This speech should have all the ingredients of a complete speech – purpose, clarity, color, facts and action – with the accent on instruction and teaching.
Instruct means “to impart knowledge, to teach, to inform, to furnish with direction.” Educate, teach, describe – but make it plain and simple, easy to understand.
Bring out detail in logically organized continuity. Give complete understanding to your audience of the subject you choose. Present your subject so clearly that your hearers will be able to instruct others in the same subject.
Some speakers go to great lengths to show off their intelligence. Some may unwittingly use large, cumbersome words that hide the meaning and give you the feeling that you can never understand this particular subject. To avoid that, you must make your point as plain in the mind of your listener as it is in your mind.
Choose a subject that will edify, profit and benefit the other club members. Be sure they can use the information you give them. Be practical. Prepare thoroughly.
Have three or four main points, but be sure they all refer to the one main purpose you want to instill in your listeners.
Be basic. Assume your audience knows nothing about your subject. Don’t just tell them the conclusion, but methodically and precisely explain each step that leads to your conclusion.
Repetition is the best form of emphasis. As you present each point, show its clear relationship to your main purpose. Never let the audience forget the theme and purpose of your message.
There are three main parts to a good instructive speech:
- Tell them what you are going to tell them.
- Tell them.
- Then, tell them what you told them.
Choose illustrations, real-life examples or use a prop – a map, a diagram, a picture, an object – that will make your points simple to understand and to remember. Be sure these relate directly to the subject. Be sure they fit – that they do not distract or mislead.
Make simplicity your guide-word. Ask yourself concerning each point: Is this point necessary? Is it in the right order? Will everyone understand this? Is there a simpler way to say it? Is it plain?
Knowing that you have a subject that will be profitable and useful, speak with that conviction. Make no apology for being basic or taking up time with something your audience may already know – review never hurt anyone. Press your point home with relentless, simple logic. But be enthusiastic. Show your audience that your subject is important. Show them how they can use it.
To the Evaluator
Instruct this speaker on how to overcome a speech weakness. Be sure you know the instructions that were given on how to give this speech. Did the speaker successfully follow these instructions? Make your comments useful.
Here is a real challenge for your ability to influence, exhort and benefit people by your speaking. This is more than just a “Stir to Action” type of speech. Now you need to enliven, animate, impel your audience. Stimulate and put into their minds a solid truth that lifts them with hope. Fill your listeners with the same zeal you feel – leave them in an uplifted, positive attitude.
To inspire others, you must be inspired yourself. When Elihu, moved by Job’s suffering and by the vain attempts of others to relieve that suffering, finally spoke to Job, he was completely filled with his subject: “For I am full of things to say, and my mind urges me to speech. My mind is like wine bottled up, ready to burst out, like new bottles. I must relieve myself by speaking, I must emit my answer” (Job 32:18-20, Moffatt).
Read this outstanding example through chapter 37. This passage is a fitting introduction to God’s own words to Job – the only speech that finally inspired Job to recognize his sin and turn to God in repentance and hope.
Make prayer a major part of your preparation. Ask God to fulfill to you personally the promise he made in Psalm 81:10: “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Ask him to inspire you so you can inspire others.
Tell about overcoming – a story with a happy ending and a good moral. Convince the audience that they can share this goodness.
Extol God’s creation and show our part in it. Show God’s glory, mercy, love, power, faithfulness. The Bible is full of this. Speak of God’s works and his miracles. Nothing could be more inspiring to God’s people.
The thing that inspires us from day to day is the realization that we are in God’s kingdom, that we have been given eternal life, and it will get better and better for all eternity! This is the ultimate in happy endings, the glory that is not to be compared with the present sufferings – the glory that inspires us not only to endure but to be joyful in the trials that prepare us for it.
Hold out hope. Make it appealing, irresistible. Lift up the hearts and heads of your audience – make them see the worthwhile, the fine, the good, the true, the joyful, the pure, the attractive, the wholesome.
Launch into your subject with color and life, with a spark of confident joy in your eye. Smile. Be more than friendly – exude enthusiasm and and a positive attitude.
Certainly you have forgotten yourself by now. Your only interest is to inspire others.
To the Evaluator
Look for the good points, the present and potential growth of this speaker. Show him this positive side without ignoring possible weaknesses. Inspire him to continue improving on these strong points. Offer any needed encouragement to work on weak points.
This speech offers a more real-life situation than many others. This speech is designed to make you think on your feet. A person’s real character is often displayed in the response given to the pressure of sudden necessity.
You will be called on many times to speak “off the cuff.” These times may decide whether you are going to carry on as an effective speaker or stagnate where you are.
Actually, most of your speaking is impromptu. Impromptu means offhand, without preparation – and daily conversation is almost entirely spontaneous. Being able to speak impromptu on any given subject makes a good conversationalist. People who always have something interesting to say about every topic are a benefit to others and a welcome addition to any group.
