Public Speaking – Organize Your Speech For More Impact

If your presentation is not organized in a useful way it will lose the audience’s interest. Your listeners will be confused and stop listening. Organizing your speech will make it clearer to the audience and strengthen its impact on them.

A well organized speech assists in the speech writing and the delivery of it. As with most endeavours in life a well thought out structure make the achievement of its objectives easier.

There are 3 components to speeches – introduction, body and conclusion. Each component has a different objective in supporting the purpose of your speech or presentation. Proper organization of each component will help achieve its’ objective, and the speech achieve its purpose.

1. Organizing the Introduction

The objective of the introduction is to catch the attention of the audience. It sets the stage for the main event – the body of your speech. The following are the steps usually found in an introduction

(i) Preliminaries – This is not always necessary. It is used when you need to respond to the master of ceremonies or acknowledge the organisers of the meeting etc

(ii) Attention Step – used to grab the attention of the audience through the use of attention grabbers e.g. a shocking statement, a funny story or joke etc

(iii) Benefit Step – a statement outlining how the speech will benefit the listeners e.g. it will make them more money, make their job easier

(iv) Preview Step – a brief outline of the speech to follow.

What is said in the introduction should be relevant to the main body of the speech and it should be brief. If the introduction is too long it can bore the audience.

2. Arranging the Body of Your Speech

The body of the speech should be arranged around main headings because this will break the speech up into manageable components. 2 – 5 main headings are the ideal numbers. If more than 5 headings are used, members of the audience will struggle to remember them all.

The main headings are best arranged in one of the ways that people commonly think about the subject of the speech. The most common patterns of thinking that people use to arrange a speech are:-

(i) Time – Divided up in the chronological order that events occurred

(ii) Location – Headings are arranged by their geographical location

(iii) Topical – arrangement by logical parts, divisions or components

(iv) Problem and Solution – the problem always precedes the solution.

Your topic will not always fit into the usual patterns. In this case the theme or central idea should be divided up into reasonable headings that support the theme. The information that you have gathered should be listed under the heading it supports. The arrangement discussed for the body of the speech applies equally to the supporting information, by the use of sub-headings.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion is important to you because this is where the audience will form a lasting impression of you. The following steps are usually found in a conclusion:

(i) Summary Step – summarize the main points of your speech

(ii) Benefit Step – it is useful to repeat this step from the introduction to remind the audience and reach the individual who may only have just started listening

(iii) Call For Action Step – this is only when an action is required from the audience. It is a last strong statement that evokes the response wanted from the audience.. Your conclusion is best when it is brief and does not introduce any new material. Otherwise you risk losing and confusing your listeners.

A well organised speech will make it easier to put your ideas across to the audience. It will be more understandable and have more impact on them. Also when delivering your presentation a well organized speech is much easier to recall.