Pointers on Speech Making

Formulas for Speech

There are many of these, more or less cleverly worded. Each carries a thought which may be helpful to the speaker.

  1. Stand up.  Speak up.  Shut up.
  2. Have something to say.  Say it.  Sit down.
  3. Be sincere.  Be brief.  Be seated.
  4. A good speech consists of an attention-arresting opening and a conclusive ending, spaced not very far apart.
  5. Begin low, speak slow; Take fire, rise higher; When most impressed be self-possessed; At the end was warm and sit down in a storm.
  6. One of the best formulas for speech arrangement is: Tel them what you’re going to say. Say it. Summarize what you’ve said.

“Method is the arithmetic of success” “Lay down a method for everything, and stick to it inviolably.”

Speech Preparation

“Make your chart before you start.”

Always plan your speech completely in advance.

  1. Determine the theme of the speech. What are you to talk about?
  2. Decide on the purpose. Exactly what do you want to accomplish?
  3. State the purpose clearly and simply. This really is the conclusion of your speech. The first thing to plan is the last think you mean to say.
  4. Now plan how to introduce the subject so as to gain attention. A good opening should include a preview of the purpose.
  5. Next, lay your course so as to lead from your planned opening to your planned conclusion. Make notes on the plan, throw away the nonessentials, and you have an outline for the speech.
  6. Now go through the outline repeatedly and with care. test it to see whether it is logical, interesting, climatic, convincing.

Memorize the outline, the opening and the conclusion. Do not attempt to memorize words for the entire speech.

“A good way to relieve the monotony of any job is to think up ways of improving it.”

Speech Delivery

  1. Step out boldly. Try not to show fear, even though you feel it.
  2. Speak clearly. No use talking if you can’t be heard.
  3. Look at the audience. Maintain “eye contact”.
  4. Omit apologies. Needed explanations are allowable, but excuses and apologies — never.
  5. Talk about things you know. Knowledge gives power to the speaker and helps him forget his fears.
  6. Say what needs to be said — no more. Don’t go into too much detail.
  7. Stop when you have said what needs to be said.
  8. Be enthusiastic, and show your enthusiasm by your manner.
  9. Leave no doubt as to your sincerity. Be honest.
  10. Be clear in your argument, your facts, and your conclusion.
  11. Don’t worry about your hands. Gestures will come naturally as you become accustomed to speaking.
  12. Do not start with an apology, nor end with a “Thank you”.

Thorough preparation, full knowledge of the subject, and honest conviction about what you are saying are the vital necessities for a good speech.

“Time spent in preparation is insurance against failure.”

Qualities to be Sought

Every speaker who would impress an audience must heed certain rules. Here they are:

  1. Be concrete. Help the audience to visualize your thoughs by means of word pictures.
  2. Be simple. Plain words and short, direct sentences are more easily understood than long, complex ones.
  3. Be sincere. You must have convictions if you want to make others believe you.
  4. Be definite. Know exactly what you mean, and say it so that your audience will know. Generalizations do not win votes from thinking people.
  5. Be purposeful. Aim at the mark and be sure of it. Keep your purpose always in mind. Move straight forward to the goal.
  6. Be unusual. Old truths and familiar facts can be dressed up in new style. Use lively, picturesque words.
  7. Be fair. Don’t be rough with the opposition. There may be truth on both sides.
  8. Be friendly. Always put a smile ni your voice, and occassionally show one on your face.

“No knowledge we ever acquire is so important as a knowledge of what to say and how to say it; except, perhaps, a knowledge of what not to say, and when not to say it.”

Cautions for Speakers

  1. Be honest with your audience. Don’t misuse statistics.
  2. Remember that cold figures are quickly forgotten, while illustrations are remembered.
  3. Talk to the point. Don’t get off the main line.
  4. Tell the truth. Don’t misplace emphasis or tell a half-truth to create a false impression.
  5. Don’t argue in a circle. Go straight ahead to the point.
  6. Give proofs when needed. Don’t mistake assertion or contradiction for proof.
  7. Be concise. Don’t use a dozen words to say what can be said with one or two.
  8. Be natural. Use your best style in the best way. Don’t try to imitate someone else.
  9. Avoid bad habits. Don’t let any bad mannerism spoil the effect of your speech.
  10. Don’t grunt, hesitate, sway or twist about. Don’t button or unbutton your coat or rearrange your clothing.


“Your success is not measured by what you have done, but by what you should have done, with your ability.”