Good speech needs solid foundation

STRUCTURE: When preparing to speak in public, do your research, create a framework for your speech and identify key messages.There are so many things to think about when public speaking – the audience,the occasion andthe materials you’re going to use.

Another important aspect is deciding on your key messagesand how to structure them.

Here are some tips:

ResearchDo some research about the topic you will speak about. It’s also best to clarify the purpose of your speech during preparation.

Create Your Key MessageOnce you’ve gathered the required information and you know the purpose of the speech, you need to create your top threekey messages. Ask yourself “what do I want the audience to remember?”

Here’s how to do it:

1. Write down 10 key messages that you think are important about the topic.

2. Narrow this down to threeby prioritising the ones you want your audience to remember.

3. Craft your top threekey messages so they will be easy to say, easy to understand and easy to remember. They should be specific and direct to the point.

4. Select the most important message among the three. This will be your main key message. It should be about your audience, and not about yourself or the company. The main key message should be something which will make an impact on your audience or something they will benefit from. Think to yourself, “what’s in it for them?”

Make an outlineBased on the key messages, draft a structure on how you want to deliver a speech. Just like a movie or a story, your speech should have a narrative. This way, your audience will be able to understand your messages better.

Below is the most common framework of a speech:

Introduction – This is where the greeting, self-introduction, the topic, the key message, and preview for the main points are given. Make sure you deliver a strong introduction. You can use a quotation, a saying, or a line from a song or movie to set the tone of your speech.

Body – It includes main points and ideas that will support your key messages. This is where the purpose of your speech should be served. Any short videos, graphs, or slides are shown at this part of public speaking. You can also insert some humour related to the topic, to keep the audience’s attention.

Conclusion – A short summary of the topic, the main points and the key messages should all included in the conclusion of your speech. You can also impart some parting wisdom about your topic. This is your big chance to make your audience remember you and your speech.

Use Simple WordsAfter creating a framework, composing your entire speech is next. Remember not to use fancy words;this is not necessary. Use simple words in short, but powerful, sentences.

After composing your speech, take time to read it through. Practice the correct timing and delivery of the sentences, so your audience will understand your message effectively.

Jaimie Abbott, owner of Jaimie Abbott Communications, a public speaking training company.