How To Write A Speech: Common Mistakes To Avoid
Students taking classes in communications, public speaking, and similar topics often find that they run into some common difficulties when it comes to presenting their speech. Here’s some of their common mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Not understanding the topic well.
- Writing an essay instead of a speech
- Including too much information
- Including dry facts and figures
It seems as if this is avoidable by writing the speech ahead of time—but that’s not always the case. Many students resort to just listing facts in their speech without gaining a deeper understanding of the topic themselves. This will come across in their presentation. Knowing your topic will give you confidence in presenting, and of course, will make for a better written speech.
Again, this should go without saying—but a written speech isn’t the goal of the assignment. You need to write a speech that you can deliver out loud. Rest assured, your instructor will be reading portions out loud even if you don’t present in class.
This goes hand in hand with number two. Readers can go back over information and review; the audience of a speech hears it once. Include the important information, and reiterate it when necessary. Keep in mind that while repeating yourself in an essay might be redundant, it can be very helpful in a speech, especially if you are sharing complex concepts with your audience.
Numbers aren’t compelling speech material unless they have an emotional or intellectual impact. Don’t resort to listing facts and numbers, or you’ll put your audience to sleep. Instead, focus on concepts. Occasionally, a number or fact could, of course, have a strong impact—only use them when that’s the case, and be sparing about it.
Again, unlike readers, those listening a presentation have only your voice to go by, so it’s very, very important to make sure that your ideas flow in an organized way. Transition smoothly from one idea to the next in a rational fashion, so that your audience can keep up with your train of thought. Try your speech out loud in front of a volunteer for practice. Ask them to point out any transitions that weren’t logical. After you’re done speaking, asking them some key questions about the speech to ensure that you’ve gotten across the concepts and ideas you wanted to.