Posts Tagged ‘Public speaking’

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Speech #2: Organize Your Speech

Executive Summary

Good speech organization is essential if your audience is to follow and understand your presentation. You must take the time to put your ideas together in an orderly manner. You can organize your speech in several different ways; choose the outline that best suits your topic. The opening should catch the audience’s attention, the body must support the idea you want to convey, and the conclusion should reinforce your ideas and be memorable. Transitions between thoughts should be smooth.


  • Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech.
  • Make your message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message.
  • Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another.
  • Create strong opening and conclusion.
  • TIME: Five to seven minutes.

Select Your Topic: Ideas

Your first step in creating your speech is to decide what to talk about. Novice speakers sometimes find this difficult. The world is full of possible speech topics. Your challenge is to select the best one for you and your audience. Finding a topic doesn’t require special ability or long hours of research or thought. Consider, for example,

  • Discussions you’ve had with friends or coworkers
  • Magazine or newspapers articles that attracted your interest
  • Your expertise on certain topics – real estate, writing, personal computers, etc.
  • Everyday experiences – shopping, commuting, family relationships.


The opening should immediately catch the audience’s attention and tell the audience what you will be talking about. Examples of a good opening are:

  • A startling question or a challenging statement
  • An appropriate quotation, illustration or story
  • A display of some object or picture
  • An attention-getting generalization that ties in with your subject

Avoid these weak openings:

  • An apologetic statement
  • A story or joke that does not relate to your topic
  • A commonplace observation delivered in a commonplace manner
  • A long or slow-moving statement or story
  • A trite question, such as “Did you ever stop to think…?”

Draft the Body

The body is the main part of your speech and consists of the facts or ideas you want to present. The amount of information you include in the body will be limited by the amount of time available.

Supporting material then follows each subpoint. Supporting material can include:

  • Statistics. These are numerical ways of conveying information about incidents, data and events.
  • Testimony. These are quotes or opinions from people with expertise on the matter.
  • Examples, stories or anecdotes. These usually relate an event that happened to you or some?one you know, or someone you’ve read about.
  • Visual aids. These could be diagrams, charts, pictures, models or other objects. (More information about using visual aids appears in Project 8.)
  • Facts. Facts are verifiable information.

The Conclusion

The conclusion is your final opportunity to convey your message and main points in a manner that will help the audience remember them. It should reinforce your ideas and leave listeners with a lasting impression.

Sample speeches:
Are we alone?
First Person Shooters: A History of FPS Gaming


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Ice Breaker is the first prepared speech given by member at Toastmasters club. Ice breaker (or Icebreaker) is a term which describes an activity which reduces tension and anxiety in a group. This speech is mainly to overcome Glossophobia – which means fear of public speaking.


The Ice Breaker speech has three aims:

  1. Introduce yourself : Your ice breaker speech topic is you – something about your life, your job, your hobbies, your unique interests, your family, or any thing . You are an absolute authority on this topic, and everyone in the audience will learn something about you.
  2. Conquer the fear of speaking in front of a group.
    It is nervewracking when speaking in front of a new group. If you feel this nervousness, remember that a Toastmaster audience is always supportive and understanding. Nobody is grading you, and nobody will mind if you stumble through a million “Um”s and “Ah”s. If you muster courage to say something in front of the audience, you have succeeded in this project.
  3. Provide a “base line” of your current strengths and weaknesses.
    Some new members have no public speaking experience, while others have years of presentations behind them. No matter where you fit into this spectrum, your goal is to improve from your starting point. This first speech helps club members gauge your current strengths so that they can make specific recommendations to help you improve.

Key to tackling project 1 are

  1. Attitude
  2. Selection of points
  3. Staying within time limits
  4. Opening,Body and Conclusion

Note: Notes can be used if one feel nervous.

What Not to do?

  • Don’t wait until you have a perfect speech. There is no perfect speech.
  • Don’t worry about making mistakes.
  • Don’t memorize every single word of the speech. Just memorize the opening.
  • Don’t give every single detail of your life.
  • Don’t skip your preparation or practice.
  • Don’t worry about body language.

Some Ideas for ICE BREAKER

  • Chronological – This is the simplest in which you narrate chronological snapshots of your life.
  • Reverse chronology – You start with present and link the events backwards to your birth. This is what I chose for my Icebreaker. I took the concept of the movie “Curious case of Benjamin Button” and adapted it to sequence of events that happened in my life.
  • One Key Event – Focus on one critical event which took your life in a completely different direction.
  • Event Chain – The series of events that made you take a decision that led to where you are now. This is a series of decisions you took in your life.

Some examples:

Video example

Go Ahead, Talk !

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