Preparing for Your Speech Presentation
Speech presentations are inevitable for all of us. We simply cannot escape it, may it be for school or for your profession. Some people are natural when presenting speeches, but there are some who are absolutely terrified of it. We’ve all heard of the famous advice of imagining your audience naked so you wouldn’t be so scared when facing them, but a great way to ensure that you deliver a great speech presentation is to fully prepare for it. Here are some strategies on how to prepare for your speech presentation:
Know Your Audience
Get to know who your audience will be. Knowing your audience is needed so that you could be able to tailor your speech to them. Identify what is the best way to get your audience hooked with your speech presentation. For example, if your audience is your classmates, then put something in your speech that you think is relatable and entertaining to them. If you will be speaking in front of a younger age group, it might be best to keep it short since they have a shorter attention span.
Make an Outline
This is a part of speech preparation that is often skipped to save time, but it is actually one of the most important steps that you should do. Creating an outline of the speech that you will be presenting will ensure that you will have a well-structured speech. Nobody wants to listen to a speech that is all over the place. Not only will it confuse your audience, but it will be harder for you to memorize and understand your speech well if it lacks structure. This is the time to identify your goal. Start by asking yourself “what is the main topic that you want to deliver to your audience?”. After identifying it, make an outline of how you will deliver your topic.
Start Writing Your Speech
Preparing for your speech presentation will require a lot of time. It’s best to prepare right away so you would be able to have all the time that you need. Remember that first impression matters. Once you have an outline, start writing your speech with something very catchy and interesting to grab your audience’s attention. So take the time to really think about what your opening statement will be. When writing your speech, make sure that you are using your own words. Let your personality show. Even though you did rehearse it and made a script for it, writing your speech in your own words will make the whole memorization process easier. Your presentation will feel more natural and less awkward when scripted and rehearsed.
Don’t forget to proofread your work and be open to revisions. If you see awkward sentences, revise it. Your first draft is just the beginning and will keep on changing until you feel satisfied with it. Having a speech that you are confident about can take away that anxiety that you may feel about speaking in public.
Practice By Yourself
Now that you have a well-written speech, it’s time to practice. Even though speech presentations must look natural and unscripted, practice is still very essential because practice makes perfect. Rehearse a few days or weeks before your presentation. Try practicing in front of a mirror so that you would be able to visualize what your audience would see. You could also record yourself. Take note of the way you talk, is it too fast or too slow? How about your tone? Also, take note of words or sentences that you are having a hard time saying and revise it if needed. Play around with how you deliver your speech so that you could see the most efficient way to deliver it. You can start first by practicing without time, but keep in mind that most speech presentations have a time limit. And even though there is no said time limit, a normal person’s attention span is just twenty to thirty minutes. You wouldn’t want your audience dozing off during your speech presentation, right?
Practice Your Body Language
Your body language is the key. Being able to deliver your speech with confidence is a way to get your audience fully focused on you. Practice your body language aside from practicing your speech alone. Your audience wouldn’t just be listening to you, they will also be looking at you. Take note that aside from your speech, you are also an important element in the presentation. Make sure that your body language shows confidence. Practice moving around without losing track of what you are saying. Add some hand gestures during appropriate times. Don’t stand stiffly in one place during the entire speech presentation.
Get an Audience
The best way to get used to speaking in public is to actually practice your speech in front of someone else. This is especially important if it is your first time presenting a speech in front of people. Ask your family or friends to watch you. Present your speech in front of them exactly the same way that you plan on presenting your speech to your audience. Also, practice presenting your speech while being able to make eye contact with them. Sometimes, presenters lose their train of thought when they make eye contact with their audience, but making eye contact will make your audience feel as if they are interacting with you. Rehearsing in front of a practice audience is a great way to have a feel of what it would be like when you do present in front of your real audience. Plus, it is great to receive feedback from other people in order to improve your speech presentation more.
Make sure that you let yourself relax during the whole preparation process, especially the day before. There’s no need to stress yourself out especially when you’ve prepared for it. Panicking can make you lose focus and forget everything that you’ve rehearsed. The day before your presentation, go give yourself some relaxation time. Maybe go do one run-through of your whole presentation, but that’s it. Get proper sleep so that you are well-rested. Allow your body and brain to be refreshed and ready for the big day.