Preparing for giving a speech: several prompts
Speeches are frequently chosen as assignments for a variety of different classes. Communications classes, business classes, and English classes all utilize speech writing and presentation as a way to drive home the core material in the syllabus. Aside from traditional speeches, presentations are also assigned in just about every other type of course imaginable. Even science and mathematics classes may assign class presentations, and the preparation of these is not unlike preparing to give a speech. So, regardless of one’s major, the ability to speak well and deliver information in a public setting is important. These prompts can help you prepare to give a speech.
- Practice, practice, practice
- Cue cards
- Don’t stress
You should spend plenty of time practicing your presentation or speech in advance. When possible, do this with a live audience, even if it’s just one person. You’ll want to figure out what “works” well ahead of time, in case you need to make some adjustments. You’ll find that something that sounds good on paper doesn’t always translate well to the spoken word, and you’ll need to remedy that. Your “audience” can also point out parts of your speech that they find confusing.
Cue cards are not meant to encompass your entire speech; you shouldn’t need that because you’ve been practicing so much you should have it mostly memorized. However, you may find that there are places you get stuck or certain transitions between topics which would be helped by a bit of prompting. Each cue card should be able to tell you at a mere glance what comes next. They’re also very helpful if you have numbers or precise facts to convey. Practice a few times without cue cards, making notes about where they would be helpful, and then create your cue cards and practice a few times while using them.
For those who get a case of nerves while public speaking, this is the most important factor. You’ve surely heard the expression “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself,” and it couldn’t be more true than when it comes to delivering speeches. There’s nothing to worry about, except your own nerves tripping you up. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your speech, eat a light breakfast or lunch (the last thing you want is an upset stomach while speaking!) and listen to some calming music before you present.