Giving a speech in front of your class can be nerve racking. However, as long as you choose a topic you are passionate about and practice your speech beforehand, you can eliminate those jitters! As you give your speech, speak at a normal pace and enunciate your words. Look at your audience members as if you are having a conversation. Remember that they want you to succeed as much as you want to succeed.
EditResearching Your Topic
- Pick a topic you are passionate about. Pick a subject that defines who you are or what you care about most. Talk about an issue that affects you or someone who is close to you. Or persuade your audience to care about a social, environmental, political, or economic problem.
- If you are passionate about the environment, then write about environmental pollution, or write about the impact of technology on medicine, if that is what you are passionate about.
- Make sure your topic fits the parameters of the assignment.
- Choosing a topic you are passionate about will make writing, rehearsing, and giving your speech much easier.
- Use Internet sources. Type distinct phrases in your search engine to find specific information about your topic like, “The effects of pollution on the ocean.” Look for articles published by reputable sources like universities and well-known news outlets and magazines. Review the information of at least 3 websites.
- If the websites are all saying the same thing about your topic, the information should be valid and reliable. If they are not, then keep researching your topic until you find consistent information.
- Pull information from books. Check out books on your topic from your school’s library, or your local library. Tell the librarian about your topic and the kind of speech you hope to give. Your librarian can point you in the right direction for books and articles on your topic.
- Make an outline of the important information. As you review your sources, write down information that supports and expands your ideas in a valuable way. Categorize the information by theme. Make sure to type or write down relevant points and information such as statistics and facts that support your main argument.
- Additionally, take note of any opposing opinions. This way you can briefly address and rebut them in your speech.
- Save the links to your Internet sources in a Word document so you can refer back to them at a later time if you need to.
- Begin working on your speech a week in advance. A week should give you enough time to find and research your topic, as well as write and practice your speech. However, you may want to begin brainstorming topic ideas a little earlier. This way you can focus on research, writing, and rehearsing your speech during the week.
EditRehearsing Your Speech
- Write out a script. Use your outline to form a script. Pretend as if you are having a conversation with a friend. Write the script as if you are talking to your friend. Keep your script simple by writing down the most important points. Use interesting examples to illustrate your ideas. Additionally, break you script up into main ideas or themes so that it moves forward coherently.
- For example, if you are writing about ocean pollution, break your speech up into causes, effects, and solutions.
- If you are writing about the effect of globalization, organize your speech around the positive and negative effects of globalization.
- Start your speech with an attention grabber. Grab your audience’s attention with a provocative question, or an unusual or interesting fact. You could also use a story from your personal experience, or a prop to grab your audience’s attention.
- For example, if you are giving a speech about the effects of pollution on the ocean, display an image of the floating plastic islands in the middle of the ocean.
- If you are giving a speech about the effects of global population growth, open up your speech with an interesting fact like, “If all the people in the world stood in a line, the line would be long enough to reach Mars.”
- Memorize your script. Once you have your script written, read it out loud to yourself. Replace awkward sounding sentences, with sentences that have a more conversational tone. Then memorize your script line by line.
- Use 3 to 4 hours to memorize a 20 to 30 minute speech.
- Make notecards with important talking points. Once you have your script memorized, write down points that will jog your memory on a notecard. Write down 2 to 3 points per notecard.
- For example, write down the beginning of a sentence, a statistic, an important fact, or a word that will jog your memory.
- Practice your speech. Give your speech to a poster in your room, a stuffed animal, or your pet. Pretend as if they are your audience. Practice your speech until you don’t have to look at your notecards. Once you are ready, practice your speech in front of a friend or family member.
- Rehearse your speech for an hour each day. By rehearsing for an hour, you will become comfortable with your script. This way, when you give the speech you will appear calm and confident. You may even be able to go off script while you give your speech to your class if you practice it enough.
EditGiving the Speech
- Stand straight with your arms relaxed at your sides. Also hold your head high with your chin up. This will give the impression that you are confident, even if you don’t feel confident. Avoid nervous body language such as crossing your arms, tapping your foot, or pacing back and forth.
- Show your audience that you are excited about your speech by smiling before you begin, as well as throughout the speech.
- Pause for 10 seconds before you start your speech. Pausing before you give your speech will allow you time to collect your thoughts. It will also allow your audience members time to focus on you before you start your speech.
- Also remember to pause and take a breath throughout your speech, especially if you feel like you are talking to fast. Pause at the end of sentences, or pause after saying an important point.
- Project your voice. Project your voice by breathing from your stomach. You should feel your stomach expand as you breathe in. Enunciate your words by saying each syllable clearly. And put energy into your words by emphasizing them.
- For example, if you ask a rhetorical question, emphasize the last part of the question, or the word “you” to get your point across.
- Also emphasize main ideas, and the beginning of a new paragraph or section of your speech.
- Speak at a normal pace. Anxiety and nervousness may cause you to speak faster than usual. If you are out of breath while speaking, or if your words start running together, then you are most likely speaking too fast. To keep this from happening, take a breath and slow down to a normal pace.
- Look at your audience members. Start by looking at a familiar face, like a friend, in the audience. Then speak to individuals in your audience by looking at one person at a time. Hold their gaze for 5 to 7 seconds. Move on to the next person after 5 to 7 seconds.
- Think of your speech as a series of conversations with different members in the audience.
- Take a breath if you lose your place or blank out. Don’t worry if you forget the next word or line. It happens to everyone. Instead, pause for one to two seconds to look at your notecards. Before you begin speaking, take a deep breath, smile at your audience, and count backward from 5. If you need to, read the first few lines off of your notecards until you can regain your rhythm and composure.
- Remember, while a few seconds may seem forever to you, it is only a few seconds to your audience.
- Relax yourself beforehand by doing breathing exercises.
- Get rid of nervous energy by running or walking the morning before you give your speech.
- If you can, practice your speech in the classroom or space where you will be giving it.
- Behave In Class
- Select a Topic for a Speech
- Stop Shaking when Making a Speech
- Prepare and Give a Speech