His speech had a lot of content however; it was boring because he read it out. He did not even look at me! This is the feeling that the audience has when you read out a speech. Any speech that is read out becomes boring to the audience and they do not pay attention. Also, your image as a speaker suffers. Now comes the million dollar question? How does one deliver a speech without reading it out? Does it mean that you have to remember each and every word by heart? What happens if you forget one line? The solution to this lies in systematic preparation of the speech.
Follow these steps to prepare a good speech:
After you have decided on the subject of your speech ask yourself the following questions: What do I know about the subject? What don’t I know about the subject? Which area is most important — past, present or future? Write down in points the answers to the above questions: You will be surprised at how much you know and how much you recognize you don’t know about any given subject.
Keeping the answers to the above questions in mind:
1. Put on paper, short sentences, every idea fact or illustration that comes to your mind. Do not worry about the sequence at this stage.
2. Consult all available sources for additional material (Individuals, Newspapers, Books etc.) and write down whatever you feel is relevant to your topic.
3. Arrange all the collected material, in an intelligent order, as per speech plan that would be appropriate for the subject of your speech.
4. In long hand write out your speech (as your would talk) and after you are satisfied with it, read it carefully at least half a dozen times. Be sure to include one good fact and one good illustration under each head of your speech. The fact may be from your own experience or from a book, but it must be brief clear and pertinent.
5. Do not worry about the spit and polish — which will come in your final speech.
6. Note the time that you are taking to read out your speech.
7. Edit, so that you stick to the time.
8. Secure some cards of a convenient size.
9. Record on these cards a brief condensation of the important ideas and phrases of your speech.
10. Read the manuscript six to eight times and DESTROY it. You will not need it any more.
11. Using your cards for reference, start rehearsing your speech. You will find that although you do not repeat the same words and phrases each time you try, — yet the ideas are the same and your choice of words will be free and natural.
12. Check and double check the time taken by you, for the entire speech.
13. Practice before a mirror, — pay attention to your posture, gestures eye control etc.
14. Practice using a tape recorder. Evaluate your voice pitch, pauses, emphasis etc., Change / correct them if necessary. If possible get your speech video recorded.
15. Watch the video carefully. You will notice that you do not like many aspects of your speech. Try to change them.
16. Just before your actual performance, practice once again using the tape recorder and the mirror simultaneously.
17. Do not try to learn your entire speech in one evening or at any one session. A better plan is to do a bit of it at equal intervals taking into account when your talk is to be delivered.