Public Speaking Competition can be daunting. Standing up in front of a room of people and speaking calmly with passion and clarity is no simple task, it takes practice and courage. But it also takes a little magic. This month ESU are taking a look at some of the great speakers and their speeches, we’re going to explore what makes a great speech and gather some tips for this year’s Public Speaking Competition applicants…

Use simple language

Emma Watson – HeForShe Campaign 2014

It can be tempting to use your moment in the spotlight to show off your fantastic vocabulary skills to dazzle the audience, but please resist the urge! The point of public speaking is to be understood by your listeners not to confuse and alienate them by using elaborate language. The British actress Emma Watson wowed audiences with her speech for gender equality at the launch of the United Nation’s HeForShe campaign. She manages to use simple language to address gender equality issues. She wants to attract support for her cause by being easily understood. Remember when speaking in public if you can’t pronounce it, don’t use it!

Have a clear message

Martin Luther King “I have a dream” 1963

What do you want to say? It is vitally important when you are giving a speech that you know exactly what you are going to say. Before you write your speech ask yourself what you are discussing and why you are discussing it. This will help you create a structured speech that has a clear aim. Speeches that jump from point to point are incoherent, distracting and difficult for listeners to follow. When planning a speech make sure it t has a beginning, middle and an end, be as creative as you like but make sure that the message you want to convey is understood. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a powerful example of how to be colourful and passionate while ensuring that the message is never lost.

Make it personal

Michelle Obama speech supporting Hilary Clinton 2016

This is a wonderfully heartfelt and emotional display from the First Lady of the United States. The language that she uses is simple, the images she conjures you can relate to and the message she wants to convey is crystal clear. Mrs Obama is purposely emphasising her own experiences, her experience of being a woman and a mother. By making her speech personal she manages to strike a chord with people, people empathise with what she is saying. This speech is a true master class in making the political personal.
If you are feeling inspired by these incredible oratory performances why not give public speaking a chance yourself? ESU’s annual public speaking competition is accepting applicants. Get in touch with us now, so you can participate in this prestigious competition!