Ten Steps to a Successful Speech Steve Wood TCCC Step 1: Topic Choose a good topic A good topic is a topic that interests you and a topic that you know something about. Step 2: Purpose Speeches should have both a general and a specific purpose Step 2: General Purposes There are three general purposes for speaking: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. Although these three most often work in concert with one another, it’s helpful to decide which is most important for you. Step 2: Specific Purposes To specify your purpose, draft a purpose statement. A purpose statement describes the result you are seeking. A purpose statement must be specific. A purpose statement must be realistic. Step 2: Bad Purpose Statements “My purpose is to tell my audience about computer games.” -- Not result-oriented “My purpose is for my audience to learn about exercise.” -- Not specific “After listening to my speech, my audience will never vote Republican again.” -- Not realistic Step 2: Good Purpose Statements “After listening to my speech, my audience will understand the appeal of role-playing games.” “After listening to my speech, my audience will know three low intensity forms of exercise to strengthen their cardiovascular fitness.” “After listening to my speech, my audience will know the basic beliefs of the Libertarian Party.” Step 3: Thesis Statement Unlike a purpose statement, a thesis statement is a statement of the main point of your speech that can be delivered directly to the audience. Step 4: Audience Analysis Analyzing your audience is an important step toward a successful speech. Your audience analysis will potentially affect every choice that you make in this process. Step 4: Audience Types There are three types of audiences. • Passersby -- not interested initially, gathered for speech by chance • Captives -- may or may not be interested, gathered for speech by force • Volunteers -- often interested, gathered for speech by choice In reality, audiences are often combinations of these types. Step 4: Audience Demographics Number of people in audience Gender Age Group membership Step 4: Audience Attitudes Attitude - a predisposition to respond to something in a favorable or unfavorable way Belief - an underlying conviction about the truth of something Value - a deeply-rooted belief about a concept’s value Step 5: Context The context of a speech is its time and place. To prepare, think about the time your speech will take and its pacing. Remember the 8 minutes/ 20 minutes rule. Think about the physical location of your speech: the noise, the lighting, the temperature, etc. Step 6: Research Whether your purpose is informative or persuasive, research is an important part of the process. Remember to check all of the types of resources that are available to you: library, Internet, surveys, interviews, observations, etc. Remember Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap. Your mission is to find the 10%. Step 7: Outline Plan out your speech in outline form; this outline will work for any of the speech delivery methods. Any method of outlining will work; a good basic format can be found on page 380. Step 7: Introduction Good introductions: • • • • Do get the audience’s attention. Do preview the main points. Do set the mood and tone. Do demonstrate the importance of the topic. • Don’t confuse the audience. Step 7: Conclusion Good conclusions: • • • • • Do summarize the main point. Don’t end abruptly. Don’t ramble. Don’t introduce new points. Don’t apologize. Step 8: Visual Aids Visual aids can be an effective part of any speech. Make sure that the visual aid is easily seen, is clear, is tied to the proper point in the speech, and is easy for you to utilize. Step 8: MS PowerPoint One of the most commonly used presentation tools is Microsoft’s PowerPoint program. This program allows the display of outlines, notes, photos, diagrams, and other audiovisual materials. Many colleges now require use of PowerPoint in their oral communication / public speaking courses, including WCU. Step 9: Delivery Choose one of the four delivery styles. • Memorized - prepared and delivered from memory • Manuscript - prepared and read word for word from a prepared text • Impromptu - not prepared, totally off the cuff • Extemporaneous - prepared and planned, but given in a spontaneous manner Step 10: Practice Practice your speech to yourself aloud. Tape record or videotape your speech. Practice in front of a mirror. Practice in front of friends or relatives. Practice in the room in which you will actually deliver the speech.