wikiHow to Prepare a Talk

A talk, also called a speech, is an organized way of verbally communicating a topic with an audience. Taking appropriate measures to prepare a speech is necessary to ensure that the speech effectively relays the intended message. Follow these steps to prepare a talk.


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    Determine the purpose of your talk. When preparing a speech, you must keep this purpose in mind and tailor the content around it. Consider what you want to accomplish with your talk.
    • Illicit a response. That response may be emotional, intellectual or action-oriented.
    • Convince the audience. An argumentative speech aims at presenting a specific point of view and bringing the audience to a point of relating, or agreeing, with that point of view.
    • Teach the audience. The purpose of an informative speech is to educate the audience on a subject or idea that they may not be familiar with.
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    Consider your audience. When you prepare a speech, it is important that you take your intended audience into consideration.
    • Identifying characteristics. These include age, race, common interests, socioeconomic class, gender and education. It is important that you are careful not to alienate your audience with the language or tone of your talk.
    • Audience knowledge. Consider how informed your audience is on the issue of your talk, and what type of understanding they are seeking from your talk. This will determine the depth of information you need to provide in your speech.
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    Prepare a talk using the following format:
    • Lead with an introduction. Your introduction should grab the audience's attention, inform the audience of the talk purpose (thesis) and lead into the main body. For example, you may grab your audience's attention with a personal story, present your thesis by explaining how the story illustrates the purpose of your speech and lead into the body with a strong transition phrase.
    • Fill the body with relevant content. Identify points that reinforce your thesis and organize the body of your talk accordingly. Illustrate each point clearly, providing supporting information to give audience a clear picture of how each point lends itself to your thesis. 3 to 5 supporting points is standard, depending on the time constraints of your talk.
    • Close with an effective conclusion. Prepare a speech conclusion that reminds the audience of each of your main points, then restates the thesis. Include a call to action in your conclusion that incites the audience to partake in a realistic response to what they've just learned. For example, if your speech was about the importance of parental involvement in education, your call to action may be to instruct the audience to participate in their children's education by joining parent-teacher conferences, voting on education reform and helping with homework.
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    Apply the strategies of ethos, logos and pathos when you prepare a speech for an audience.
    • Ethos involves gaining the audience's trust by establishing trustworthiness. Be genuine in your approach, and reveal your personal stake in what you have to say.
    • Pathos involves appealing to the audience's emotions. You may do this by using a personable tone, and by providing supporting information that the audience relates to.
    • Engage the audience's logos sensibility by providing reliable and factual data to back up your thesis.
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    Make your speech easy for the audience to follow.
    • Use short, concise sentences.
    • Incorporate clear transitions from 1 point to the next.
    • Repeat important words and phrases several times throughout the speech.
    • Provide previews and summaries of the information you relay as you move through each segment of the speech.
    • Avoid overusing statistical information, as it may be too much information for the audience to take in on an auditory basis.
    • Avoid using pronouns like "it" and "this" in favor of specific nouns.
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    Practice your delivery. You may opt to summarize your talk into outline format, or you may transfer your key points onto cue cards. Rehearse your speech out loud, using your outline or cue cards as a reference, until you are comfortable with your ability to deliver the material without prompts.


  • Rehearse your talk for a friend and ask for feedback to help you identify your talk's strong and weak points, then revise the talk accordingly.

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Categories: Presentations