Good speakers learn to deliver speeches for all occasions in a manner appropriate to each of them. That is how they earn the mark of a versatile speaker. They learn how to speak appropriately in meetings, committees, seminars, press conferences, interviews and a host of such situations.
Depending upon the occasion, the content, style, delivery and readiness assume relevance. Some occasions call for elaborate and thorough preparation. They are the ones where the speech should be rich in content. There are other occasions where more than the content, confidence and presence of mind come in handy. Let us look at some of the very common kinds.
1. Welcome or Introductory Speech:
Here the speaker’s job would be to give a good start to the event, be it a meeting or a function or a seminar. The speaker should speak with enthusiasm and make sure to welcome the dignitaries, speakers and participants in proper order.
Welcoming or introduction has to be done as per protocol or a formal order reflecting the importance of the people present. Introductions should be brief and the names should be pronounced properly.
Sometimes, the listed speakers may fail to turn up and someone else may deputize for them. The speaker welcoming the guests should take care to ascertain who has come and who has not. The speaker should try to keep the welcome speech brief.
The speaker should briefly mention the purpose and refrain from covering the subject which would be covered by the subsequent speakers. When done properly, welcome and introductory speeches add value to the occasion and arouse a sense of expectancy among the participants. At the same time, lengthy and faulty speeches mar the occasion and give it a bad start.
2. Vote of Thanks:
This is the last speech in any event or functions. It winds up the deliberations. Any vote of thanks should have a tone of sincerity and should not appear to be a mere formality.
While all important speakers and those who have contributed to the event or deliberations should be mentioned, reading out a long and boring list should be avoided.
Although vote of thanks speeches appear to be routine, good speakers know how to make them appealing. Here again, proper order should be followed and important persons should not be left out, prompting the organizers to send
Chits reminding the speaker about names omitted.
And please avoid cliches like ‘last but not the least’ and ‘all those who have directly or indirectly contributed to the programme’.
3. Theme or Keynote Speeches:
Theme speeches and key note addresses are the main speeches of the occasion. They are relatively long speeches with a reasonably long time allotted to them. A theme speech or keynote address presents the main theme and covers the subject in its totality and provides a good insight into the subjects chosen.
The speakers assigned with this speech are normally senior and seasoned speakers who can deal with the subject with some expertise. These speeches are done with due preparation and advance notice.
The audience comes with a high level of expectancy and they are eager to get themselves enriched on the subject. Speakers for theme address and key note address are chosen with due care and keeping in view their ability to do justice to the topic and add value to the deliberations.
A theme speech should follow the standard format of a good speech and should include all the three parts, viz., introduction, body and conclusion:
Coming soon after the greeting, introduction or opening generally consists of telling your listeners what you are going to tell them during the course of your address. You introduce the audience to the topic of your presentation.
You will tell them what you are going to cover and how you are going to cover the topic. Since the first words spoken by any speaker are heard very attentively by the listeners, the speaker makes them appealing.
What the speaker says by way of introduction will determine the attentiveness of the listeners. The speaker must make every effort to gain attention, arouse curiosity and keep the opening interesting.
The body of any speech consists of the essence of the topic or subject chosen. It consists of all the main points that the speaker wants to convey on the subject. The matter is presented logically and sequentially.
The speaker may consult his or her notes and bring out all the facts and figures. The speaker refers to the supporting material and provides illustrations and examples in support of the points made.
The speaker takes care to make the points clear and coherent. The speaker follows the response of the audience to make sure that the message is comprehended. More than two-thirds of the time spent in the speech is allotted to the body of the speech. The main points are emphasized and highlighted so that the audience understands the message as intended.
The conclusion relates to the closing or the winding up of the speech. The main points are briefly reiterated. Good speakers should make the conclusion stand out. To the extent possible, one should try to close the speech with a bang. He or she should endeavour to conclude on a humorous note, use quotations or words that are strong and forceful.
The speaker should make sure that he or she has conveyed the message loud and clear. The closing should be such as to leave behind a positive impression on the listeners. Equally important is the fact that the speech should be concluded within the allotted time and should not be prolonged and overstretched.