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How to Develop Your First Speech

Consider the following ways to develop your first speech:

1. Tell stories that carry your message.

2. Give examples that clarify your points.

3. Cite experts or highly respected people who support your

point of view.

4. Present facts and statistics that make your ideas credible.

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Chapter 3 Your First Speech: An Overview of Speech Preparation 53

of her speech, she elaborated her points by describing the people of her neighborhood

and the childhood games that exemplified the lessons of sharing. Her conclusion

clarified her message:

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my neighborhood, this tour of my

past. If you drove down this street tomorrow, you might think it was just

another crowded, gray, urban neighborhood. But for me it is filled with

memories of colorful people who cared for each other and who dreamed great

dreams of a better tomorrow. That street runs right down the center of

my life.

Cause-Effect Design. Should you decide to tell about something that had a

great impact on you, a cause-effect design might be most appropriate. This design

helps you explain how something came about. Maria One Feather, a Native American

student speaker, used such a design in her speech Growing Up Red and Feeling

Blue in White America. She treated the condition of her background as the

cause and its impact on her life as the effect.

Narrative Design. The narrative design structures your speech by developing

a story from beginning to end. It focuses on a sequence of scenes in which

characters interact. The introduction, body, and conclusion all become part of the


Beth Tidmore s dramatic story of her rise as a competitive shooter began with

the story of her mother s commitment to her, described her personal pursuit of

excellence, developed a sketch of her success in rifle competitions, and concluded

with a tribute to her mother s faith. The message of her speech emerged with the

developing story as Beth celebrated the values of commitment, dedication, discipline,

achievement, and family love.

These and other designs to develop your speeches are discussed in detail in

Chapters 9, 14, 16, and 17.

More on Introductions, Bodies, and Conclusions. In addition to

arousing interest and preparing listeners for the rest of the speech, your introduction

should build a good relationship between you and your audience. The best introductions

are framed after the body of the speech has been planned after all, it is

difficult to draw a map if you don t yet know where you are going.

Caution students not to write

out their speeches as essays.

Introduce some of the differences

between writing style and

oral style covered in Chapter 12.

Speaker s Notes 3.2

Ways to Structure Your First Speech

As you design your first speech, keep in mind the following options:

1. Use a categorical design that divides a subject into natural

or traditional parts.

2. Use a cause-effect design that pictures a subject either as

the cause of an effect or as the effect of a cause.

3. Use a narrative design that moves from scene to scene as

it tells a story.

4. Be sure that you have an effective introduction, body, and


Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

54 Part One The Foundations of Public Speaking

The body of the speech is where you satisfy the curiosity aroused in your introduction.

The body includes the main points, the most important ideas in your message.

In a cause-effect design, the body consists of two main points: the explanation

of a cause of some condition and the elaboration of its effect. In a categorical

design, the body develops two or three major divisions of the subject. You won t

have time to cover more than that. In our earlier example of a Swedish neighborhood,

the division into setting, people, and games establishes the main points of

the speech. In a narrative design, the body develops the major scenes necessary to

carry the story.

The conclusion summarizes your main points and ends with reflections on the

meaning of the speech. Good conclusions are easily remembered even eloquent.

Sometimes they quote well-known people who state the point very well. They may

tie back to the introduction, completing a symbolic circle in a way that the audience

finds satisfying. You will find more on developing introductions, bodies, and conclusions

in Chapter 9.

Transitions. As you design your speech, you should also be planning

transitions. Transitions help you move from one point to another. They are bridging

devices, such as having explained the cause, I will now discuss the effect, or

let s now consider another part of this problem, or let me tell you what happened

after I warned him. Transitions also may be used to remind listeners of the point

you have just made or to preview what is going to happen next in the speech. Oral

connectives like first, second, and finally can also work as transitions.

Transitions can sometimes be quite artful. To connect the major section of her

speech, Family Gifts (see Appendix B), Marie DAniello focused on certain key

words. Strength cues her to the fortitude represented by her mother. Glory begins her

narrative concerning her brother s athletic accomplishments. Pride cues her discussion

of her father s character and determination. These key words link the themes of

her speech together.

