A speech is completely different from a presentation; a presentation is you, discussing a topic, using slides and visual aids, and is usually informative and academic/professional. A speech, on the other hand, is usually 70% emotion and 30% facts, when giving a speech, the main focus is to make the audience feel what you are saying, not just understand some information, you want your words to touch them and effortlessly be remembered. It is not easy giving an unforgettable speech, and it does not happen from the first time, however, here are the best 15 tips to help you give a one-of-a-kind speech.
What is the aim of your speech?
Understanding what the aim of your speech is, is the core of giving a great speech. You must thoroughly research your topic and its every dimension, if you do not understand your topic, how will your audience? Write down why you want to give a speech about this particular issue and think of how you can deliver it to your audience, how will they react to it? How can you get to them? Your audience relating to your words is the most important part of your speech, so it is very important that you think of how to achieve that.
The opening of any speech is what captures the audience’s attention at first, and is your gateway to get them to listen to you, which is why it is crucial to start off your speech with a sentence that makes your audience go “Wow”. We recommend you leave your opening line to the end, after you have written out your speech and maybe practised a couple of times so that you can truly feel your words coming together and forming a great opening in your head to lead to the body of your speech.
A part of what makes a speech relatable to the audience is the stories you tell. When giving a speech, it is recommended by experts that you include three to five stories, depending on the length of your speech, that convey your aim and help the audience familiarize with you. Your stories should let the audience understand where you are coming from, what the point of your speech is, and even think “Yes, I’ve been there”. Your stories don’t have to just be empathetic, you can also tell anecdotes, funny stories, or just life situations, the most important thing is that it links back to the objective of your speech.
Keep it brief and simple.
No matter how great your speech is, if you keep talking non stop, the chances are your audience will get bored. Therefore, when giving a speech, make sure to keep your points brief and to the point, and do not keep going on about a certain part of your speech if you have already made your point about it. That way, your audience will stay focused and will remember all -or most- of the points you have made.
Give a performance.
This is a great difference between giving a presentation and giving a speech. When giving your speech, you want to be giving a performance, walk around the stage, do impersonations, change your accent, do whatever you need to do to give a whole performance, not just a regular presentation. You need to show emotion, as aforementioned, this is of extreme importance to give a speech people will actually remember.
In order to give a performance, as mentioned in the previous point, you have to be confident. Giving a powerful speech is not easy and takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there in the spotlight and try and deliver a speech that will touch the soul of every individual in your audience, so you will need to muster up all your courage to give that amazing speech. Remember that the crowd wants to see you succeed, they want to see something that will blow their minds away, so keep that in mind while performing, and make it your goal to give them what they want.
Eye contact helps people feel connected to you, which is exactly what you want when giving a speech. Making eye contact with your audience will help them deeply feel your words, and will show how confident and self-assured you are. It will also portray how passionate and heartfelt your words are, which will be transferred on to the crowd.
Switch your tone.
People’s attention span is usually very short, which is why you should avoid being monotonic and change the tone of your voice every couple of minutes. It is best that you raise your voice a little bit higher after every pause to gain their attention once more, then go back to your regular voice, and maybe raise it a bit again in the midst of your storytelling, and after pausing again, raise it higher again. That way, the constant change of tone and volume will keep the crowd engaged.
Avoid using visuals.
As we previously agreed, there are vast differences between a presentation and a speech, and one of these differences is the use of visuals. In a speech, you are the main focus, so you should not be using any slides or pictures, or any other sorts of visuals, that can distract the audience away from you. Unless you absolutely need visuals for data presentation or such, completely avoid using visuals during your speech.
Do not veer away from the main topic.
Be careful when giving your speech to not veer away from the main aim of your speech, do not include irrelevant stories and information or lose focus and start getting into other topics, it can be easy to fall into this trap, especially if you are not sticking to a previously written speech. Remind yourself to keep your speech short, brief, and simple, and you will not get tricked into this.
Even though this might be the hardest thing to do, it is the most important tip of all. People can tell when you are faking your reactions or trying to be someone that you are not, so instead, just be yourself. Write down your speech earlier and try to make it as close to your personality as possible. While it is important that you think of what can please the audience, it is more important that the speech pleases YOU! So try to deliver a speech that speaks the true you before it relates to anyone else, that is what will make it unique.
Listen to other speeches
Before you give your speech, try to listen to other speeches and learn from the speaker, watch their movements, observe their change of tone, pay attention to the power and confidence in their voices and attitudes. This will positively impact the way you give your speech, and will provide you with actual, real life, examples of unforgettable speeches.
Practising is crucial before the day you have to give your speech, it will help you get rid of the anxiety holding you captive from unleashing your full potential, and will point out any points or parts in your speech that need improvement. Try to practise on your own a couple of times first until you memorize the things you want to say, then practise in front of a group of people that you trust, maybe your family or a group of friends, in order to familiarize with the feeling of being watched as you perform, and to get feedback as well.
Arriving early to the place you are going to give the speech in can really help you adapt to the environment and decrease your pre-speech jitters. Try to get settled and talk to the people there, making acquaintances within your audience and having some friendly chit-chats with them will definitely assure you and motivate you to get up on stage and give the best performance you can.
Sleep well and stay hydrated
The last tip is to get at least 6 hours of sleep beforehand in order to avoid yawns and tears of sleep deprivation in the midst of your speech. Do not forget to stay hydrated as well, when we are nervous, our mouths tend to go dry, especially if we are dehydrated, which will most likely result is your voice breaking while you speak, in addition to other side effects of dehydration such as headaches, dizziness, and low blood pressure.