Practicing Your Speech

3.3.5

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Speech Prep

Related Readings:

Visual Aids

Aural Aids

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Visual Aids

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Speech Prep

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Presenter

          You won’t succeed in any music competition, sports, or even the Olympics without practicing; public speaking isn’t any different. Practicing or rehearsing your speech brings comfort to you. It allows you to get comfortable with what your speech is about and how you want to present that message. It is the beginning step of internalizing your message. Here are a few tips to help you practice your speech:

  • Read aloud your preparation outline a couple of times.

    • The preparation outline is your full sentence written outline.

  • If you haven’t already, create your speaking notes.

    • These should be brief keywords and phrases to help jog your memory.

    • You may put down source citations, statistics, and quoted material so you don’t misattribute or misstate them.

    • Practice from your speaking notes not your preparation outline. Go over them several times until you feel comfortable with using them.

    • Be as careful of over-practicing as under-practicing. Over-practice can lead to sounding memorized or reading to your audience. Under-practice will prevent you from being as fluent and fluid as you would like when you speak.

    • Your goal is to familiarize yourself with and internalize the concepts and ideas of the speech, not the words that you’ve written, so that you can present the speech without reading it.

    • Just be you telling us about your information.

  • Practice with your presentation aids!

    • If using an aid, you must practice with it so you learn how to effectively incorporate it into your presentation.

  • On your speaking notes, add delivery cues or stage directions.

    • These will remind you when to use your presentation aid or when to pause for added dramatics.

    • You may even want to include reminders about eye contact, body movement, to breathe, etc.

  • Time yourself!

    • If your speech has a time limit, it is important to meet that expectation.

    • You may need to be prepared to add or cut out material from your speech.

    • If you finish below the minimum time, your speech will not adequately address all the components required in the assignment.

    • If you go beyond the maximum time, your audience may get bored or not be able to follow the concept you are presenting.

          You should practice your speech often in front of people, and in the room where you will speak if possible.

 

          Remember, a major key to success in delivering an effective speech is practice. Practice/rehearse the whole speech, not just the beginning over and over. When you start it—finish it. Even if you “mess up,” pick up where you left off and plow on through to the end. That way, there is consistency with the speech. The body of information and the conclusion are just as powerful as the introduction, and you learn to move on after a mistake.

Review Questions

1) How does practicing help you become comfortable with your speech? 

2) Why should you practice with you presentation aids?

3) What are some items you could add to your speaking notes to help you? 

4) Finishing under the minimum time limit of a speech may mean you failed to do what?

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