In this article we are going to talk about the what are the characteristics of an effective speech. Verbal communication is one of the most efficient conventional means of communication and most widely used until date. To be effective in your speech and express yourself is the key element of one’s personality. Speech is referred to the act of delivering your feelings and expressions or message through the words spoken by your mouth. A speech must be powerful enough to have an impact over the target audience and should be crystal clear and readily understandable by everyone present in the crowd. Not all the members of the audience have the same level of understanding about the content of the speech; therefore, the delivered words should be beneficial to everyone listening to a speech.
What are the characteristics of an effective speech?
An effective speech can have different qualities depending on the listeners; most common ones of characteristics of an effective speech are mentioned below
Are you sick of those boring sessions or lectures given by experts during seminars or presentations? Think of yourself in place of the presenter or the one who is giving the speech and how would you address the audience? Nobody likes to be a part of speech, which is boring and monotonous; everybody enjoys interesting and relevant content. Every time you prepare to give, a speech think of yourself as a part of the audience and what would you expect from the speech that is being given.
Include facts, figures, relevant news, quotations, and examples from the past or humour to involve your audience. If the audience stays connected with your content, they will not lose interest. Keeping in mind the audience you are targeting, you can also add an informal touch, a conversational tone, personal experiences, or views to help your audience understand you better and applaud you for your art of giving the speech.
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2. Dynamic in nature
What kind of speech do you enjoy, one spoken all in one go without expressions or the other with proper pauses, tone fluctuations and good expressions? The answer is the later one. Never forget being dynamic is very important for an effective and influential speech. The approach that you are taking to address the audience must be easy to understand and rational. An efficient speech does not only depends on the content that is being delivered, but it also depends on how the content is being delivered. The tone should be aggressive and the pitch should be high when talking about some serious threats or issues and low- tone when talking about someone’s grief or a mishap that occurred. Voice- modulation and fluctuations in tone can be a part of your speech only with practice; nobody is capable to bring these changes in the very first hit.
To leave an impressive mark upon your audience, your speech content, as well as the tone, must be clear and readily understandable by everyone. Avoid including statements, which are contradictory or might create confusions. Also, avoid using examples or incidences, which could create a conflict of thoughts amongst the people. A speech must have a positive impact on the audience and they should carry some great new findings and learnings once the speech gets over.
Clarity in your voice is equally important as clarity in the content of the speech. The speed of speaking should be slow so that people can interpret and analyse the words of the speaker. The thoughts and emotions should be very connecting for the audience so that there is no distraction and the exact meaning of the speech reaches the mass that is being targeted.
4. Authenticity and Correctness
A speech is normally given to a large group of people and thus should be very- well researched, interpreted, analysed, understood and correct. The facts and figures, examples or the stories must be appropriate and correct. The research before giving a speech must be vigorous and information must be collected only from the nationally or internationally recognised organisations and institutions to avoid conflicts and debates against the points quoted in your speech.
A speech will always affect the audience either positively or negatively and to ensure a positive impact, maintain the correctness of the content being delivered. Never include points or issues, which might be incorrect or inappropriate to be discussed in a public gathering. If you plan to quote your opinion or suggestion, do not forget to mention the same. Try not to misinterpret anybody else’s words. Always include valid points and make your audience feel proud of you.
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5. Understand your audience
What if a science student is given a technical lecture on Business Standards or the global economy and what if a commerce student is being taught the latest inventions and discoveries of science using technical jargons and a very high level of vocabulary? None of the students will understand a single word that was spoken in the speech because of a lack of understanding and interest. A person listening to a speech oriented to a field he is new in must be explained things from the very basic and considered to be naïve and he must realise if the core of the topic interests him or not.
The very first thing before delivering a speech is to understand and analyze the type of audience that you have. Make your speech very formal and professional if it is for corporate, scientists, or diplomats, informal and humorous if meant for college or school students and a mix of both if the crowd is not very specified. The heart and soul of an effective speech lies if the audience is on the same page as you or not.
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6. Content Quality and Organization
An effective speech is never complete without the quality of the content and the way in which you frame it. A very technical or subject- oriented speech can be organised such that the audience is able to link with the content and understand the essence of the same with ease and comfort. The content should be precise, sensible, relevant and genuine. The content must be very- well- validated by some field experts of the agenda of the speech before delivering it in front of the audience.
Begin the speech on a lighter note to seek the attention of the audience, slowly and gradually move into details and deeper information and when you feel things might complicate a bit, try quoting so examples or narrate a story to explain your point. You can also try to crack a light joke to lighten the mood of the audience. Conclude with a very strong and impactful statement or quote and end your speech.
Confidence is the most valuable factor every time you present some knowledge or information in front of a crowd or an audience. More confidence shows accuracy, intelligence and preparedness of the speaker. The voice modulation and the way of speaking matters the most for the speech to be effective. Good knowledge about the subject of the speech boosts the confidence. Moreover, practice is always the best approach to gain confidence and give your best.
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8. Body movement
Whenever you interact with someone, how often do you feel you are not enjoying or liking talking to the other person? This happens most of the times because the speaker just keeps on speaking without any eye- contact and the posture while they are speaking. Non- verbal skills like body posture and actions equally make a speech more effective and interesting. Maintain eye- contact with the audience and see the attention is only towards what you speak, the audience feels connected with you, with what you are speaking and enjoys the speech. Actions of your hand and movements also play an important role. Standing at a single position might be boring, walking and interacting with people in every part of the audience makes the speech more valuable and effective.
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While delivering a speech, sticking to the content or the relevant information is an important part of an effective speech. It takes seconds to deviate from the goal of the speech, which makes the speech lose its original essence, and you fail to deliver the most important part of your topic or the agenda. The audience gets distracted towards another topic of discussion and the key topic gets lost somewhere with this. Stick yourself to a single theme and take your thoughts deeper into it and aid your audience understand the context.
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10. Be natural
A speaker should never pretend while giving a speech. He or she should not exaggerate in either the terms of content or their style of speaking or body- language. The naturalness of the speaker has a different aura for the audience. One who tries to frame himself or herself does not achieve the goal of reaching the minds of every single listener in the audience. Never try to memorise the speech, instead just practice it. If you memorise and forget the words at any point, the entire speech is ruined. If you have studied the topic in- depth, you will be able to express your words in a different was as you pre- planned speech but will not lose track. Prepare in the best possible manner and deliver the content with honesty and dedication. Just be you!
A speech on one of the most boring or disliked topics can be made interesting by adding some wow factors like real- life examples or narrating a brief story or by cracking a relevant joke. The audience would judge you for every word you speak and every comment you make, be confident, be precise, be clear with your idea and be dead honest, and give your best.