1. You should always start your speech with a joke (T/F)
  2. What makes a speech believable are the words you say (T/F)
  3. Before writing a speech, it’s important that you choose a specific purpose (T/F)
  4. Gestures should be deliberate and purposeful (T/F)
  5. Speaking at a fast rate will hold an audience’s attention (T/F)
  6. Slow, deep breathing is an effective way to calm a speaker’s nervousness (T/F)
  7. Toastmasters Clubs provide great opportunities to develop speaking skills (T/F)
  8. Singing is an excellent way to develop the quality of one’s voice (T/F)
  9. A public speaker should focus on impressing the audience (T/F)
  10. Effective public speaking is a learned skill (T/F)
Answer the above questions first, and then scroll down to see the answers!

Our first FREE seminar for the year was held on March 3 on How to Shine at Job Interviews. Twelve eager participants soaked it up and I we had fun learning together! The next free seminar will be held in June. Watch out for an announcement in next month’s newsletter!

  1. F
  2. F
  3. T
  4. T
  5. F
  6. T
  7. T
  8. T
  9. F
  10. T
10 correct answers: People run to you to hear you speak.
0 correct answers: People run from you when you speak.
If you scored less than 10, consider joining the Diamonds Club!
If you scored 10, consider joining the Diamonds Club to see what else you can learn!


Four Easy Steps to Write the Body of Your Speech

Last month we discussed a natural way (sequence) to plan out your speech. I mentioned that while a speech has an opening, a body, and a conclusion, the first part that you write is the body of the speech. Once the body is in place, you can figure out an effective closing and an introduction.


So how do you write the body of the speech? Have you ever had the experience of staring at a blank sheet of paper, waiting for inspiration to hit you so that you can write something meaningful … and waiting, and waiting, and waiting? Would you be interested in a way to overcome that writer’s block? If so, read on and learn my four- step blockbuster approach!


Step 1: Narrow the topic.

Step 2: Brainstorm

Step 3: Research

Step 4: Organize


Narrow the topic: One of the reasons that we sometimes get writer’s block is that thinking about the topic overwhelms us. There is so much to cover, so much to know. This is an instance where the maxim, “Less is more,” applies. Look at the central idea of your presentation. As you may recall from last month’s newsletter, the central idea is the essence of your message, boiled down to a single sentence or phrase. The body of your speech will be built around that. For example, if your topic is “The Battle of Gettysburg,” and you chose as your central idea: “Failing to take Kulp’s Hill doomed Lee’s Army,” the body of your talk should be centered around Kulp’s Hill, it’s significance, and the domino effect of not seeing its control as a strategic necessity. It would be a mistake to try to cover the whole battle in detail, and especially to try to cover the whole Civil War. When you narrow the topic, it’s easier to focus on the essentials.


Brainstorm: Before you do any actual writing, brainstorm. You will be surprised at how much you know about the topic and/or original ideas you come up with. What I do is create a brain storming mind map. I sit down with a blank piece of paper, draw a small oval in the center of the page, write my speech topic in the center of the oval, and then, for every main idea, I draw a main branch (or spoke) off the oval and enter the key words for that idea. Any ideas/topics associated with that main branch are entered as sub-branches, with those ideas written on that sub-branch as key words. Don’t write whole sentences – just the key words. If I have an idea off that sub-branch, it then goes as a sub-sub-branch, again with just the key words entered. You will find a description of how to create a mind map in my article, Mind Mapping – How to Unlock Your Creative Genius. If you get any mental blocks, you can kick start your thinking by considering categories of topics. Examples of categories are: Adventure & Adversaries; Birth & Bounty; Challenge & Change; Dreams and Destiny; Experiences & Events; Fun & Fantasy; Guts & Glory; Humor & History; Inspiration & Insights, etc. Seeing one of these categories might get your mind going again, revitalized with new ideas.


As you do the brainstorming, you will think of specific details you don’t know. For example, the year that something historic happened, the name of a person whose quote you want to cite, and so forth. Write those questions down, because after you’ve brainstormed you will go to the next step, which is research.


Research that is targeted: This research is targeted at finding out specific details that your brainstorming unearthed as important. If time is tight for you, resist the temptation to do broad research. Targeted research saves you time by focusing your research only in the areas that are needed to flesh out your presentation.


Organize/Outline Your Presentation: Now look at the results of your brainstorming and targeted research and organize your main points and sub-points into a cohesive whole. I find this easiest to do in the form of a mind map. You can use a more conventional outline form. The key is that now you have the framework for the body of your speech. If you need a manuscript, you could sit at your computer with the outline by you, and quickly type the body of the speech.


Keep in mind that the body of your speech is about 85% of the content of the talk. For a 10-minute talk, that is 8.5 minutes. Keeping the time constraints in mind will cause you to be realistic about how much material you want to use in the body of the talk.


There you have my four-step NBRO system for writing the body of your speech or presentation. Next month, we will unravel the secrets of how to conclude a speech.


If you found this newsletter helpful and would like more in-depth information directly from me, come join the Diamonds Club. Here is what you get from the Diamonds Club:


As a member, you will receive:

  • A weekly video training session on how you can become a more competent and confident public speaker. This will run from 8-12 minutes and you can play it as many times as you want to extract the maximum learning from it.
  • Free quarterly webinars, which will go into depth on public speaking skills as well as special communication topics that will help you reach ever-higher levels of knowledge and competence.
  • Receive an evaluation of your upcoming speech. Submit a video clip or script of a speech you are preparing to give. Receive expert feedback that will inform you about what you are doing well and receive practical tips on how to improve your presentation.
  • A Q & A Forum where you can submit your questions about public speaking and communication. Learn from the answers, not just to your questions, but also answers to questions posed by others.

You can hurdle time and money obstacles because for a low monthly fee, you can access all of the above 24/7! For more details and to sign up, click here.


Dr. Dilip Abayasekara
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Upcoming Events

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March 26:
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March 29:
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March 30:
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April 06:
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April 12:
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April 22:
Keynote, Toastmasters D60, Canada

April 23:
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April 27:
Speech Coaching (Executive)

April 29:
Worship Leader, Camp Hill UMC

April 30:
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Quote to Think About


“When any master holds ‘twixt chin and hand a violin of mine, he will be glad that Stradivari lived, made violins and made them of the best…if my hand slipped I should rob God…since he is the fullest good…but he could not maker Antonio Stradivari’s violins without Antonio.”

-- Antonio Stradivari – Make of the finest violins ever known

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