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There are four ways in which a speaker can deliver his or her information. Once can speak from his head, commit every word to memory, read from a script or use a blended approach.

Choosing the Right Speech Delivery

So, you are asked to perform a speech before your graduating class. No biggie. Just get up on stage and speak your piece. People will love it. They may even throw roses at the stage.Well, that may be the case if you are familiar with your audience and, well, they are a very forgiving bunch of fellows.

That’s mostly because there is more to giving a speech than the actual content. Sure, facts must be accurate. The message should be important, and the speaker must be engaging and well-groomed. That’s the stuff Public Speaking 101 is made of.A good speaker will also think about the delivery method, or the way in which the speech will be conveyed to the audience.

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There are a few ways in which this is done:

  • Impromptu
  • Extemporaneous
  • Manuscript
  • Memorized

Let’s explore them now.

Impromptu Speeches

Suppose while attending your best friend’s wedding, the guests begin chanting your name followed by the words ‘Speech, Speech, Speech!’Frightened at the possibility of having leftover prime rib thrown in your direction, your first thought is to hide behind a potted plant. After all, it is your friend’s wedding and you are the best man, so you reluctantly get on stage and begin yapping. You might talk about your friendship, his many former girlfriends, all of which you liked, his wife’s mother and her facial mole, and the nasty creamed spinach that was served with dinner.Pat yourself on the back! You just performed an impromptu speech. This is a speech that has no advanced planning or practice.

Reflecting back on your speech, you are probably thinking about what you could have done better. Your black eye may very well be the catalyst for your regret in making those word choices. Well, lucky for you, if you are ever asked to speak before a crowd without advanced notice again, here are a few tips you can use:

  • Think for a second about what you are going to say.

  • Keep your points brief and to the point.
  • Take a few seconds between thoughts to compose yourself.

If you take your time and think about what you would like to say, you probably will never put your foot in your mouth again. Some speeches play it a little safer. They are a combination of a researched speech and an off-the-cuff speech.

Extemporaneous Speeches

We learned that the impromptu speech can be tricky. Finding the right words without advanced notice may not be for every speaker. No need to worry. The extemporaneous speech is a perfect balance.

This speech involves the speaker’s use of notes and some embellishment to deliver a speech. To clear this up, a speaker who uses this method would have note cards or prompts that guide him from point to point, but he uses his own words as he goes along. What makes this different than an impromptu speech is that he has a loose guideline for his speech. He did not memorize anything; he just used cues to know where to go next.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of speech. For one, the audience will think you are a genius. You used few notes and appeared to know everything about the topic.

But this is not something that can be done quickly. The same fact finding and research used for other types of speeches must be used here. The speaker also must rehearse this speech for timing, rhythm and flow.

Now, if shooting from the hip is not your style, you may want to consider reading your speech.

Manuscript Speeches

In a manuscript speech, the speaker reads every word from a pre-written speech. This seems easy enough. Well, if your audience enjoys a bedtime story, it may work.

Reading directly from the pages of a script has its benefits. You won’t miss a single word or important fact. The downside? It can be boring. Without eye contact, animation or movement on stage, the audience may become disinterested. This is especially true if the speech is about a drab topic.Relax, you can still use this method, but with a few tweaks.

  • Maintain a conversational tone of voice.
  • Be sure the content of the speech is already interesting to the audience.

If the audience does not feel like they are being read to, it will be much more enjoyable. Some speakers enjoy the free-wheeling style of the extemporaneous speech but want the safety net of a manuscript speech. No problem. There is a fourth type of speech that may work.

Memorized Speech

Just like an actor preparing for his role on stage, a speaker can commit the information he wants to convey to memory.

The memorized speech is just that. It is the act of memorizing the information in a speech and presenting it without using notes. There is a benefit to delivering a speech this way. It doesn’t require the speaker to carry note cards around the stage. He can focus on his audience’s body language and facial expressions.

There is freedom in being able to roam the stage free from the confines of a pre-scripted speech. This is especially useful for speakers that like to use visuals on stage.But, just like the other types of speech delivery methods, there is a downside. Because you memorized the speech, you may speak in a very one-tone voice. This will not direct your audience to listen up when important information is on the way.Because you memorized the information, you may rush through it out of fear that you may forget one of your lines. If you forget your lines, you may fill in the blanks with information that may cause confusion for the audience.

There are a few ways to be sure you stay on track:

  • Write the speech in language familiar to you.
  • Practice your speech several times prior to the event.
  • Breathe between thoughts.

  • Remain relaxed.

Regardless of the type of speech delivery you choose, the most important thing to remember is that the speech is about your audience.

Lesson Summary

To wrap things up, there are four types of speech delivery methods:

  • The impromptu speech. This is a speech that has no advanced planning or practice, like a toast at a wedding.

  • The extemporaneous speech involves the speaker’s use of notes and some embellishment to deliver a speech.
  • Some speakers use a manuscript speech. This is a delivery where the speaker reads every word from a pre-written speech.
  • Lastly, a memorized speech is the act of memorizing the information in a speech and presenting it without using notes.

Whatever method you choose, keep the audience in mind.

Learning Outcomes

After this lesson is done you should be able to:

  • Recall and compare four different speech delivery methods
  • List a few tips in preparing an impromptu speech
  • State the advantages and disadvantages of an extemporaneous speech
  • Explain how to prevent the audience from losing interest during a manuscript speech
  • Describe how to prepare for a manuscript speech

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