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COMM 1110: Speech Communication: Steps of the Speech Process







A speech generally needs to be written further in advance than a research paper so that adequate practice and revision can occur. Preparing for your speech will help with the very common fear of public speaking.  Here are some steps and links to guide you through the process.

Step 1: Understand Your Assignment

  • Read your assignment and ask  your instructor you have questions on what is required.
  • Who is your audience?  What is your purpose?  This this guide your topic, tone, and style.
  • How long is the speech?  Are you using presentation software such as PowerPoint or do you need visuals or props?  How many sources are required?

Step 2: Select and focus your topic. Begin preliminary research

Step 3: Get Organized

Begin to organize or outline your speech.Group your remarks and evidence to create an informal outline. It may be useful to include: 

Step 4: Step 4: Draft any visuals. Gather additional research.

Step 5: Compose Your Talking Points

  • Start with your most important points.
  • What is the "take home message" you want your audience to understand, believe, accept or do after they hear your speech? Write this out in one or two sentences.What evidence supports your "take home message?"
  • Draft transitions between your thoughts. Include attention-getting ideas:
    • Novelty: an unusual fact or surprising image
    • Conflict: an opposing viewpoints on the issue
    • Humor: an amusing play on words or exaggerated remark
    • Suspense: such as asking a provocative question
  • Determine how you are going to organize your thoughts as you speak.
    • Consult your outline
    • Create index cards (be sure to number cards)
    • Organize your visuals
  • On the Lisle campus, get help at the Student Success Center to go over your speech or outline for structure, clarity, tone, etc.

Step 6: Plan the Timing of Your Speech.

  • Add timing to your talking points
  • Revise your talking points, PowerPoint slides and transitions.
  • Delete talking points and/or PowerPoint slides that are not crucial. Paring down or eliminating content will enhance clarity and improve the speech overall.  

Step 7: Rehearse Your Speech for Content and Timing.

  • Be aware of your body position, foot placement, breath and eye movement.
  • Videotape or record a rehearsal to identify problems, distracting habits, etc. 
  • Avoid reading every word--you should be presenting not reading.
  • Avoid common verbal habits such as "um", "like", "you know", "kinda", etc.
  • Practice your speech many times until you feel comfortable with the content and timing.
  • Review your assignment to be sure you are meeting all the requirements.

Step 8: Rehearse Your Speech in Front of an Audience.

  • Gather a few friends or classmates and deliver your speech.
  • Try to avoid the following common behaviors: fidgeting, looking at the computer or screen not at audience, rustling your papers, chewing gum, gesturing too much, or pacing.
  • Ask for feedback on your delivery (such as eye contact, hand gestures, speech habits, etc.) and content
  • Ask what they identified as the most important points. Do these match yours?
  • Edit or revise speech based on the feedback.

Step 9: Continue Revising and Prepare for Anticipated Questions

  • If your speech includes a question and answer session with your audience, spend some time to anticipate questions and briefly plan answers.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question when you are presenting

Step 10: Final Preparations

Continue to rehearse. Prepare to deliver you speech.

  • Make sure you have all your materials together including note cards, outlines, visuals, handouts, bibliography, PowerPoint on Flash drive, etc.
  • Be aware you may have feelings of anxiety. This is very common and a few strategies may help including:
    • Arrive early
    • Practice on the day of your speech so you are comfortable with the content.




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