Effective Public Speaking: Speech Preparation

This article is a part of Effective Public Speaking series which has been previously covered.

Speech Preparation

Speech Preparation for effective public speaking can be compared to that of the train. Speech Preparation is as important as practie and delivery. A speech which is prepared properly will give you confidence since you have done lots of brainstorming. Speech Preparation is an art and it can be mastered by preparing more and more speeches.

The Opening, Body 1, Body 2, Body 3,  Close

Just as a train a speech needs to have a strong start then a good flow and great closure.

There are few things which should be kept in mind while preparing for speeches –

Select a Topic – If you have an option then select a topic of your interest and prepare speech accordingly. But it’s something where you have little or no knowledge then you need to research on it and then prepare your speech.

Gather Information – From the newspaper, Magazines, online, books, some one’s experiences, Person with specific knowledge. Do full research and collect every titbit which you get. You can organize them at the time of writing your speech.

Record your Ideas – When you start collecting information ideas just flow. It’s very necessary for you to record your ideas. Recording your ideas on a piece of paper, notebook, word document or online google document. Just write them down so that when you start writing your speech it’s easy for you to recollect. You can write words, stories, sentences i.e anything which strikes your mind.

Make an Outline – Now you need to prepare your speech from the recorded ideas. Read the whole stuff and start preparing.

  • Introduction – For the introduction part. Write good proverbs which give a great start to your speech.
  • Body – The body should include facts which you want to speak. It includes all the stuff which you want to explain regarding the topic. It also includes analogous examples.
  • Conclusion – In concluding part of speech touch all the key points again. And end with a message which the audience can carry home.

Practice the Speech – Practice the speech again and again so that you get to remember most of the points and you don’t have to look at the notes again and again. It’s always better to speak without notes and use cards which are of the size of your palm. Practice will make you perfect.

Present the Speech – Present the final speech in front of the audience. Have full confidence and present your points with full zeal.

Impromptu Speech

Impromptu Speech is a speech where you don’t get enough time to prepare, but you have to give your 100 %. Like you are invited to an occasion of sports and the chief guest fails to turn up, you are called to speak a few lines to motivate the students.

Things like this are never avoidable. It’s always better to make a habit of reading 15 to 20 minutes every day to have knowledge of various subjects.


Nonverbal communication or body language is an important part of public speaking. Your body language includes gestures, postures, body movement, eye contact, voice and facial expressions. The body language should not distract the audience.

Points to be remembered regarding Gestures –

1) Use Gestures. Not using gestures at all will be very negative. If you keep your hands locked at your sides it will show your nervousness. It will lack the visual effect which your hands will show.

2) Don’t keep your hands in your pockets. If you keep your hands in your pockets you have the tendency of slouching and getting a sloppier posture.

3) Fidgeting ( To move about restlessly ) with your hands. Be aware of what your hands are doing. Don’t hold them tightly. Do not play with your watch, finger rings or dress. If holding remote control for showing the power point presentation, please avoid playing with it. If holding notes please avoid playing with it. Do not fold papers in your hands.

4) Don’t hold your hands behind your back. It’s usually done by children. When your hands are not in use keep them in a neutral position hanging on the sides.

5) Don’t point at the audience. It’s not polite to point. use open-handed gestures.

6) Don’t fold arms across the chest it shows you are closing yourself from the audience.

7) Do not grip the podium too heavily. If you are using a podium place your hands on top of it or in a relaxed position hold the edges.

8) Don’t use stilted ( Constrained ) gestures. Your gestures should look natural.

9) Do not use too many gestures or melodramatic gestures. It looks very odd.


There are few points which should be kept in mind regarding movements –

1) Don’t move without any purpose. If you want to make your point you can move towards computer or flip chart.

2) Stand with your feet firmly planted on the floor, with your weight equally distributed on both feet.

3) Don’t hide behind a desk, podium or flip chart. If it’s necessary for you to stand behind a podium than your voice and facial expressions should be prominent. Don’t stand in front of the podium to avoid the audience.


1) Don’t stand up too stiffly. Be natural. Stand with your shoulders at the back and not at the front. Stand confidently and maintain eye contact with the audience.

2) Slouching and keeping your head down conveys nervousness. Your audience becomes less receptive to your speech.

Facial Expression

1) Your facial expressions speak a lot while you are teaching. Smile so that the audience is comfortable listening to you. Smiling will relax you and your audience.

2) Smile at appropriate occasions. You cannot smile while delivering a bad news or while conveying a serious message like problems of mass layoffs etc.

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