Arranging Your Speech Material To Best Effect

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Where do you put your best content in your speech?

Another important principle in arranging speech material is to use the most interesting items near the conclusion of a speech. Like a thrilling story or captivating play a speech should become more interesting as it proceeds. All material should be highly interesting, but it should build to a strong climax to keep audiences deeply interested. This principle of holding interest applies to any type of audience.
In addition to arranging material in a style suited to a special occasion or to a certain type audience, the choice of the material itself is very important.
For instance, when a college professor was invited to address a group of teenage boys he was told, “They’ve heard so many dull, ‘pink tea’ speeches they’re disgusted with speakers. You’ll have a difficult time holding their attention. And don’t be sur¬prised if they try to steal your socks!”
This youth group was associated with a church. They were sons of active business and professional people, neglected perhaps, but not delinquent. Probably they would willingly listen to a speech slanted to their natural interests.
What speech material would interest these young men? Illus¬trations about stock markets or how to retire gracefully at sixty-five? No. They are not ready for that yet. Fairy tales or stories about flying kites? No. “Kid stuff” does not appeal to teenagers..
How about action, drama, suspense? Yes, these qualities would appeal to almost any group, excluding possibly an extremely reserved or aged audience. They would appeal especially to teen-
agers who .usually have so much excess energy they scarcely know what to do with it.
So the professor began his speech with a story about Tommie Thomas who had committed nearly every crime in the books except murder. He had a picture o£ Tommie in prison garb and a three-day beard. Displaying the picture he exclaimed, “How’d you like to meet him in an alley at midnight?” Whereupon, one of the most brazen boys in the audience said, “Oh, ain’t he cute?”
“Cute, my eye?” retorted the speaker. “Why, he …”
Then followed a vivid account of some of the crimes Tommie had committed.- The words were colorful, action was fast. There was suspense, tragedy. The boys listened intently because the material they were hearing was naturally interesting for them.
The speaker’s purpose was not to glorify crime but to gain respect for law and order. There was another side to Tommie Thomas’ story wherein he found that crime isn’t the most satisfying occupation. But that came later. And it was not told in a direct “preaching” manner, but in a fascinating, dramatic style.

There is more to come. But what do you think is the best place for you best content? Do you think this would help your speaking skills? If you are struggling with confident public speaking and nerves get the better of you try our free e-course that you can enrol in by entering your details in the box to the right.

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