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Speak up with Confidence

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Speak up with Confidence

How to Prepare, Learn, and Deliver Effective Speeches


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Imagine getting up to give a speech, confident, knowing exactly what you are going to say. Impossible? Not any more.

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Jack Valenti’s updated edition of this classic instructional text on public speaking includes all the name dropping and funny anecdotes you would expect from a man who spent his career behind the scenes in Washington, D.C., and Hollywood. Insisting that anyone can be an effective public speaker - and he clearly has heard the best and the worst - Valenti’s watch word is "preparation." Although his writing is a bit repetitious and florid, and the information is basic, the book does what it promises: coaches the reader through the difficulties and details of composing and delivering an effective public presentation. If you drone on at a lectern while staring down at reams of notes, speak longer than your allotted time, have nightmares about the speech you gave that went wrong, count on momentary inspiration to carry you through important moments in the spotlight or don’t know the first thing about giving a speech, prescribes this book for your condition.


Preparation: Know What You Are Going to Say

Anyone can be a powerful and effective public speaker. Giving speeches is a "learnable craft." If you prepare fully, you can make presentations like a polished professional.

The first rule of good public speaking is to thoroughly know what you are going to say. This means preparing your remarks ahead of time, no matter the occasion. Determine your reason for giving the speech and how you want your audience to respond. Write it carefully so it accomplishes your goals. The three most important elements of a speech are witty or amusing stories to lighten the tone of your message (only if appropriate), a clear and persuasive reason for your speech and interesting, understandable language. There are two methods of speech writing:

  1. Dictation - Sketch out some notes of what you want to say, then dictate the speech into a tape recorder. At this stage, it is fine for it to have a conversational tone and to be quite unpolished. Type the draft and edit it for repetition, incorrect or extraneous information, bad grammar or other problems. Reread the draft into the recorder several more times, making changes where ...

About the Author

Jack Valenti has been privy to the best and worst of American public speaking. He has been president of the Motion Picture Association of America for more than 35 years and previously served as a political consultant and aide to President Lyndon Johnson. He is an author and public speaker.

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