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Speech Techniques
It's important to prepare before giving a speech.

Speech Techniques

Speech techniques help us to speak well in public. Speeches, like all other forms of writing, use a variety of techniques to improve their effectiveness. For some people, the thought of having to give a speech is enough to fill them with dread and the promise of a week's worth of sleepless nights. As with everything else in life, it is possible to practise and to improve your skills.

Test your knowledge of effective speech techniques with this quiz.

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1.
The purpose of most speeches is to...
report facts
tell a story
influence people
bore people
Most speeches are meant to be persuasive. Sometimes they are unashamedly so and at other times the persuasiveness is more subtle
2.
What is the effect of using the second person (you / yours) in a speech?
Using the second person creates a sense of distance between the speaker and the audience
Using the second person draws the audience in, decreasing the gap between them and the speaker
Using the second person sounds very formal
Using the second person ensures that the audience will not take the speaker seriously
3.
What is the effect of using the first person plural (we / us / our) in a speech?
Using the first person plural causes the audience to feel a sense of collective identity
Using the first person plural sounds more formal
Using the first person plural distances the audience
All of the above
Speakers who use 'we', 'us' and 'our' can be very persuasive - or can seem manipulative, if they are not careful
4.
Which of the following should NOT be used in a speech?
Alliteration
Rhyme
Metaphor
Each of these can be effective in a speech
5.
'For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and travelled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and ploughed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.' - These words from Barack Obama's Inaugural Address demonstrate the use of which rhetorical device?
Hyperbole (exaggeration)
A rhetorical question
The rule of three
Anecdote
The rule of three also applies to simple lists of three words (i.e. 'faith, hope and charity')
6.
Looking again at the extract from Obama's speech, which sentence contains the most examples of emotive language?
The first sentence
The second sentence
The third sentence
Each sentence contains an equal number of emotive words
The second sentences includes these emotive words: toiled, endured, sweatshops, lash, whip, hard. The first and third sentences have emotive subjects (emigration, war) and would not benefit from overly emotive language
7.
Read these lines from General Charles de Gaulle's speech following the Nazi invasion of France. Which of them is an example of using a parallel structure (parallelism)?
The very factors that brought about our defeat may one day lead us to victory
For, remember this, France does not stand alone
This war is not limited to our unfortunate country
The destiny of the world is at stake
'Brought about our defeat' and 'lead us to victory' are parallel structures: they share a similar grammatical structure
8.
Read these lines from Oliver Cromwell's 1653 speech to Parliament. Which of the following is an example of antithesis?
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place
Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of potage
Is there a man amongst you that has the least good care for the good of the Commonwealth
You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves become the greatest grievance
Antithesis involves the juxtaposition of two contrasting ideas
9.
When preparing for a speech, you should do which of the following?
Print a neat copy of your speech on A4 paper and deliver your speech while reading from it
Write the main point of each paragraph on a note card, along with any key words you need to remember
Write each full paragraph on a note card in your best handwriting, so you can read it while speaking
Don't worry about writing a speech: just say whatever comes into your head on the day
10.
Which of the following will NOT help to combat nerves during a speech?
Take a breath and focus on speaking slowly and clearly
Practise your speech in front of a mirror
Patronise your audience in order to feel superior
Rehearse your speech several times until you've memorised it
It's amazing how quickly people speak when they are nervous - slow down, but do think about your varying your pace and tone
Author:  Sheri Smith

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