WHEN YOU DELIVER A SPEECH YOU ARE MAKING YOUR CASE
The topic you choose can decide your place in any speech competition. While you should choose a topic you are passionate about, keep in mind you have to connect with your audience to be successful. Connecting with your audience is important at all levels of competition. If you turn your Real Life Events into unique Powerful Stories using persuasion and the power of the spoken you will do well.
Avoid the following:
- Current events that were in the news media over and over.
- Events that may have varied audience opinions – So too will your judges.
- Topics too big to be delivered in 5 to 7 minutes – Keep It Simple
The purpose of your speech should be clearly defined very early in your presentation.
- Are you speaking to inform
- Are you speaking to entertain
- What do you want your audience to Think-Feel – Or Do after hearing the speech.
Don’t Tell Them–Show Them-Take Them:
- Be descriptive – Use word pictures to convey your message
- Be concise but clear – Every unanswered question becomes a distraction
- Practice your personal stories and anecdotes so that they don’t sound rehearsed-Keep them real.
Have you ever tried to buy a piece of equipment from someone who doesn’t know how to operate it? Knowing your case also means knowing exactly what you are asking for and knowing when you got it. Be factual, where possible use statistics. Do not overstate your case. You’ll undermine your credibility.
Lead with your strongest point or argument:
First impressions are indelible. Most Toastmasters speeches are 5 to 7 minutes. In your first minute, you can win over or lose your audience. Give some indication of where you are going or taking them. Get your audience’s permission to take them
Communicate clearly and concisely:
Make brevity a part of your style. The most celebrated example of brevity: The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lincoln spoke for 2 minutes 270 words. Edward Everett delivered a two-hour oration before Lincoln’s 2 minutes of dedicatory remarks. Great speeches are not written they are rewritten. Write and then deliver or deliver and then write. Whatever your choice happens to be, write your speech – Focus on your choice of words. Check to see if each sentence can be said in fewer words.
Everyone has a personal manner of speaking. Be yourself. Most people can process information only at a moderate rate. Find your voice. Don’t speak too fast or too slowly. Don’t try to sound like someone else. Use strategic pauses for emphasis. Practice enunciating each word clearly.
Your conclusion is just as important as your opening. Recall some of the main points of the presentation. Leave enough time to summarize and emphasize your take away message. The quality of your performance and not the trophy will determine if you have made your case.