This speech lesson is designed to teach you certain principles that will enable you always to be prepared. There is no limit to the number of times you can use this lesson. It may be used in emergencies, when regularly assigned speakers are not present. You should request it until you know you are competent to deliver thoughtful, purposeful, factual, colorful, well-organized and stirring comments on impromptu topics.
Perhaps this impromptu, more than any other speech, will show you how much you have learned and how far you have come in improving your speaking ability. You will probably be pleasantly surprised!
Although “impromptu” suggests a lack of preparation, your entire life is actually preparation for what you will say in this speech. Your mind must always be open for new ideas, new topics, new subjects that you want to bring the other club members. Keep your mind active, thinking, questioning, investigating. Be speech-conscious. Snap up any subject that stirs your interest at the time it stirs your interest.
Always have paper and pencil handy so you can jot down ideas and bits of information from newspapers, magazines, radio and television and daily conversation. Use the back of an envelope if nothing else is handy! When a particular subject strikes your imagination, gather more information. Put that information together in logical sequence in a speech outline.
Even if you never use a particular subject, the preparation will educate you to organize information in a logical way.
When your turn to deliver this impromptu speech comes, the toastmaster will introduce you and give you your topic – the title of your speech. You will know what you are going to talk on at the same time your audience does. This topic will have been chosen by the overall evaluator, the president or the toastmaster as a topic that suits your needs and talents.
Here are five basic patterns that can help you get the organization of the speech in mind as you walk to the lectern. One of these will probably be suitable as a framework for whatever topic you may be given:
1) Past, present, future: Your topic might be “Science and Faith.” You could begin speaking about the situation in the past, showing how science has affected faith in the past. This would bring you naturally to a description of the present state of affairs, which would lead you to your conclusion – commenting on the possibilities of the future. Just by having the basic pattern of “past, present, future” in mind, you have instant organization. You know where to begin, and you have an organized pattern to fit in the other thoughts that come to mind.
2) Physical and spiritual: Here you can use an analogy.
3) Point, reason, proof: The subject may be “We Need More Sleep.” Begin by making a strong and enthusiastic statement of the point. Go on to show three or four main reasons why the statement is true. Also add proof to each. Summarize your points for a conclusion.
4) Problem, cause, solution: A subject like “Why Juvenile Delinquency?” would be the type you would use this for. Begin with a description of the problem. Next, show the causes. Conclude with a solution.
5) Advantages, disadvantages. An analysis of the points in favor, and against, a particular course of action, followed by an analysis of which has the more weight.
Each of these basic patterns sets your organization, gets you started at the right place and keeps you aimed toward a logical conclusion.
To the Evaluator
Give your spontaneous reaction to the speaker’s speaking ability. Watch the gestures, vocabulary, enthusiasm, purpose, drive and effectiveness.
You have been giving speeches before the members of your club for a year or more . They have seen you under many different circumstances. You know by now that they are all for you. You have probably already served in one or more offices in the club.
Now is the time for you to tear down any remaining barriers that may still exist between you and the rest of the club. Be honest. Open your heart.
Speak on a subject so close to you that it will reveal your innermost feelings. Let the other club members know the real you. A Guest Night would not be a good time for this speech, because it should be without any inhibitions.
This is not a public listing of your sins, though it may be a good self-examination in front of others – letting them know what makes you tick. It is designed to bring you closer to your audience, to do away with pretense, to dissolve self-centered worries and fears.
Place your problems, fears, ambitions, goals – good and bad feelings – before your equals in Christ. Use your own experience as an example. Explain why you are the way you are – tell what you think about – what your deep, inner feelings about some heartfelt subject or about your own self are.
Compile your notes for this speech prayerfully, on your knees. Don’t be too preoccupied about perfect organization or getting any particular pet point across. Drop concern about a climactic conclusion, forget gestures, disregard vocal variety and other speech factors and concentrate on utter sincerity – on a deep, vivid, open, candid talk.
Directly ask God’s help, and as points come to you, write them down. You probably won’t need them when you give the speech if you prepare thoroughly. Always remember the grace given to us in Jesus Christ, and that this always provides the proper context for our innermost feelings.
Remember this is to be sober, straightforward, even blunt. Don’t talk about someone else. If another person must be brought into this speech, the person should remain anonymous. Don’t give a “Heart to Heart” talk about your mate, relatives or friends – even if you don’t mention any names, everyone will know who you are talking about. Take caution even in what you say about yourself. Maintain control. Don’t say something you’ll be sorry for later. Avoid any extreme – but be sure there is plenty of proper emotion.
Relax. Drop the barriers, the little falsities and any self-centered nervous habits. Just talk. If you want, you may ask for 10 minutes for this speech.
To the Evaluator
Be open, candid and sincere in your evaluation. Be fair, and be merciful. If the heart-to-heart speech has been effective, the speaker will be more vulnerable, receptive and open to your evaluation (Proverbs 17:10). Choose your comments with care and concern. Be heart to heart with your evaluation.
Note to the toastmaster: If there are several Lesson Seven or Lesson Twelve speeches in one evening, see the president about canceling one speaker so you won’t run overtime.