Subscribe to My Blog
DeFinis on LinkedIn
DeFinis on Facebook
DeFinis on Twitter

4 Methods to Deliver a Great Speech

When it comes to delivering your presentation, you actually have many choices. Public speaking involves so much more than just standing in front of a crowd and talking. How you deliver your thoughts and message can depend on a number of factors, such as your comfort level, the nature of the information and most important, your audience’s expectations. So before you stand up to speak, make sure you choose the correct delivery method that will give you the best results for you and your audience.


Here is a quick overview of each method:


Reading verbatim from a manuscript

Some speeches must be delivered word for word, such as critical updates to the media, reports at a professional meeting or a political address. In these highly formal situations accuracy is extremely important because every word will be analyzed by the press, the public and the audience. Good speech writers know the importance of writing speeches that will be read and how to create them.


It may look easy to give this kind of speech, but it requires a great deal of skill. The trick is to make the written word sound spontaneous—to make the words come alive. Otherwise, this type of speech and the words can come across as dry and dispassionate, and the speaker can appear stiff and uncomfortable. If you are going to read a speech, careful rehearsal is mandatory. The delivery must be closely choreographed with the message to lift the speech from the page and into the hearts and minds of the listeners.



Hundreds of years ago, the legendary orators would memorize long and complex speeches and deliver them word for word. Fortunately, today this is not a customary or recommended practice. For short speeches like introductions of other speakers, wedding toasts, thank you comments or congratulatory remarks it’s okay to memorize and sometimes helpful to do so. And there may be certain sections of a longer talk that you may want to memorize, like the opening, the closing and the transitions. If you do recite any part of your speech from memory make sure that you know it cold so you don’t run the risk of fumbling, getting off track and losing your connection to your audience.



An impromptu speech is delivered without any preparation at all. Most people would rather not do an impromptu speech, but they often cannot be avoided. In business meetings your ideas and opinions might be solicited on the spot. But rest assured that we all give hundreds of impromptu speeches every day. This “on the spot” speech is the core of everyday conversation. So if someone turns to you and asks for your thoughts, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and think through a logical beginning, middle and ending progression. Keep the audience on track by stressing key words: “The first point I’d like to cover…” “Next you will see…” “And finally I would like to add…” Impromptu speaking takes practice, but if you follow a structure you’ll soon get the hang of it.



While many people think extemporaneous and impromptu are the same since they are both speeches that are not read or memorized, there is one key difference. The impromptu speech is completely off the cuff; the extemporaneous speech is thoughtfully prepared, planned and practiced.


When speaking extemporaneously, the speaker uses notes, an outline or a PowerPoint slide presentation to stay on track. And as long as your speech structure is carefully planned, that’s all you need. This is the method we recommend for the majority of people we work with.  Once you have the content prepared you can spend your time practicing the flow of the material and your delivery. As you practice out loud, the words will come out differently with each run though but you will know the basic sentence structure and logical progression of the material. If you practice enough, the most effective parts of your message will stick in your mind and come out as you planned. The key here is to take the time to fully prepare. No short cuts! When you practice, you will have full control of your topic, sound convincing and yet still come across with a spontaneous and conversational tone.


Ultimately, the speech delivery method you choose will depend on many factors, such as how formal or informal the presentation is, how well you know your subject, who the audience is, and your own comfort level. When you take the time to analyze these factors and educate yourself about your choices, you can make the best decision about what method to use and give a great speech.

November 3rd, 2009 | Permalink | Trackback | Bookmark and Share

13 Responses to 4 Methods to Deliver a Great Speech

  1. Wired Presentations » Blog Archive » Not Everyone Digs the Jeff Experience! - Helping you help your help your audience

    [...] [Update] It looks like Angela DeFinis is on the side of sometimes you are REQUIRED to read a presentation (or speech). [...]

  2. Public Speaking Tips [2009-11-07]

    [...] DeFinis contrasts 4 methods for delivering a speech: reading, memorizing, impromptu, and extemporaneous. Ultimately, [...]

  3. Ardith Steines

    Contrary to some notions, well explored articles still fetch in reviewers like me. You showed clear understanding of the topic matter and my opinions are now complete after reading your post. Please sustain up the sound work and i will subscribe to your rss feed to be informed of any emerging postings.

  4. bwin france

    This is an spectacular entry. Thank you very much for the supreme post provided! I was looking for this entry for a long time, but I wasn’t able to find a authentic source.

  5. Laurel Citroni

    I would like to thank you for taking the time to post these online quite often. I am sure you have lots of fans, just like me looking forward to your next posts. I always wonder how on earth can you create such wonderful profound information that one can pick straight off the peg and use right away. Well, I am really waiting to read more ofyour inputs.

  6. Chandra

    This is my 1st time I’ve visited right here. I located a good deal of interesting info within your website. From the amount of comments on your posts, I guess I’m not the only 1! preserve up the impressive operate.

  7. Best Bath Store

    With this website publish you might have help me to locate the facts which I need to get a lot more data. Many thanks for that!

  8. Ehtel Lomanto

    Hi mates, fastidious paragraph and pleasant urging commented here, I am truly enjoying by these.

  9. pikavippejä

    Jakaa kuwait ehdottoman vyöryä kalja tasapuolinen loppusarja harjoittelija erkko rako hoitokoti luistaa,
    Kiinnittää riina argentiinalainen dipl veropetos

  10. getting hair highlights when pregnant

    This post will help the internet viewers for building up new
    weblog or even a weblog from start to end.

  11. Unknown

    Thanks , I have just been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I have found
    out so far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure in regards to
    the supply?

  12. best android phones 2013 philippines

    The 5 in . HD screen and the display is very good, it has also got the Corning Gorilla Cup
    3 protection.


    I precisely desired to appreciate you yet again. I do not know what I would have used in the absence of the actual recommendations shown by you on such industry. It has been a distressing scenario in my opinion, however , observing the expert strategy you resolved that took me to jump for joy. Now i am thankful for this information and even expect you find out what a powerful job that you’re getting into instructing other individuals via a site. I am certain you’ve never encountered all of us.

Leave a Reply

Newsletter Sign-up

FREE REPORT! Sign up now and receive: The Top 10 Presentation Tips to Help You Come Alive!




Speaking Spas™!

Speaking Spas is a new concept—a speaking school designed especially for professional women who want to accelerate their presentation skills and enjoy the nurturing and relaxation of a spa setting. Join Angela and the DeFinis team. It will change your life!

> Learn more

Member NSA