Basics of Public Speaking
~ A Step by Step Guide to Successful Presentations ~

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Lesson 2 - An Easy Way to Prepare Any Speech

The Biggest Problem with Public Speaking

Many people say they are afraid of public speaking because they "can't remember what to say". When they have to give a speech, they write it down on two or three (or more!) pages, then of course they have trouble remembering. Writing your speech down word for word a very dangerous way to prepare. Some famous people, such as politicians, do have completely written speeches, but they have two important advantages. First,

they have professional speech writers who will make sure the words are perfectly clear and perfectly organized. Second, politicians will usually have a "teleprompter", something like a TV screen, from which they can read their speech. They rarely, if ever, memorize their speeches!

A much more effective, and efficient, way to prepare a speech is to use the "Rule of 5". This is not an absolute guide that you must follow,

but it is a very useful method that is especially useful when you have to give a presentation soon. When I prepare a speech, I do not write down everything. In fact, I only write down five things, which is why this is called the Rule of 5.

Steps 1 to 3

To begin, list the three main points you want to make or the three main examples to use to make your main point. Three is often a good number. If you give one example, it has little meaning. If you give two examples it is stronger, but it may seem like just a coincidence, it may seem lucky. When you add a third example, then your listeners can see a pattern, and they understand your meaning much better. Those are the first three parts of the Rule of 5.

Step 4

After carefully chosing your main points, think of a good way to introduce your topic. In the introduction, you should clearly introduce the topic while getting the audience to think about what you might say, and to think about their own ideas related to your topic. That is the fourth part of the Rule of 5. You can learn specific ways to introduce your speech topic in Lesson 5.

Step 5

The last step, quite logically, is to write down the conclusion. Most people forget the content of a speech very soon after hearing it. The conclusion gives you a chance to reinforce your main point. It is also a chance to make a "call for action", which will remind the listeners what you would like them to do. You could ask them to buy something, to accept your idea for a new project, or to take some sort of social action. Your call to action, however, does not have to be a very large request. You might simply ask the audience to think more about the topic as it relates to their daily life.

In Conclusion

Now you are ready to move forward. Simply memorize these five points - the introduction, your three main ideas or examples, and the conclusion - or you can write them on a little piece of paper. If necessary, you can also write down any numbers or important facts that you must remember exactly. Then, during your speech, you can talk to your audience naturally and make a real connection. They usually will not even know that you are holding a piece of paper in your hand! Following the Rule of 5 will guarantee that your speech is well-organized and easy to understand. Once you have listed these five items, you're ready to go to the next step, which is explained in Lesson 3 - Preparing Your Speech, part 2.

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