For your first speech project, you will introduce yourself to your fellow club members and give them some information about your background, interests, and ambitions. Practice giving your speech to friends or family members, and strive to make eye contact with some of your audience. You may use notes during your speech if you wish. Read the entire project before preparing your talk.
Good speech organization is essential if your audience is to understand your presentation. You must take the time to put your ideas together in an orderly manner. You can organize your speech in several different ways; choose the outline that best suits your topic. The opening should catch the audience’s attention, the body must support the idea you want to convey, and the conclusion should reinforce your ideas and be memorable. Transitions between thoughts should be smooth.
Every speech must have a general and a specific purpose. A general purpose is to inform, to persuade, to entertain, or to inspire. A specific purpose is what you want the audience to do after listening to your speech. Once you have established your general and specific purposes, you’ll find it easy to organize your speech. You’ll also have more confidence, which makes you more convincing, enthusiastic, and sincere. Of course, the better organized the speech is, the more likely it is to achieve your purpose.
Words are powerful. They convey your message and influence the audience and its perception of you. Word choice and arrangement need just as much attention as speech organization and purpose. Select clear, accurate, descriptive and short words that best communicate your ideas and arrange them effectively and correctly. Every word should add value, meaning, and punch to the speech.
Body language is an important part of speaking because it enhances your message and gives you more credibility. It also helps release any nervousness you may feel. Stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact help communicate your message and achieve your speech’s purpose. Body language should be smooth, natural, and convey the same message that your listeners hear.
Your voice has a major effect on your audience. A lively, excited voice attracts and keeps listeners’ attention. A speaking voice should be pleasant, natural, forceful, expressive, and easily heard. Use volume, pitch, rate, and quality as well as appropriate pauses to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message. Your voice should reflect the thoughts you are presenting.
Your speech will be more effective if you can support your main points with statistics, testimony, stories, anecdotes, examples, visual aids and facts. You can find this material on the Internet, at a library, and in other places. Use information collected from numerous sources and carefully support points with specific facts, examples and illustrations, rather than with just your own opinions.
Visual aids help an audience understand and remember what they hear; they are a valuable tool for speakers. The most popular visual aid are computer-based visuals, overhead transparencies, flip charts, whiteboards, and props. The type of visual aid you choose depends on several factors, including the information you wish to display and the size of the audience. Visuals must be appropriate for your message and the audience, and be displayed correctly with ease and confidence.
The ability to persuade – to get other people to understand, accept, and act upon your ideas – is a valuable skill. Your listeners will be more likely to be persuaded if they perceive you as credible, if you use logic and emotion in your appeal, if you carefully structure your speech and if you appeal to their interests. Avoid using notes because they may cause listeners to doubt your sincerity, knowledge, and conviction.
An inspirational speech motivates an audience to improve personally, emotionally, professionally, or spiritually and relies heavily on emotional appeal. It brings the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desire, builds the audience’s enthusiasm, then proposes a change or plan and appeals to the audience to adopt this change or plan.
This speech will last longer than your previous talks, so make arrangements in advance with your VP Education and meeting Toastmaster for extra time.