Stand And Deliver: How To Deliver A Good Speech

Congratulations, you’ve written your speech! But now for the real challenge, how do you deliver it with maximum impact?

I’ve put together this handy guide on the art of public speaking and tips on how to deliver a good speech to wow your audience. 

How To Reduce Stress Before Giving A Speech 

The secret to nailing your speech delivery is… the art of being prepared! Picture this: you’ve just stood up, ready to captivate your audience, when suddenly… you’ve forgotten your opening line… and the ones after that. In come your trusted cue cards to save the day.

Whether it’s a masterpiece you penned yourself or a gem crafted by someone else, those words were painstakingly arranged to create an engaging experience. Embrace the script! It’s a totally normal practice that can save you from the nerve-shredding task of desperately memorising lines and the fear of forgetting anything important. Reading your speech from a script is a great way to eliminate some of the anxiety around having to deliver a good speech. Your focus is now on delivery not whether your memory will end up in buffering mode.

How Does Reading Help With Good Speech Delivery

A picture of a woman giving a speech with a script.

With every word written down, not a single line will escape your grasp. No more fumbling for jokes or crucial lines—they’re all right there, neatly laid out, waiting to entertain your audience. And the glorious thank-you list! No accidental omissions. You won’t get a disgruntled relative striking you off their Christmas Card list.

Having your speech transcribed also gives you the power to conquer the mysteries of timing. Imagine you’re about to grace the stage with a best man speech, yet anxiety creeps in. As soon as you start reading a well-rehearsed speech, something magical will happen. The rhythms embedded in the script will propel you forward. The phrases will roll off your tongue. The laughs will come.

If you decide to improvise on the day or “leave it to the moment” in the hope it sounds more natural, you actually risk the speech sounding more hesitant. Of course, practised speakers with Chess grandmaster memories need not worry. But for others who are considering going “off-book”, remember: any kudos you might gain for having spoken without notes will be lost if the delivery is flawed.

Things To Remember With Good Speech Delivery 

Have more than one copy of your speech

So, you’re about to deliver a speech of a lifetime, the crowd is simmering and expectant… and then disaster strikes! Your one and only script goes AWOL or gets ruined, leaving you, quite literally, speechless. Here’s a pro tip: always have a backup. Keep a digital copy on your phone or tablet, and don’t forget a spare physical copy. If friends or colleagues laugh because you have a spare in your pocket, your bag AND back in your hotel room… no one will be laughing if you end up umming and ahhing through ten minutes of dodgy speech improv.

Don’t hide your face when giving a speech

Now, let’s talk about stage presence. It’s tempting to hide behind that script, using it as a shield to hide your nerves. But here’s the thing: your expressions are actually part of the speech. An arched eyebrow, a puckered lip, a comically sorrowful shake of the head –  these are all ways to convey meaning and emphasis. And when you’re not peeping out from behind a sheet of A4, there is more potential for eye contact with the audience. 

So, don’t let that script become a face mask—let your expressions do the talking! 

Pace and tone

Don’t just read off the script, infuse it with life! Add dramatic pauses for effect, or leave room for the audience to laugh. You are not a content-delivery system. Giving a speech requires an element of performance too. But don’t feel you need to achieve the polish of an after-dinner speaker. Simply ensure your delivery has variety – slower bits, faster bits; quieter bits, louder bits – and you’ll keep your listeners hooked.

Great public speakers…. can be heard!

When it comes to captivating your audience, audibility is key. Give a nod to the people at the back by including a line about their cherished eardrums in your opening. It’s a speech ice-breaker that’ll bring everyone together, and it shows you value the words you’re about to deliver. Plus, who doesn’t love a speaker with surround sound?

A picture of a man giving a speech to a crowd.
Becoming a great public speaker takes time and practice, but these tips should help.

Master the Art of Gestures!

Finding the right balance of gestures is like adding seasoning to a speech soufflé. Overdo it, and your audience’s eyes will start watering. But don’t be a human statue either—some subtle nods and hand gestures can work wonders. Acknowledge a special guest or give a wave to the “troublemakers” table. And if you’re feeling a bit shaky on the gesturing front, practise in front of a mirror. It’s like having your own personal gesture coach!

Paper Panic, Begone!

You confidently stand up, ready to deliver your showpiece. But wait, you’re holding a stack of papers taller than Mount Everest! Cue the collective sinking hearts. Avoid this paper overload by keeping it sleek and elegant with just a few sheets. Your audience will breathe a sigh of relief, and you’ll look like a true pro.

Practise your speech, and then practise again

Out of all the speaking tips, this one reigns supreme: practice, practice, practice! Grab that speech and let the words dance on your tongue. Read it out loud, over and over, until it becomes second nature. You’ll find yourself adding emphasis to certain words and inserting delightful pauses. It’s like transforming your speech into a catchy melody that’ll leave your audience mesmerised. So ditch the risky “busking it” strategy and let practice be your guide. 

Need Help From A Professional Speech Writer 

if you’re struggling to put pen to paper or require a last-minute best man speech written. Then I’m here to help. Armed with an array of speech writing experience and expertise I am a professional speech writer that can help you create bespoke speeches to captivate your audience. 

Why not get in touch with me today for my five-star rated speech writing services?

Image used for blog post, Stand and Deliver is copyright Russell James Smith. This image has been cropped and rendered black and white (original is colour). Click here for Flickr link . It is used under the Creative Commons licence here.