Step 5: Outline Your Speech

Preparing an outline allows you to put your design down on paper so that you can

see more clearly how it will work. The outline should contain your introduction; the

message you want to get across; the body of your speech, including your main ideas

and their subpoints; and your conclusion.

Full outlines help you during speech preparation, but you should not use them

during presentation. During your presentation, the outline should be imprinted not

on paper but for the most part in your mind. We cover more about outlining in

Chapter 10.

In the following outline for a self-introductory speech, several critical parts

the introduction, message, and conclusion are written out word for word. The

introduction, message, and conclusion set up the meaning of your presentation

and make your entrance into and exit from the speech smooth and graceful.

Therefore, it is important to plan these parts of your presentation carefully, even

transitions Connecting elements used

in speeches.

ESL: Ask ESL students to submit

their formal and key-word outlines

before they present their

speeches. Go over the outlines

with the students.

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Chapter 3 Your First Speech: An Overview of Speech Preparation 55

though you may need to make changes while speaking to adjust to the immediate

situation. To encourage spontaneity, do not try to write the body of the speech


Free at Last

Rod Nishikawa


Attention-Arousing and Orienting Material: Three years ago I presented

the valedictory speech at my high school graduation. As I concluded, I borrowed a

line from Dr. Martin Luther King s I Have a Dream speech: Free at last, free at last,

thank God almighty we re free at last! The words had a joyful, humorous place in

that speech, but for me personally, they were a lie.

Message: I was not yet free and would not be free until I had conquered an

ancient enemy, both outside me and within me that enemy was racial prejudice.


I. When I was eight years old I was exposed to anti-Japanese prejudice.

A. I was a Jap who didn t belong in America.

B. The bully s words burned into my soul.

1. I was ashamed of my heritage.

2. I hated having to live in this country.

[Transition: So I obviously needed some help.]

II. My parents helped me put this experience in perspective.

A. They survived terrible prejudice in their youth during World War II.

B. They taught me to accept the reality of prejudice.

C. They taught me the meaning of gaman: how to bear the burden within and

not show anger.

[Transition: Now, how has gaman helped me?]

III. Practicing gaman has helped me develop inner strength.

A. I rarely experience fear or anger.

B. I have learned to accept myself.

C. I have learned to be proud of my heritage.


Summary Statement: Practicing gaman, a gift from my Japanese roots, has

helped me conquer prejudice.

Concluding Remarks: Although my Japanese ancestors might not have spoken

as boldly as I have today, I am basically an American, which makes me a little outspoken.

Therefore, I can talk to you about racial prejudice and of what it has meant

Rod s three main points are

each supported with facts,

examples, or narratives. The

outline uses Roman numerals to

indicate main points, capital

letters to indicate subpoints,

and Arabic numbers to indicate

sub-subpoints. These numerals

and letters are indented appropriately

to show their relative

importance in the structure of

the speech.

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

56 Part One The Foundations of Public Speaking

to my life. And because I can talk about it, and share it with you, I am finally, truly

free at last.

Step 6: Practice Your Presentation

You are almost there. After you have developed and outlined your first speech, you

are ready to practice your presentation. An effective presentation spotlights the ideas, not

the speaker. It should sound as though you are talking with the audience, not reading to

them or reciting from memory.

Spotlight the Ideas. The presentation of a speech is the climax of planning

and preparation the time you have earned to stand in the spotlight. Although presentation

is important, it should not overshadow the substance of the speech. Have

you ever heard this kind of exchange?

She s a wonderful speaker what a beautiful voice, what eloquent diction,

what a smooth delivery!

What did she say?

I don t remember, but she sure sounded good!

As you practice speaking from your outline, and when you present your

speech, concentrate on the ideas you have to offer. You should have a vivid realization

of these ideas during your actual presentation.2 Your thoughts should come alive

as you speak.

Speak Naturally. An effective presentation, we noted in Chapter 1, preserves

many of the best qualities of conversation. It sounds natural and spontaneous yet

has a depth, coherence, and quality not normally found in conversation. The best

way to approach the ideal of improved conversation is to present your speech

extemporaneously. An extemporaneous presentation is carefully prepared and

practiced but not written out or memorized. If you write out your speech, you will

be tempted either to memorize it or read it to your audience. Reading or memorizing

almost always results in a stilted presentation. DO NOT READ YOUR SPEECH!

