Organizing a Speech for Effective Delivery Part 3 of 3

This article is a continuation of

Last week we wrote about how to organise a speech using various speech outlines or speech structures such as Chronological, Spatial, Causal, Comparative, Topical & Problem-Solution. This week, we’ll move on to attention grabbing techniques in the opening of a speech & the importance of having smooth transitions in a presentation.

Attention Grabbing Techniques

Some techniques to use to craft a strong introduction would be:

    Starting with a bold or challenging statement
    A quotation which relates to speech
    A bold body movement
    An object or picture
    Vocal plays

Avoid these general openings:

    Weak questions
    Long winded story
    Apologetic statement
    Story or joke not related to speech

With the crafting of the introduction complete, we now move on to the body of the speech. This will contain the meat of the speech, the entire message which is the objective of the speech itself.

The Power of Three

The body should ideally convey 3 main points, in a technique called the “The Power of 3s” where 3 is ideally the number of points the audience is most receptive and able to remember. Writers call this The Language of Three. It essentially means the same. Anything beyond 3 main points will make the speech seem too heavy and loaded. Anything less will seem under-prepared and inadequate. With the 3 main points, you can have supporting materials to reinforce the 3 main points.

The supporting materials can be as below:

    Personal stories
    Visual aids
  • Public Speaking Tip Tuesday | 3 Tips for Organizing A Speech
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    Public Speaking Tip Tuesday | 3 Tips for Organizing A Speech
The next part to craft will be the conclusion. This is just as important as the introduction. This is your final chance at reinforcing your message. This is also crucial that you add in that bit that urges a “call to action” to the audience. If however, when you have reached the conclusion and you suddenly realized you have missed out some points earlier on, resist the urge to go back. Remember, a speech development is one-way traffic, you only move forward, not backwards (unless you are using the flashback method in storytelling).
If there’s something you have missed out, do not go back and say the point, this will confuse the audience and will give the impression that you did not fully prepare and rehearse the speech in advance.

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With practice and the tools provided in this article, you should not be at that stage where you missed certain points. The conclusion should ideally end with a “bang”; end with a powerful statement or reinforcement, or a “call to action” technique.

A typical skeleton speech outline would be as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body
    ~ Main point 1
    ~~ Supporting materials
    ~ Main point 2
    ~~ Supporting materials
    ~ Main point 3
    ~~ Supporting materials
  3. Conclusion

Smooth Transitions

Another important thing to note is the transitions from one part to the next. The audience should be able to follow your speech development if you have crafted the speech and organized it in a coherent and flowing manner. You will also need to use carefully placed transitions to signal that you are moving on to the next part. This directs the audience to the flow you intended in your crafting of your speech. In an article like this, headings, bullets, and punctuation provide cues to the reader that help them understand the flow.

In a verbal presentation, pauses and transitional words or phrases help to achieve this effect so that the listeners know when one point ends, and the next begins. Transitional words and phrases are required to link the speech together in a cohesive unit.

Examples of transitional words:

Also, but, consequently, considering, finally, instead, later, meanwhile, moreover, next, then.

Examples of transitional phrases:

According to, as a result, for example, in addition, let’s begin with, more importantly, this means.

All the best to you for your next presentation. May your oratorical skills be uplifted by using the communications tips & tricks learnt in this article.

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