Delivering a Great Speech

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13392

Should you stand in one place or move around? Speak softly or loudly? Make gestures or keep still? Where should you look? Learn everything you need to know to be a confident, enthusiastic speaker!


Interpersonal Skills, Verbal Communication

English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Before you learn how to deliver your speech, sit back and enjoy a 13-year-old's speech about life, education, and happiness.

Hackschooling makes me happy | Logan LaPlante | TEDxUniversityofNevada from TEDx Talks:

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  • What do you think of Logan's delivery?

Delivering a great speech is not as hard as you think!

You've dealt with your fear of public speaking--if you had any--and have written an excellent speech. Now it's time to learn how to deliver that speech!

(If you haven't completed the first two Related Lessons in this series, find those in the right-hand sidebar and do them first.)

Let's jump right in and look at some do's and don'ts as explained in How to deliver the perfect speech, from The Royal Family Channel. Take notes on what you should and shouldn't do!

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  • It helps to see someone doing it both the right and wrong way, doesn't it?

Here are some ideas from the video:


  • center your body toward the audience
  • make eye contact with the audience
  • keep your body in an open stance
  • make hand movements with an open palm


  • say umm, uh, like, you know, or any other filler words or phrases
  • let your voice fade out at the end of a sentence
  • point at anyone in the audience
  • make stiff, jerking movements

Those are great tips. Let's get into them with some more detail.



Great speakers stand tall, balanced on both feet, and squarely facing the audience. Don't lean on one leg or the other or twist your body away from the audience.

Eye Contact

eye contact

Great speakers try to make eye contact with as many people in the audience as they can. They move their gaze around and focus on an individual for a few seconds before moving on.

Get a few people together to hear your speech and practice doing this.

If you find it too hard to look at people and think about your speech at the same time, here's a trick that a lot of speakers use: focus on an area over the heads of the people and keep moving your eyes around the room. At least you'll look like you're making eye contact!



Movement helps you be more expressive in your speech. Use your entire arm and make a big, bold gesture with open palms. Use one arm and then the other, then use both!

Gestures keep your audience's attention and add to your confidence and enthusiasm.


There are some movements you don't want to make though!

Most people have some kind of movement that they make when they feel nervous. A nervous habit like this can be anything from scratching your ear to tapping your foot.

If you're not already aware of what your habit is, ask someone who knows you well. If they're not sure, have someone take a video of you presenting your speech, and look for a repeated movement.

Then, work on making only the movements you want to make, not those that show how nervous you are!

For more tips on using gestures, watch The 4 Public Speaking Gestures And How To Use Them from PublicSpeakingPower:

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There are three things to remember about using your voice in your speech: speak loudly, speak slowly, and use pauses.

Speak Loudly

  • Have you ever tried to listen to someone who spoke so quietly you couldn't hear him or her?
  • It's frustrating, isn't it?

Don't do that to your audience. Speak out loud and clear!

Speak Slowly

When people are nervous, they tend to speak more quickly. You may be a little nervous delivering your speech, so make an extra effort to speak slowly!


Pause a few times while you're speaking. It helps to focus the audience's attention, and it helps you to gather your thoughts, too!

Your pause should be about three seconds. Count 1...2...3 slowly in your head.

Have Confidence

Smile! Whether you feel like it or not, smiling will help you feel more relaxed and help your audience connect with you.

If something goes wrong, just keep going. Don't apologize.

If you apologize, it just takes time away from your speech and makes your audience feel nervous because you don't seem to know what you're doing. Chances are they will not even notice whatever mistake you think you made!

  • Are you ready to start practicing your speech?

Great! Head over to the Got It? section and let's practice!

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