by Eileen Kugler
- Find out as much as you can about your audience before you prepare your
- Focus on what your audience wants and needs to hear -- not what you want
to tell them.
- As you prepare, give yourself an opportunity to think creatively about
your topic by tapping into creative times ... walking the dog, taking a
shower, other non-stressful times. When you get a new idea, jot it down and
put it in a folder for later use.
- Be conscious of the length of your presentation.
- Develop an overall theme for the presentation, and make sure you keep to
that theme throughout the speech.
- Don't overload a short speech -- make just a few points, and make them
- Use conversational language. Remember the spoken word is different from
the written word.
- Don't use jargon or acronyms that you don't define.
- Get the audience's attention with a strong opening. The more you can
customize your opening for that particular audience, the better.
- Mention something unique about your knowledge or approach to the issue to
- Use transitions between points to keep your audience focused on your
- End with a strong closing that emphasizes key points.
- Keep a file of quotations that reinforce your message. A dramatic
quotation from a well-known source can add punch to a speech, but only if it
reinforces the points you want to make.
- Humor is also a welcome addition to a speech. Keep a file of stories or
jokes that you like. The essential point is, again, to make sure that the
story or joke clearly relates to your message.
- Before you go before any group, PRACTICE. Time yourself to make sure you
will stay within the limits.
- Don't read your speech! Practice your presentation until you are so
familiar with your presentation that the words flow comfortably from your
- Computer-based illustrations or overheads are a good way to emphasize key
points or illustrate themes. A few slides can illustrate a point, but use
them sparingly because they require lowered lights (that reduce attention).
- Make sure the information on each transparency or slide is limited, and is
easily read in the back of the room.
- Donít let technology overtake the human element of your speech. You want
them to remember you, not the slides.
- As you give your speech, make eye contact with audience members as much as
possible. Speak to each person "individually."
Twenty Tips For Spellbinding Speeches [429 words]
Eileen Kugler helps professionals deliver a message that
canít be ignored. She presents dynamic keynotes and training seminars on
essential communications skills.
About the Author
She can be reached at: (703) 644-3039 or