Making a formal speech is indeed a serious business. It calls for organized effort. Any faux pas or embarrassing blunder in public speaking will adversely impact the credibility or standing of not only the individual but also the institution he or she represents.
Good speeches do not happen by accident. Although good speakers make their speeches look effortless, much effort actually goes into it. There are two vital aspects contributing to every good speech.
They are preparation and delivery. Both of them are equally important. In the absence of adequate preparation, delivery cannot be effective. At the same time, however good the preparation may be, unless the speech is delivered effectively, the transmission of the message gets disrupted. Preparation provides the content of the speech and brings in confidence. A good preparation is a precondition for an effective delivery.
Preparing a speech involves three steps, viz., audience analysis, collection of relevant material and organizing the delivery. Let us discuss each one of these at some length.
1. Audience Analysis:
Audience analysis constitutes the very essence of any good speech. Every speech has two parties—the speaker and the audience .Whatever are the merit of the speaker, no speech can be termed effective unless the audience receives the message as intended.
Audience can be as varied as the speakers. In terms of level of knowledge, ability to understand, comprehension of words and phrases, receptivity, proficiency of language and a host of such relevant factors, there could be very significant variations among the audience groups or listeners.
A good speaker should be conscious or aware of such differences and organize his or her speeches to suit the audience he or she would be addressing.
As Swami Chinmayananda said, ‘The speaker has to adjust his idea delivery and his presentation to suit the type of the audience he is addressing.’ For this, the speaker should make efforts to know about the audience—their interests, their ability to comprehend, their exposure to the topic, their word power or vocabulary and their receptivity. All these should be kept in view while structuring and delivering the speech.
2. Collection of Material:
We have already noted that in any speech content counts. Speakers speak on the chosen topic. All relevant facts and figures should be covered in speech. The level of knowledge of the speaker concerning the topic to be covered assumes importance.
The speaker should do the necessary research and access the facts and figures to be used in the speech. In another relevant chapter of this book we have discussed how to find, evaluate and process information in business organizations.
We have noted that the sources of data could be internal and external as well as primary and secondary. The speaker should take care to access the required data from appropriate sources. For any speaker, knowledge is power. Knowledge provides confidence.
A well-informed speaker gets emboldened to face any kind of audience. Sometimes, when the audience is hostile, they deliberately test the knowledge of the speaker. When the speaker takes extra care to have all the facts and figures at his command, he can face the audience on a very confident note.
3. Organizing the Delivery:
Having done the audience analysis and after collecting the relevant facts and figures, the speaker has to take time to organize the delivery. The contents of the speech will have to be delivered in a manner that reaches the audience. The delivery has to be clear, cogent, sequential and tailored to suit the audience and the occasion.
Another very important aspect to be kept in view while organizing the delivery is time management. Every speaker is normally allotted a certain time. In today’s business environment time is precious.
The speaker should be aware that it is not only his or her time that is involved, but also that of the audience. Maybe, there are other speakers scheduled to speak after his or her speech.
If the speaker extends beyond the allotted time, he or she will be encroaching into someone else’s time. At the same time, if the speaker is allotted 60 minutes, and the speech is concluded within 30 or 40 minutes, there will be a gap left to be covered.
Organizing the delivery involves preparing appropriately to speak through the allotted time. The speaker should ascertain in advance the time he or she can take for delivering the speech.
Organizing the delivery also involves preparing the notes or talking points and keeping handy the material which the speaker proposes to quote during the speech. Any material to be used as reference during the speech will have to be kept in proper order to enable ready reference.
Organizing the delivery would also cover some kind of a rehearsal to assess the time spent, make a note of the pauses and illustrations and amplifications that need to be given at appropriate places.