The What, Why, and How of a Speech

mike

The What

Your content is the key to your speech. What do you want to say? If I were to ask you to give a five minute speech impromptu about yourself, you would invariably say one of several things: “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t know where to begin,” or “I don’t know what to say first.” Knowing what you want to say calms about 60-70% of your fears and gives your speech direction.

The Why

You must understand the purpose of your presentation. What am I trying to accomplish? Why am I giving this speech? Most speeches inform the audience, but some also need to inspire or persuade or just entertain. Knowing the why gives your speech focus.

The How

This point addresses how the speech will be structured. In other words how am I going to arrange and present the information? A speech can be arranged in quite a few different ways, but suffice it to say that what I say first, second, or last may affect the audience’s comprehension. Knowing the how gives your speech cohesion.