As you’re building the story line for your speech, remember the rule of thumb: 3 points usually work better.
Choose a pattern; for informative speeches, it could be chronological, spatial, or topical. You could also choose to start with your most important piece of info, or choose to finish with it.
Plan for how to anchor every main point with sources, examples, props, case studies, etc..
Walk mentally through the pattern and test its integrity, flow, and logic. Choose carefully your sub points, and ensure that they don’t overlap. Think of the speech as a map.
Check that you have enough supporting material. Remember, that’s what it is: supporting. Never should it become the speech. Your audience members can watch the video or read the article from the comfort of their home. If your speech is a 7-min shot, don’t go for a 3-min video. Check the volume, then language, the relevancy, and the date!
Ensure you can pronounce jargon if any in your speech. You won’t really know unless you rehearse. You really, really need to rehearse.
Start with the wall. The wall won’t criticize. The wall won’t reflect a “you” that doesn’t look confident enough. You can warm up to your speech without having to actually see how you’re doing yet. Rehearsing your speech with the wall will allow you to time yourself, and see how different the duration of your speech can be to what you had assumed it to be.
Now that you’ve checked time pronunciation and flow, go to the mirror and deliver there. Yes, mirror, mirror on the wall!
Observe and adjust. Are you smiling frequently enough; are you frowning? Are you over-doing it when you’re getting emotional?
Now that you have practiced in front of the mirror, and that you have become satisfied with the overall result, find someone who’s willing to listen to you and give you honest feedback.
At first, it doesn’t matter if they speak the language, I actually love to get feedback from people who don’t. They tell you important things like “you looked confident”, or “you looked too worried”, or “you moved too much”. In brief, them not understanding the language will help focus on the non-verbal delivery. A paramount element!
The next step would be to rehearse in front of someone who understands the language, preferably someone around that shares some attributes with the members of the audience (education, interest). Don’t argue with feedback. Listen to it!
Try to simulate. If you are to give your speech in the evening, rehearse in the evening. You would be surprised how your energy level can change. Try to rehearse in the room you will be speaking in if you have the chance to.
Please read the end of the series: Speech Delivery!
The author, Radhia Benalia, PMP is Deputy General Manager at CMCS , and a professional with proven track record in public speaking , and public speaking and soft skill training. As her skills spilled over other aspects of her life, she was nominated in 2009 as the candidate chosen to run for the party in office, British Columbia, Canada.