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Successful Speech Checklist

Speech Development Tips:

  • Know your material, your audience, and your purpose.
  • Develop a thesis statement and organize and support your argument just as you would for a paper. Make your thesis statement clear.
  • Create an opening that engages your audience. Think of your introduction as a roadmap to your speech. Your job is to encourage your audience to "ride along." Tell your audience where the speech is going, then go there.
  • Discuss your main points carefully and succinctly, offering supporting evidence. Use transitions to connect your ideas and make it interesting.
  • Be creative and use your sense of humor appropriately. Don't be afraid to try something unconventional, as long as it does not distract from your purpose.
  • Craft a powerful conclusion. Leave the audience with something memorable. 
  • Breathe, stretch, and imagine yourself delivering the speech easily and effectively.
  • Time your speech beforehand, especially if you have a limit, in order to be respectful of others and
    reduce your own speech anxiety.
  • Practice in front of friends or the mirror. Visit the Center for Writing and Speaking for feedback.

Delivery tips:

  • Make frequent eye contact around the different sections of the audience.
  • Use good posture. Hold your head high to ensure that your voice is projected.
  • Avoid leaning on the podium or on the wall behind you, shifting your weight from one foot to another, or fidgeting.
  • Keep your hips square on and face the front of the room. If you walk, walk with a purpose. Don't wander around from one side of the room to the other.
  • Keep your hands in view and use them intentionally for emphasis.
  • Prepare note cards, but don't memorize or read straight from them. Use them to guide your presentation and prompt your memory.
  • Show enthusiasm. It will help engage your audience.
  • Project and vary your voice. Decrease the use of verbal fillers ("like", "you know", "um").
  • Smile and relax to show your audience you are prepared and knowledgeable.
  • Consider using a visual aid to illustrate your points, making sure it is relevant and visible to the entire audience.
  • See our other Public Speaking material for more information.
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