Secrets to Speech Success –

1. Practice- Practice, Practice! There is no such thing as a perfect speech but practicing is so essential it is not far off to say that this is the number one secret to speech success! Practicing improves your familiarity with the topic, with memorization, as well gives a good roadmap of what sort of delivery choices you should make (when to pause, or get louder, what words to emphasize etc...)

2. Purpose - Remember your purpose! It is crucial to have your purpose in mind throughout the entire speech making process.  With a speech every second, and every word counts. So making sure that each and every one is in some way aiding in your message is crucial. This keeps the audience in mind, and keeps our thinking centered on that which the speaker wishes to share and the extent to which it is effectively being communicated to the particular audience.

3. Passion – If you’re not interested in your topic then your audience sure won’t be! Even if your speech is mandatory and doesn’t really tickle your fancy, if it is to be a good speech, then you must invest. Find whatever it is you couldn’t keep from saying. The best speeches come from those who care.

4. Presence - When you are on the stage, it is YOUR time. It is ok to take a moment before you begin to take a deep breath and compose yourself. It is alright to pause in the middle for a few moments to collect your thoughts. This is one area where it is wise to “fake it until you make it” confidence comes from belief, and by inserting yourself into a confident role you will begin to develop that very confidence!

5. Poise – For the speaker, the actual speaking done during a speech is functionally no different than having a conversation. The difference comes with the pressure of making a mistake or looking foolish. Hate to break it to you, but… we’re human, and part of the definition of that is we make mistakes. Remember, the audience doesn’t know what you’re about to say, and it will be much harder for them to catch a mistake. So take your time and don’t expect perfection. Focus on the topic and your purpose, and if you do slip up, just forgive yourself and move on; you’re on a mission.


Prepared by GVSU Speech Lab Consultants



Page last modified May 22, 2013