Always keep in mind that audience contact is more important than exact wording. The

only parts of a speech that might be memorized are the introduction, message, conclusion,

plus a few other critical phrases, such as the wording of main points or the

punch lines of humorous stories.

Prepare a Key-Word Outline. If you think you might need a cue-sheet during

your presentation, use a key-word outline, an abbreviated version of your fullsentence

outline. You should use the key-word outline as you practice your speech.

Using the key-word outline will help you sound more conversational and spontaneous.

Never use your full outline as you present your speech. You will lapse into reading

if you do.

As its name suggests, the key-word outline contains only words that will

prompt your memory. It can also contain presentation cues, such as pause or talk

slowly. Although the full outline may require a page or more to complete, the keyword

outline should fit on a single sheet of paper or on one or two index cards.

To prepare it, go through your full-sentence outline and highlight the key-words

in each section. Transfer them to a sheet of paper or index cards to use as prompts

as you speak. The following key-word outline is based on the outline presented


ESL: Work with ESL students to

help them overcome the tendency

to speak in word units

rather than thought units.

extemporaneous presentation A form

of presentation in which a speech,

although carefully prepared and practiced,

is not written out or memorized.

key-word outline An abbreviated version

of a formal outline that may be used

in presenting a speech.

Show videotapes of students presenting

speeches that illustrate

both good and poor presentation

styles. Discuss these differences

in class.

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Chapter 3 Your First Speech: An Overview of Speech Preparation 57

Note that Rod s key-word outline

reminds him not only of the

flow of ideas but also of his

presentation plan. It is the

game plan of his speech.

Provide an opportunity for students

to present their speeches

in small groups prior to their

graded presentations. Encourage

constructive criticism in the


Free at Last


Free at last high school valedictory speech

Not free enemy outside and within was racial prejudice


I. Encounter with bully

A. Jap, didn t belong [Mime bully]

B. Words burned in soul

1. Ashamed of heritage

2. Hated living in America [Pause, smile]

II. Parents help

A. Survived much worse

B. Taught me to accept reality

C. Taught me GAMAN [Pause and write word on board]

III. Gaman inner strength

A. No fear or anger [Stress]

B. Accepted self

C. Proud of heritage [Pause]


Gaman from my Japanese roots helps conquer prejudice. Also an American. Can

talk about it: therefore, free at last

Rehearse Your Speech. Speech classrooms often have a speaker s lectern

mounted on a table at the front of the room. Lecterns can seem very formal and can

create a barrier between you and listeners. If you are short, you might almost disappear

behind a lectern. If your gestures are hidden from view, your message may lose

much of the power that body language adds to a speech. For these reasons, you may

wish to speak either to the side or in front of the lectern.

If you plan to use the lectern, place your key-word outline high on its slanted

surface so that you can see your notes easily without having to lower your head. This

will help you maintain eye contact with your listeners. Print your key-word outline

in large letters. If you decide to hold your outline and note cards, don t try to hide

them or look embarrassed if you need to refer to them. Most listeners probably

won t even notice when you use them. Remember, your audience is far more interested

in what you are saying than in any awkwardness you may feel.

Imagine your audience in front of you as you practice. Start with your full outline;

then move to your key-word outline as the ideas become imprinted in your

mind. Maintain eye contact with your imaginary listeners, just as you will during the

actual presentation. Look around the room so that everyone feels included in your

message. Be enthusiastic! Let your voice suggest confidence. Avoid speaking in a

monotone, which never changes pace or pitch; instead, strive for variety and color

Public Speaking, Eighth Edition, by Michael Osborn, Suzanne Osborn and Randall Osborn. Published by Allyn & Bacon.

Copyright 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc.

in your vocal presentation. Pause to let important ideas

sink in. Let your face, body, and voice respond to your

ideas as you speak them.

Step 7: Step Up and Do It!

It s your moment to speak. You ve earned it. Now enjoy it

with your listeners.

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