Elements of a Good Speech

Timing is Only a Part of a Good Speech!

What is easier to prepare for? A five minute speech or a forty-five minute speech? Believe it or not, it is more difficult to prepare a short five minute speech than a long forty-five minute speech. “Why?” one will ask. A short speech requires concentrated thoughts, specific words and accurate descriptions. The use of vocal variety becomes more significant together with meaningful body language. Forget using notes. They are a distraction to an effective short speech. Of course, timing is important whether or not one uses a timing or signal light.

Standard Rules
It is a given one needs a strong introduction, two or three points in the body of the speech, and a strong conclusion. Furthermore, the conclusion should sum up the body points and tie into the introduction.

This being said, let’s explore the basic construct of the speech. Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of the speech?” Write it down. “What points need to be made?” “What definitions or descriptions must be made?” Write these answers down.

Write Outline Only
Begin writing your speech with an outline only. Why? If you write the speech, you will have to memorize it. A memorized speech can sound phony or sing song in delivery. The speaker is subject to memory pauses out of tempo with the speech. On the other hand, an outlined speech allows the speaker to speak freely with creative style that sounds genuine and from the heart.

Following the outline; practice the strong introduction to the speech. This can be written and memorized for effect. The same applies to a conclusion. However the body of the speech must be fluid in nature to be wholesome and effective. As you practice, take note of the words that are used. Consider that a word or a phrase could be replaced with different words that will be clearer, more poignant, or more descriptive. Remember, the length of the speech is limited to a short span of time. Therefore, the words chosen to be used become strategic. Phrases, idioms, oxymoron examples, and rhetorical statements become essential to the quality and impact of the speech for its designed purpose.

The speech takes the listener on a journey. From its beginning until the last word, the listener must be able to easily follow your thought process. In your introduction, tell the audience where you are going. In some cases, give the talking points up front. Then fill in the blanks. Keep the thought process organized so that your words make clear sense and are easily followed. Everyone, audience and speaker, are to arrive at the end of the speech together.

Vocal Variety
The speaker’s voice is a powerful instrument able to shamefully put audiences to sleep with monotone delivery, or to fire up an insurrection with tones of passion, enthusiasm, and solid emphasis. Proper use of the voice can bring an audience to tears or to shouts of jubilation. Good use of vocal variety can easily move an audience into acceptance of a proposition, or to a call to action. Practice your speech using different vocal techniques until you are satisfied with its delivery.

Body Language
In public speaking, body language can speak louder than the words from your mouth. Example: While holding your hands six inches apart say these words, “I caught a fish this big.” Now, stretch your hand as far apart as you can and add a little vocal variety and say, “I caught a fish this big!” The second example paints a completely different picture in the listener’s mind. With body language coupled with vocal variety, you can stir the imagination of the audience.

Timing and Pauses
A timing light is good to help the speaker come to the speech’s conclusion in a timely fashion. However, the use of pauses and timing of the delivery of the elements of the speech are important. Warning: In a short speech, the speaker can become overzealous, add extra sentences and thoughts, and begin to speak to quickly in order to stay on time. Remember, a little said effectively without rushing will have a better reception and impact than trying to say too much and speaking too quickly which is difficult to follow.

Therefore, consider the value of the pause. The pause, though a second of time long, enable’s the listeners mind to capture the though just spoken and prepares the mind for the next though. DO NOT use run on sentences. The pause between sentences or thought segments is a major tool for comprehension and memory. After the speech when people are talking, they will talk about the speech’s content or they will say, “That was a great speech. I have no idea what was said.”

Do not be tempted to tell everything in one speech. Tell them the essence of what the audience needs to know. Leave them reasonably satisfied but hungry for more.

This has been a brief glimpse into writing a speech. Seventy to eighty percent of the speech is best communicated through body language and vocal variety. Without these, a speech can fall flat and lifeless. Prepare properly using your best vocabulary, examples, oxymoron and rhetorical phrases, and by all means polished body language dressed with vocal variety. Be organized, clear in thought, and enthusiastic with your speech. You will find a delighted audience every time. Perhaps, you can experience a standing ovation as a pat on the back for a job well done.

Mermbership Not Required
You do not have to be a member of Toastmasters International to benefit from using timing lights and signal lights. Civic clubs, school debate teams, not for profit organizations, local governments, and many other groups have used these lights to enhance their training.

No Substitute
There is no substitute for proper speech preparation. The study of the speech subject matter and references, and sufficient practice all aid in an effective delivery. However, timing alone can make or break an otherwise high quality presentation. Using a timing light in practice and in the field helps astute public speakers become remarkable public speakers..

Some timing lights are large and bulky, even, unsightly. These timing lights are compact, cordless, and small enough to fit in medium to large purses for easy transport. Because of their size, these lights are easily stored in most storage areas.

Decision to Buy
These timing lights are hand assembled with many parts custom cut, soldered, glued, and drilled. The price is modest especially since the manufacturer has great confidence in the quality of the timing lights and guarantees them for three years. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want fatigue free time sequencing indicators?
  • Do I want compact size?
  • Do I want cordless, safe operation?
  • Am I willing to spend a modest amount of funds for a device that will serve my needs?

If so, click
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to purchase a timing light.

Speech Timing Light

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