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Giving Effective Speeches

Defining an Effective Speech

Business meetings, speech competitions or formal events will allow you to realize that speeches are important — the expression of your thoughts is used to convey your ideas to others, which usually results in a motivated and influenced audience.

The act of speaking isn’t new. ‘Golden rules’ and techniques have always come into play, yet the best way of persuasion, entertainment and action is not a one-fits-all.

Types of Speakers, and When to Speak

  • Moderators are able to both navigate and facilitate an event to their audience, which comes into play in professional settings.
  • Persuaders, which vary wildly in style, can sway a crowd of decisions — this is exhibited within scenarios to convince others of their ideals.
  • Activists evoke the emotion that can make their audience think, using the elements of great rhetoric and vigor to spread their message.
  • Entertainers focus on strong yet humorous language; in every situation, an entertainer must be able to let the audience enjoy themselves.

Cicero’s Five Canons of Rhetoric

Invention, or the process or discovery, creates a starting point for speeches; we can start developing ideas by asking ourselves questions, which leads us to find what we know and what we need to know.

Arrangement comes in unison to the building of a speech. Coming in forms such as written structures, transition cues or an organized rundown, your speech will be framed in a simple yet effective manner.

Elocution lies in how you express yourself to your audience — every change in execution affects how a listener will perceive a speech. Your content is also compounded by the fact that despite a subtle switch in diction, the audience can pick up.

Memory is where the essence of your speech is learned, memorized and understood. Without exposure to our own writing and speaking, a memorable speech is somewhat useless.

Delivery makes the greatest use of your content, voice and movement; after all, it is the final stage of preparation. Speeches are a form of communication, so how you communicate in the end is vital.

Quality or Quantity?

On the flipside, using your time to filter through prospects and possibilities allows for meaningful research. Extra time that you use — including digging through research and past events — can reveal a better connection between you, your speech and your audience.

That’s the use of quality.

Mic Checks

A pause within your speech is effective when:

  • Ideas are bridged without filler
  • Listeners are given time to absorb your speech’s contents
  • Key phrases are underlined, which creates anticipation
  • The speech retains a natural flow

Not every speech needs extravagant slide decks, statistical pie charts or animated videos to accompany them. However, our memory places a greater importance on visual aid.

83% of learning occurs visually, while only 11% occurs through hearing.

Adding visual dimensions also include your physical gestures and how you choose to interact with your audience. The time that we dedicate to visual aid must allow us to stay on the same page with the audience, and not take the focus away from you!

To Speak, To Actuate


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