One way of classifying speeches is the manner by which the speech will be presented to the audience. This classification is by delivery method. There are a few ways in which this is done:
This type of speech is delivered “on the spur of the moment” and this depends solely on your ability to speak in an instant. Many times, you have done this in class when your teachers ask you to explain or justify your answers without asking you to look at your notes. You also see this in beauty pageants where the candidate is asked by a judge or by the master of ceremony in an instant. Many times, we find these contestants stammering or stuttering because they are overwhelmed by the number of spectators watching them and by other factors that intimidate them. While it is not easy to do this, anybody can prepare for such impromptu speeches. To be successful, you need to:
- Consider the question or statement to which you are about to reply or react.
- Speak briefly but be sure to speak about the significant point/s.
- Compose yourself as you organize your thoughts logically.
- Be mindful of what you say but not overly self-conscious.
- Breathe properly.
This speech allows the speaker to prepare his/her thoughts and mode of delivery. Notecards or short outlines written on a small sheet of paper help significantly in making the speech delivery organized. These note cards or prompts tell you where to go next but you use your own words throughout the speech. This makes this type of delivery different from the impromptu speech, which does not allow the speaker to prepare ahead of time. In an extemporaneous speech, you are given enough time to prepare for it. To succeed, you need to
- do research on the topic
- have enough practice delivering the speech to gain self-confidence
Before delivering this speech, the speaker prepares the manuscript that he/she has to present. This requires the speaker to read every word in it. This type of speech happens when the speaker cannot afford to commit any mistake or when the script has to be read exactly as it was written. When do we see this type of speech? When a researcher wants to convey results of an experiment to be presented to the public; when the president of the country presents his/her government’s achievement for the past year (as in the case of the State of the Nation Address by the president of the Philippines) and he/she could not afford to make mistakes in the figures or statistics; when a speaker delivers a plenary speech given a limited time that delivering from a written speech is necessary; when a speaker reads a piece of literature—a poem, for example, to be interpreted. These situations may require reading from a manuscript. However, it can be boring. You still need to connect with the audience through eye contact. You also need to be animated in reading the speech by varying your intonation, rate, and rhythm, and by pausing once in a while to look at the listeners. Without animation or movement on stage, the audience may become disinterested. To succeed, you need to:
- Focus on key phrases and highlight keywords on your manuscript.
- Practice your speech repeatedly.
- Glance at the highlighted words to remember which idea comes next.
- Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the substance of your speech and the sequence of your main points.
- Maintain a conversational tone.
- Periodically look at your audience.
This usually sounds mechanical and is seldom uses or recommended. If you choose to memorize:
- keep it short
- add expression in your voice
How you deliver your speech is important as an audience may refuse to listen to your message at all if you do not use an effective presentation method given your purpose, audience, and context. The good news is that this skill can be learned. With practice, speaking effectively before an audience gets easier and more personally satisfying as you get back the energy generated by your speech from the audience.