How To: Ace Your Class Speech
Have a big speech coming up? Need a little coaxing? I know it's hard - believe me. I've given two persuasive speeches to my class (one just building on the other) in the past two weeks, and by no means was it simple. However, I learned some techniques that at least ease the process. Here's how to ace your class speech:
1. Prepare adequately. Proper research is going to save you the most when it comes to giving your speech. Take stats from trusted sources, flush out which information is going to pertain the least to your argument and let it slide and always make the best use of your time to prepare.
2. Practice, practice, practice. Memorize and practice as much as you can! Believe me when I say it gets SO much easier when you practice. They say it's best to practice in the exact spot you're going to give your speech, so if you have access to the building, I'd suggest taking advantage of it.
3. Practice with a good friend. As much as practicing over and over solo can do to improve your speech, being able to run it by a few trusted confidants is so valuable and can help you receive important feedback about your speech before you get feedback from your classmates, giving you the opportunity to improve upon your speech before you even give it formally!
4. Do some breathing exercises. Right before you give your speech, breathe in through your nose, feeling it fill your belly the most it possibly can and then out through your mouth. Also try taking deep breaths in through your nose and exhaling to make a "la la la la" noise as though you were singing. Attempt to go low and then high, then low and then high, warming up your vocal chords for speaking.
5. Check your posture. Equally important to warming up your voice and deep breathing, having solid posture is necessary when speaking about successful speech giving. Not only will you get in deep breaths and be able to function typically as you are speaking, you will give off the vibe that you know what you're talking about and you're confident (because you should be!).
6. Imagine the room naked. Okay, maybe not. That trick never worked for me. At least remember that your classmates are going through the same thing as you and are feeling very similar nerves. Imagining them as equally afraid and intimidated as you can help, especially when you feel like the most nervous person in the world right now.
7. Volunteer to go first. It sounds stupid, but volunteering to give your speech first is actually better, for two reasons: a). You'll get it over with and be able to relax through the rest of your classmates' speeches (and the rest of the day), and b). Your classmates will be too busy freaking out about them going next that they won't be focused on your nervousness. It's genius, right!? My dad lent me this piece of wisdom from his high school/college days, and let me tell you - now I'm always the first!
What are your tips for surviving speech day? Share with me in the comments!