable statement – also contributes to a great speech.
The smartest thing is to include only those inputs that are relevant to the presentation matter. However, this doesn’t mean that you should exclude your opinions, interesting quotes, or other illustrative means for your speech.
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Being overly complex
Remember the golden rule: your information must be new to a degree. Prevent the mistake of pouring tons of new data on an unprepared audience. Your listeners shall catch what you’re presenting and follow your logic. One of the common mistakes of newbies is making the narration overly complicated. When writing the draft, try not to go too far into specific data or phenomena and be roughly on the same page with your listeners.
Sometimes we exaggerate, and sometimes it’s inevitable to keep the listeners’ attention. Why would we do that? Exaggeration creates an image that is better or worse than the situation in reality.
Though we may go overboard, the features we want to highlight and the emphasis we want to lay become too obvious and unlikely. In this case, we risk losing the audience’s credit and may face suspicion. So, while exaggeration is generally a nice idea, be careful with it.
Lack of pauses
While “ah’s” and “um’s” are treated as mistakes in speech presentation, deliberate pauses are a must for an effective speech. A lack of pauses may reveal that you just learned the material and want to promptly get rid of it. The listeners may feel that you want to get rid of them too. This certainly does not add points to your speech.
The opposite situation is when you are so enthusiastic that you speak without stopping. Your adrenaline may engage the people in front of you, but remember that listeners may abstain from overly excited speakers.
Winging your speech is what makes it quite boring. Improvisation is nice, but unless you are a very experienced public speaker famous for your speeches, you should prepare a plan and rehearse. Present clearly, have a plan you progress with, avoid a monotonous tone, don’t push, be simple, and you’ll catch attention and be free from the most common drawbacks.
Too much (or not enough) humor
Speaking humorously is a skill every presenter shall learn. Humor makes the presentation credible, relaxed, and interesting. It helps you get your messages across, so don’t be too serious, even in the dullest and most meager topics. Using humor, you demonstrate you are confident enough to make jokes.
But humor is also tricky. While it is your faithful friend, too much of it may harm your narration. Jokes in your presentation shall be relevant, kind, and appropriate in terms of place, time, and subject.
How to Overcome Your Problems?
Speech preparation is considered a more complicated task than writing a traditional academic paper. It comprises oral and written parts, and research and organizational aspects. To avoid weaknesses in your work, discover advice on how to write a good speech from the experts. Following these tips, you will easily arrange your workflow and get a strong result. Here are some further tricks to use at the preparation stage:
- The visuals of your presentation shall illustrate the subject, but don’t overdo it. Being a training wheel, they highlight the details for listeners to understand you better, not cover all you want to say. Don’t read them; prepare the accompanying information you will provide in parallel.
- Don’t jump between the subtopics, be logical. For that, pre-plan a smooth information flow.
- Don’t be too wordy. Keep simple; remember that you will talk to live listeners, not just stuff your text with facts and ideas.
- Don’t be too informal, either. Consider yourself someone who presents some new information, so you must position yourself ahead in your presentation. Keep track of filler words; they water down your message.
- Know your audience. When you sit down to prepare support material, be aware of the public you are addressing.
- Think of quality illustrative material, and that’s not only visuals. Examples from real life and metaphors can help your listeners get your idea.
To sum up:
Stay interesting for your public. A great speech presentation involves not only providing your listeners with a dose of information but also making this information approachable. Use a portion of humor or funny facts in your performance. Back your narrative with vivid features that demonstrate your concept and keep your listeners engaged.
Stay on the subject; all off-tops shall be appropriate and reasonable. Remember that they can both live up to your narration or lead the listeners away from the essence of your performance. Don’t neglect thorough preparations. Don’t fear to rehearse; just don’t get the speech to flow by heart. Leave some room for improvisation and natural excitement – that will keep the public hooked.
Andrea Bell is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on Twitter:@IM_AndreaBell