Personal Experience Speech Preparing Your Speech

  1. Select a goal for your speech.
    1. Brainstorm ideas of topics you know something about and that are important to you. For instance, if you have a special pet that makes life better for you, you could tell your audience about the things your pet does. If a teacher in high school made an impression on you, you might want to talk about one or two specific things that teacher did. If you had a particularly fun job once, you could talk about some of the things that made it fun. Brainstorming should take about one hour.
    2. Determine what kind of audience you’ll speak to, how large it is, and what the occasion is. For example, if you’ve chosen to talk about your experiences with your pet, your audience could be members of a local Humane Society gathered to discuss increasing adoptions of homeless pets. If you’ve chosen to talk about your experiences in science class, you could prepare for a speech before a group of high school students at a science fair, or for a group of teachers at an educational seminar. If you’re going to talk about a job you had once, your audience could be made up of people who still work for the company.
    3. Develop a speech goal statement tailored to your audience. This is a single sentence saying what you want your audience to know, believe, or do. An example of a speech goal statement on an informative speech about animals could be, “I want people to know how much fun I’m having with my dog, Charlie.” For a goal related to a speech about your experience in history class, you might state, “I want people to know how my teacher inspired me,” or “I want teachers to know how to make the subject of history more interesting.”
  2. Gather, evaluate, and prioritize information to use in your speech.
    1. Even though you already know something about the subject you’ve chosen for your speech, you’ll need to compile additional information. Read other materials and draw on others’ expertise.
    2. Once you’ve compiled enough information and you feel completely comfortable with the material or subject, determine which data seem legitimate, valid, or otherwise useful for your purpose.
    3. Decide which facts you absolutely want to impart to your audience. Set aside superfluous information. However, don’t forget it exists—you may find it valuable if anyone in your audience asks questions.
  3. Organize your ideas by creating a well-structured outline.
    1. Identify three to five main ideas you want your audience to remember.
    2. Combine your speech goal statement with these ideas, and create a thesis statement. Writing your goal statement and thesis should take about one hour.
    3. Develop your main points. Take about two hours to develop them fully.
    4. Develop and outline the body of the speech. Choose an organizational style: chronologically forward (or backward) or some other fashion.
    5. Create an introduction that grabs the attention of the audience, establishes for the listener some relevance, and states your thesis.
    6. Create a conclusion that summarizes your goal and main points and gives the audience a sense of closure.
    7. Compile a list of sources (similar to a bibliography).
  4. Choose and prepare presentation aids.
    1. Use aids that help to clarify, emphasize, or dramatize what you’re going to say.
    2. Ensure that your aids use more than just words.
    3. Ensure that any visual aids are large enough to be seen by the audience. This size depends on how large your audience will be.
    4. Ensure that any audio aids are easily heard. Audio/video aids shouldn’t be longer than 15 seconds for 4-minute speeches or 30 seconds for 5-minute speeches.
    5. Figure out how to incorporate the aids. Where will you introduce a slide? When will you change the slide? Will you keep the slide on the screen throughout the speech, or will you shut it off once you’ve spoken about the subject to which it applies? Take one or two hours to practice with your visual aids.
  5. Practice your speech in front of friends or relatives.
    1. Practice until you feel your wording is accurate, clear, vivid, and appropriate. You’ll make adjustments almost every time you rehearse your speech.
    2. Practice until you believe your delivery is intelligible, conversational, and expressive.
    3. Practice integrating your presentation aids until you can do so confidently and smoothly.
    4. Continue practicing until you can deliver your speech within the time limit and without reading it.
  6. Record the practice speech and play it back to yourself. You should practice for about two hours before recording. Ask yourself the following questions:
    1. Are you in focus?
    2. Can you hear yourself clearly?
    3. Are you making eye contact?

Recording Your Speech

Once you’ve reached the point that you’re satisfied with your delivery, record the speech.

  1. Begin the recording by reading the following sentence. (Fill in the blank as you read.) The audience I’m addressing for this speech is _______.
  2. Pause for a few seconds (count to five in your head), and then begin your speech.
  3. Watch the recorded speech. Ensure that it fulfills the requirements for the assignment. Reviewing the video and fixing any errors should take an hour.

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