After Dinner Speaking: A Beginner’s Guide

Many people often feel incredibly nervous at the prospect of performing or speaking in public. Though there is a definite art to inspired oratory, there are a number of pieces of advice that would be helpful for the beginner to take into account before preparing (and delivering) an after dinner speech.

Firstly, when planning your speech, remember to suit your facts, anecdotes and jokes (if you feel confident in delivering them) to your audience.Further, when composing your speech, remember that you are writing for an audience and not for a casual reader. Though it may not be immediately obvious, there is a difference between writing for readers and writing for listeners: you must build a personal rapport with a listening audience, engaging with them one-on-one.

After Dinner Speaking: A Beginner’s Guide

As well as planning your speech accurately beforehand, you should also try to make sure that you deliver it in good time. If your speech is delayed, your audience will grow tired and slowly begin to lose interest. As many performers attest, a receptive audience can support a speaker and boost their confidence.

Go and watch the professionals and follow people like Douglas Reeves on twitter for tips and tricks that will help you engage your audience.

When delivering your speech, remember to stay calm. If you are a naturally anxious person, you may like to try some breathing exercises before beginning. If you lose your place or you make a mistake when delivering your speech, take a breath and continue as normal. When giving your speech, pay particular attention to the speed at which you talk. When someone is nervous, their speech can become garbled and difficult to follow. Remember your audience at all times.

Depending on the venue in which you are delivering your after-dinner speech, you may be the victim of several intrusive heckles. It is always a good idea to plan a couple of witty comebacks in advance, should you be interrupted by a heckler or two.

When delivering your speech, try not to become absorbed in memory cards or sheets of A4 paper. Though it can be nerve-racking to put down your prompt cards and speak “in the moment”, such an action will serve to humanize you in front of your audience, allowing you to engage one-on-one with them rather than hiding behind a per-written text.

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