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Things to keep in mind
A speech is very different from a writing assignment. It is simple: we speak differently than we write. We must take into account many added variables speech giving provides as opposed to writing. In a speech, it is best to use shorter sentences with words that you are sure the audience will understand. With writing, the audience has control over the taking in of information. They can stop, go back, and reread a part they didn't understand and look up words if they have to. This is why better speakers go through the pains to be selective about what they say, choosing what the audience is most likely going to understand. It is also important to read out loud what you plan on saying. This ensures you do not accidentally put in a tongue twister or something that is hard to grasp after hearing once.
- Use short(er) sentences and make sure your word choice is clear.
- Consider audience when crafting sentences (watch out for jargon they might not understand).
- Read sentences out loud as you write, hearing the sentences will keep you from tongue twisting phrases and long winded sentences.
Here we must gain the attention of the audience and arouse their interest in you and your message. It is best to relate the topic to the audience as well as provide the key reasons as to why your topic is important in your introduction. Here is where it is encouraged to use your creativity to craft a unique and or intriguing opening to your speech. Whether you startle the audience with a horrific story or get them laughing with a few jokes that involve the topic you're about to discuss in detail, there are many ways to pull your audience in. It is like a gift that the speaker gives to the audience in the hopes that they return the favor by giving their undivided attention. Once we have that attention we can then introduce the topic. It is good to mention your main points/arguments to the audience so they have an idea of where you'll be going in the speech. It is much easier to write the introduction after you've established the main points in the body of the speech.
- Provide an attention getter to draw the audience in. Make sure it relates to the topic and your audience.
- Describe the purpose of your speech clearly, and give the audience an idea of what you'll be speaking about. Including a brief summary of your main points initially helps keep the audience on the same page as you while you navigate through your main points.
- Establish your credibility - answer - why should the audience listen to YOU about this topic? Why is this topic important?
- Writing the introduction after you have all of your main points and purpose statement helps you craft an introduction that reflects what you'll be speaking about.
- Keep a look out for possible introductory stories/quotes/information while you're researching your topic so you have a few ideas when you are done researching.
The conclusion is very important as it is what you leave the audience with and largely what they'll remember when you walk off the stage. There are two main purposes for the conclusion. The first is to signal the end of your speech. Instead of the familiar phrase "in conclusion," a better way would be to summarize the main points you just made which hints that you're coming to a close. Then we are able to focus on the fun part: reinforcing the central idea. This should be a creative way to capture a key part of the message you wish to emphasize. Whether you use a quote, make a dramatic and bold statement, or refer back to your introduction, there are many great ways to end a speech! If we go back to the idea of giving a gift, it is as though the better gift you give, the more likely the audience will remember. So inspire hope, instill fear, dare the audience to dream, be sure you put thought into this and say something worth remembering!
- The first purpose is to show the audience your speech is ending. Instead of "In conclusion" there are many ways to signal you are coming to a close. An example would be to summarize the main points of your speech.
- The second purpose is to emphasize the main message of your speech in a creative and captivating way. A few examples include: a quote from a credible source that relates well, a bold statement calling the audience to action in some way, or a reiteration of your creative introduction in light of the main points you've made.
Prepared by GVSU Speech Lab Consultants
Information adapted from Stephen Lucas' The Art of Public Speaking, Tenth Edition.