A Guide To Giving A Speech (With Steps And Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many jobs, regardless of experience level or industry, require some amount of public speaking. Giving a speech can educate others about a topic that interests you or allow you to promote yourself as an industry leader. In addition, practising and strengthening your speaking skills may help you advance in your job and possibly find new strengths for your resume. In this article, we describe the steps for giving a speech, explain situations that might require a speech and outline important skills for giving a memorable speech.

What Is Giving A Speech?

Giving a speech means presenting to an audience with a casual or formal verbal presentation. It allows you to address a large group of people and share your thoughts and opinions. You may deliver a speech as a part of your job, for instance, when giving a presentation to colleagues, managers or clients. The speech's goal could be educating, entertaining or influencing the audience.

Related: How To Start A Speech (With Practical Tips And Examples)

How To Give A Great Speech

Here are some steps to assist you in putting together a memorable speech from beginning to end:

1. Choose an important topic

Choose a topic that stimulates your curiosity and inspires you. It may be something with which you are familiar or something you may enjoy researching. You can still choose your approach, even with an assigned topic. Concentrate on a topic or approach that you can adequately cover in a speech.

2. Organise your speech

Audiences are less likely to understand haphazard presentations, and less-organised presenters are less likely to appear trustworthy or credible. The three components of a speech are the introduction, the body and the conclusion. In your speech, use a logical progression. Each point can build upon the one before it in your speech and connect to the one that follows.

Related: How To Prepare An Audience-Centred Speech (With Tips)

3. Consider what your audience wants to hear

Try to establish as strong a connection as possible between what you wish to say and what your audience wants to hear. For instance, if most of the audience is unfamiliar with your issue, you may want your speech to be more informative. If they are familiar with your subject but appear uninterested, your speech may try to convince them to agree with your position.

4. Introduce yourself

Describe yourself briefly in a biographical introduction. Giving your credentials before speaking can help you establish the tone of your presentation. Use this opportunity to let the audience get to know you and briefly discuss your background and communication style.

5. Practise your speech

Before delivering a speech, frequently practise and rehearse it. It is crucial to consider how others perceive you and how they hear you speak. Speaking in front of a mirror can be helpful. You may ask friends to serve as your audience so they can provide you with pertinent input.

6. Set a timer

It is important to be aware of how long your speech could be. If you are unable to give the speech in the allotted time, you may want to adjust the content accordingly. Remember to provide time for questions and answers if applicable.

7. Maintain eye contact

If you get nervous, you may look at the floor, your slides, your hands or the back of the room. If that happens, keep in mind that you are in a room with people who wish to engage with you and your thoughts. People are more likely to feel connected and trust you if you make eye contact during your speech. In addition, eye contact conveys confidence and authority, both of which are necessary for effectively communicating your argument.

Related: What Are Essential Oratory Skills? (And How To Improve Them)

8. Record your speech

Recording your speech has several advantages. It not only allows you to hear your voice precisely as the audience hears it, but it may also allow you to time both the entire speech and specific sections. If you want to shorten the speech, consider how long each segment took and make any necessary changes. Analyse where you want to pause for emphasis while you replay your speech.

9. Use humour

When you utilise humour in your speech, you show you are not afraid to laugh and do not take yourself too seriously. It may lighten up a difficult issue or scenario, calm your anxieties, and captivate your audience's attention. Audiences generally appreciate a personal touch in a speech.

10. Incorporate your hands

Hand gestures might help you explain points in your speech. You can engage the audience more effectively, and hand gestures can also help you remember specific events. This connection between words and actions can help you remember what you want to say.

11. Interact with your audience

You might want to take questions from the audience. At the end of your speech, allow them to ask you questions so that you may clarify any points you may have overlooked or omitted. Smile, nod or give a small bow to show that you are aware of your audience and to thank them for their time and attention.

Related: Types Of Public Speaking Skills And How To Improve Them

When You Might Want To Give A Speech

Knowing when you might wish to give a speech may help you plan your presentation. Here are a few examples of common occasions that may require a speech:

Seminars

A seminar comprises sessions led by presenters or moderators who guide the discussion to achieve the desired goal. A professional typically presents a welcome speech at a seminar to honour the guests, delegates and audiences. Giving talks at seminars may help you enhance your income, raise your professional profile, or even turn your hobby into a full-time job. In addition, a live speech can help you develop a strong relationship with the audience, whether you deliver a training session to colleagues or present on a specific subject.

Conferences

Conferences are gatherings where speakers give presentations in front of an audience. Speaking at conferences is an excellent way for companies to showcase themselves to audiences, get good exposure and develop thought leadership in important areas. Getting out from behind the booth and in front of your target audience is a practical approach to getting a company's message through at an event.

Webinars

Webinars are typically seminars that take place over the internet. Webinars provide the speaker with a unique opportunity to address a global audience. People from any location can attend and learn new skills or network with industry leaders and experts because there are no geographical restrictions. A brief, interesting webinar speech can engage attendees and keep them interested until the finish.

Award ceremonies

An award ceremony speech is a type of public speech that honours specific achievements. A presentation speech, like an introductory speech, recognises the recipient and their accomplishments related to that specific honour. The speech's content may vary depending on the event and type of acknowledgement, from expressing gratitude to thanking everyone for helping obtain a particular accolade.

Special occasions

Speaking for a special occasion is when you give a speech to recognise a person or an achievement at a social gathering. For example, you may deliver a speech at a graduation or an office party. These speeches frequently involve a personal or emotional connection to the audience.

Related: How To Write A Memorable Retirement Speech: A Complete Guide

Skills That Can Help You Give A Speech

Here are some skills you may want to apply to give a memorable speech:

Communication

Communication skills are vital when speaking in public and help you connect with a wide range of people. Maintaining good eye contact, demonstrating a varied vocabulary, personalising your language to your audience, listening effectively and presenting your ideas appropriately are all part of good communication skills. Delivering speeches can help you boost your abilities in this area and increase your confidence regarding your communication skills.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

Articulation

Articulation relates to how clearly someone produces words, which directly relates to a speaker's capacity to be coherent and easy to understand. Articulation includes using accurate pronunciation and grammar and speaking at an acceptable volume and rate. Clear articulation can give you the confidence to communicate with both small and large groups.

Presentation

Even the most complex subject becomes entertaining when you present them well. Your presentation skills can influence your speech's success. People skilled at presenting themselves can express themselves more comfortably and confidently, while more modest presentation abilities can distract from effective communication.

Passion

When individuals speak in public, passion refers to the interchange of energy, which can build a genuine and valuable emotional connection with your audience. Authenticity is a natural component of your enthusiasm and builds your credibility with the audience. For example, a person who feels strongly about a subject is more likely to share a powerful message that resonates with the listener. In addition, passion helps a speaker to be more energetic and charismatic, which keeps the audience interested.

Nonverbal communication is one of many tools that can help you make a good impression in interviews and in your professional life. However, candidate assessments based on skills and qualifications and workplaces can strive to be inclusive and understanding of individual differences in communication styles.

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