Man in classroom giving speech
Man in the classroom giving a speech

It pays to take care of over-preparing and delivering speeches, whether for presentations, seminars, conferences or training. Audiences find it easier to absorb by the eye than by ear, so use audio-visual (AV) techniques when possible.

Preparing Speeches

Give yourself enough time to compose and rehearse your speech, including a final review. If you write out the full text for a 30-minute speech, you will need about 4,800 words, and the writing will take many hours. Notes are obviously quicker. Plan the 30 minutes around linked themes. Summarize each theme, and then add materials for each in note form. Allocate about three minutes per theme if you are using AV aids (making 10 themes in 30 minutes), otherwise 1-2 minutes for each.

Making Your Point

Repetition, often a fault on the page, is essential in oratory. Any speech is a performance. If you plan to use notes, make them brief. By glancing at a single word, you should be able to recall several complex ideas. Refer to your notes, but do not read straight from them. The brain’s recall of heard information is poor, so make your speech as accessible as possible. Keep your language clear, your sentences short, and preserve a smooth flow, with a logical transition within points. The last point you make must relate to the first.

Encouraging Reaction

If you can, speak without any notes and move confidently around the stage. This removes the psychological barrier of the podium and makes you and your speech more accessible. As you speak, focus on the centre of the audience, about two-thirds of the way back. People listening will usually be inclined to feel positive towards you rather than hostile, so allow their support to give you confidence. Make eye contact, and encourage the audience to participate – asking people questions, either en masse or individually works well. Making them laugh also breaks the ice.

Using Visual Aids

The most commonly used visual media are probably still the 35-mm slide projector and the overhead projector. For smaller audiences, the flip chart and writing board are effective. The most powerful AV media use colours and images, including moving ones. Technology has made these easy, fast, and cheap, linking PCs to projectors. Whatever you use, make sure that the technical operation is foolproof and that the visual material is the best possible. If appropriate, support your speech by giving the audience copies of notes and visual materials.

Training For Results

Leading a training session for staff is a vital form of communication. Speak to trainees as you would to any audience: be confident, make eye contact and invite questions. Training courses are often most effective when they are intensive and are held over a few days away from the office. By talking to staff in informal discussion groups or in conversation outside training sessions, you will also be able to get valuable feedback on all aspects of the organization. Feedback on the training itself is vital to check that the process is worthwhile.

Holding A Seminar

Internal seminars and workshops provide training in areas that are important to an organization. They are working events, practical, informal, and focused on specific aims. If you are running an internal event, invite-only relevant personnel; it is often valuable for senior management to attend. Use external seminars to introduce changes to customers and suppliers, or to provide a selling opportunity. Invite top management to contribute to these seminars with introductory or concluding speech or a non-selling lecture.

Speaking At A Seminar

If you are speaking at either an internal or external seminar, ask the organizer what subjects other speakers will be covering to make sure you do not repeat each other. Check how long you will be expected to talk and whether there will be a question-and-answer session afterwards. If you are speaking without a microphone, make sure the audience can hear you at the back of the room (ask them, if necessary). Do not talk too quickly, and keep an eye on a watch or clock to ensure that you speak only for the allotted time.

Planning A Conference

Conferences are more formal and larger than seminars. In the same way that meetings must have a purpose, all conferences should have objectives. These will be the basis of any agenda and will provide a springboard for discussions. Internal sales conferences, in particular, are usually motivational events. Like all conferences, they require first-class venues, professional presenters, excellent sets and audio-visuals, and careful planning. Well, in advance, decide who will address the conference. If you can arrange for a guest speaker to liven up the proceedings, it will help maintain the audience’s interest ad enthusiasm. Make sure that all speakers know when they are expected to make their speech and for how long they are scheduled to talk.

Choosing A Venue

The venue is part of the message and speaks volume to those who are attending. When you are deciding where to hold a conference or seminar, think carefully about what is required, and always choose a venue that is suitable for the scale and type of event. For a large conference, you need a space that easily accommodates everyone. However, for a workshop, you may only need one medium-sized room plus a few smaller ones, where trainees can work together in groups or teams. Before booking a venue, check that everything you require will be available, such as electronics and other equipment (like microphones and projectors), comfortable seating for all attendees, and catering.

Points to remember:

  • The more planning and thought that go into an event, the more it is likely to achieve.
  • Any message will be usually reinforced if accompanied by good audio-visual technology.
  • Staffs at seminars or conferences should be treated with as much respect and care as suppliers.
  • Showbusiness or professional speakers can be hired (at a price) to talk at company events.
  • Conferences and seminars always need to be followed up, or they may be of little benefit.


  1. Keep physical (or at least mental back-ups) in case your AV aids fail.
  2. Finish your speech before the allotted time rather than long after it.
  3. Ask questions of the audience if it is slow to ask questions of you.
  4. Speak for 20-45 minutes maximum – this is the length of the average person’s attention span.
  5. If possible, invite a famous speaker to a seminar or conference.
  6. Check regularly that your staff is getting the training they require.
  7. Ask other managers if they would like to speak at seminars.
  8. Get some recommendations if selecting a new conference venue.

Bernard Taiwo

I am Management strategist, Editor and Publisher.

Next Post

Become Professionally Qualified Strategic Manager and Leader, Professional Member of CISML And Licensed Chartered Strategic Management Practitioner

Mon Sep 9 , 2019
BECOME Professionally Qualified Strategic Manager and Leader Professional Member of CISML And Licensed Chartered Strategic Management Practitioner   STRATEGIC PURPOSE CISML was established in the United States of America as a Global Professional Qualification and Membership Institute. Has a distinctive focus on professional Strategic Management, Strategic Leadership, and Strategic Performance […]

You May Like

Chief Editor

Johny Watshon

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur