5. Get the Facts
Fact is reality. Fact is truth. Many people claim to have the truth, but few can substantiate their claims. Truth is elusive. We live in an age of confusion, when some question whether there is even such a thing as truth.
Your purpose in this speech will be to be absolutely factual, to know what you are talking about.
"They say" is probably the most common authority quoted. In this speech you must gather source material and summarize to find the crux of the question at hand, and to learn to quote substantial authority to back up the statements you make.
Make the facts live. Don’t just give a dry, statistic-filled speech showing off your knowledge to the third figure after the decimal. The truth can be not only plain but vital and living. First, be sure you find the truth. Second, arrange the facts so they have meaning. Third, give the facts character and make them interesting.
Don’t guess, wonder or think or suggest, dream or ponder – know. Be positive.
This is your opportunity to research a subject you would like to know more about and add to your store of knowledge as well as inform your fellow club members. If you use statistics, beware of using too many, making your subject cold and your audience colder. Research and digest a great number of facts, but when you give them to your audience, be sure that they are few and telling.
Dig up some little-known facts from an authority on some common subject of interest. Or put well-known facts together in a unique way and support your point with a quote from a well-known authority.
God has given us the spirit of a sound mind. Use this sound mind in gathering your material, and appeal to the sound mind and reasoning of your audience.
Make this the most logical speech you have ever given and fill it with proof, proof, proof. Back your audience into a corner and by your well-organized body of evidence show plainly and factually that there is but one conclusion to draw.
"Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh," Solomon observes in Ecclesiastes 12:12. Books, and now the internet, hold an inexhaustible supply of information, and what you should learn from this speech is how to extract accurate information from them. Dig out the facts about your subject and present them with clarity and logic.
Libraries are warehouses full of facts. Daily newspapers and magazine articles flood you with facts. But use quality authoritative sources. Remember, everything that is in print, or on the internet, is not necessarily accurate.
Once you have made these facts so much a part of you that you don’t hesitate in your delivery, you are ready to begin. Stand and speak boldly to your audience, realizing you have vital information that is going to help them. Don’t apologize for your subject or your sources of information. Just be sincere, straightforward and factual. Show why your main point is true.
Even though you may need more notes with this type of speech, remember to keep them at a minimum so you will always have audience contact – for if you gain all the facts but lose your audience, where will your speech be?
To the Evaluator
Be sure your evaluation is based on the facts and principles of basic speech. Look for an organized, thoughtful presentation of the truth.
A speech may be clear, colorful and factual, but if it does not stir to some sort of action it is not useful. Knowledge is of no value except as it is put to use. So it is that a speech is of no value unless it is purposeful and stirs to action - not necessarily right away, but possibly at some future time.
In this speech you are to present your facts in such a way that by the conclusion of the speech your audience is ready to do what you suggest. Appeal to them and show that just listening is not enough. Drive them to the effort of accomplishment.
Have in mind the response you want from your audience and lead them to it with increased fervor, so that when you reach your climax they will want with all their heart to do what you request.
The purposes of your past speeches will serve you well in this speech. The purpose, clarity and color with which you put the facts together will determine the action you encourage.
You might need to plead in earnestness with your audience. Use sentiment and pathos. Don’t fear proper emotion. If tears come to your eyes and you’re not just putting on a show, let those tears flow.
An exhortative appeal would perhaps be the best subject to choose for this speech. Show that something is not right, show why it is not right and solicit your audience’s effort to correct the situation. Give your audience something positive and concrete and simple to perform. Show them step-by-step what they need to do.
Make this a positive request. Stress throughout your talk that what you are asking can be accomplished. Show the reward that will come from their taking action as you request. As a basic principle, however, it is not wise to request your audience to perform something you are not already doing yourself, lest they reply, "Practice what you preach."
Do not appeal to the vanity of your audience by showing them that your suggestion is popular, but rather appeal to their desire to develop Christian character by doing what is right, good and upbuilding. And show them how doing what is right will produce pleasant results in the long run.
Spend a good deal of your time for the preparation of this speech in prayer. A responsibility rests on your shoulders every time you ask someone else to do something. Ask God to guide and help you help your fellow members in the true Christian spirit of love. It would be good to go over your speech in prayer even after you have written the notes. Stir your audience to positive personal growth.
The fewer notes you use in this speech, the better, because your audience must be convinced that you are convinced. Let this speech flow out of your innermost being as a river of living water. Be sure that the great part of this speech is in your heart, and the notes you have are only to prompt the words from your heart.
Don’t give your audience a "chewing out." Don’t be angry at them or accuse them. Just plead with them earnestly to accomplish an action that would benefit them. Stress the positive. Don’t be fearful, but be keyed up, straining at the bit to reach the audience with your dynamic message. Try more than ever for mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart audience contact.
To the Evaluator
Explain your reaction to the speech as colorfully and as clearly as you can, and with love. Stir this speaker to action to correct his or her main weaknesses.
This speech will be a finished product – a polished, well-rounded, complete speech. It must be thorough, well-filled and purposeful. This will be your first real speech! You have learned all the basic parts of a speech. This will be your opportunity to put them all together and produce a mature, full-blown presentation.
The aim is to have all of the purpose, clarity, color and facts that were aims of the previous speech lessons. This "complete speech" will stir to action and give you and those who hear you a sense of accomplishment at its conclusion. This will be a sort of graduation speech, a commencement, because from here on out you will be giving complete speeches.
Spend real effort on this speech. Review all the evaluations you have received – the strong and the weak points. Determine to round off those rough edges: nervous gestures that may have become habits, embarrassing hesitations where you lose your train of thought and the "and-uhs" that crop up as fillers.
Watch for details. Don’t let little grammatical errors mar an otherwise effective delivery. Look carefully at your clothing: See that everything is straight, in place and properly buttoned before you get up to speak. Be meticulous.
See to it that your notes are inconspicuous but complete. Watch organization carefully. Have each point neatly fitted to the next and securely joined to the whole. Don’t let your punch line come too soon or too late.
Choose a title carefully. Be sure it expresses the feeling and meaning of what you intend. A thoughtfully selected title can be the capstone of success. The more succinct the title, the better. This prepares the mind of your audience to listen to your subject.
Select your best speaking style. Humor may be your best tool. Or maybe the use of an analogy to make your point. Just friendly conversation, expanded, may be your style. Perhaps a "How-to" speech is your strength. Use your best to do your best. Capitalize on your good points.
Ask your toastmaster for additional time, perhaps eight or 10 minutes, if you feel you need it for this speech. Knowing you have a little longer to bring out your topic may loosen you up a little and take away some of the tension brought on by a shorter time.
In giving this polished, well-rounded speech, beware that you do not become so sophisticated and suave in your delivery that you give the air of a well-greased con artist. Avoid being so letter-perfect that you lack sincerity.
Spend time in prayer, asking God’s guidance and help. No one is as complete and thorough as your Creator, and he can help you develop this attribute.
When you believe you are ready to deliver your speech, read this lesson again. Double-check, review and be circumspect in every point.
During the intermission make a last-minute check of your notes and clothing, choose a seat convenient to the speaker’s stand, relax and forget about the whole thing until you are introduced. Then draw on all you have learned so far in club to give it all you have to give!
To the Evaluator
Be thorough and complete, but don’t just pick on the speaker so you will sound like you are an astute evaluator. Remember that each point you bring out must edify and build – be helpful and profitable to the speaker and to the audience. If the speaker has not mastered certain points, suggest that the appropriate speech lesson be reviewed, and the "complete speech" given again until those points are mastered.
This speech is designed to develop your ability to communicate strong feelings such as anger, indignation, determination and compassion. It involves expressing these feelings, using logic and self-control, in a presentation that will command your audience’s attention and move them to feel the same way you do about your subject.
Western society conditions many of us to suppress our feelings and convictions. If you are the kind of person who tends to hide your emotions, then this is the lesson where you can learn how to express those feelings in balance and effective focus. You will present a subject on which you have powerful, sincere, persuasive ideas. You will explode with irrepressible power and energy, using sound reasoning and proof to make your point.
But remember that this speech is not just a show or an act. You can’t "work up" anger or sorrow or shock or hatred about a subject. You must really feel it, or your insincerity will show and your credibility will be reduced.
So you must choose a subject that, against your every attempt to forget it or ignore it, constantly weighs on your mind – and in this world you ought to see plenty of such subjects from which to choose.
The subject you choose will be of primary importance. Your ideas must be clear and tightly focused, and you must feel so strongly about the subject that you cannot help but do what Isaiah 58:1 says: "Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet."
For example, you may decide to speak on the evil of drug abuse. But don’t just speak against drugs in general. Choose one facet of drug abuse that especially stirs your feelings – maybe "Drug Pushers in Schools." Be specific and basic. Get hold of the real issue and don’t let go of it. Bare it to the audience and make them see how corrupt and evil it is with all the feeling in your innermost being. Remember, of course, to deal with actions and circumstances, not people and personalities.
Or you may decide to let your feelings show about some subject that overwhelms you with sorrow – the plight of children in underdeveloped countries would be an example. Ezekiel 9:4 tells us that God places a special mark on those who "sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done" in this world. Start out strongly and build to a crescendo about why the situation is contrary to God’s instructions, why the situation must be changed. Don’t be afraid to let go – but be sure at all times that you are using controlled emotion.
Perhaps you feel strongly about some positive action that must be taken – for instance, "We Must Protect Our Natural Resources." Come to close quarters with your subject and convince the audience that there is no other logical way to think about your subject than the course of action you are presenting. Use forceful language and a serious tone of voice, along with positive proof.
Forget about yourself when you get up to speak. Hone in on your subject and transfer to your audience the intense feelings inside you.
Use colorful, real-life illustrations as examples. One carefully chosen instance from a person’s life can be more effective than a whole list of cold statistics. Make sure you present the truth – don’t just make up an example or take one out of context to make your point. Then nail the subject down with as many facts and statistics as you need to show the nature of the issue or problem.
If you read something during your speech – a clipping from a newspaper or magazine can be effective – make the selection short and powerful. Beware of relying too much on written material. You must get your point across, most of all, by your energetic, well-prepared presentation, based on your inner feelings. And you will want to make the most of eye contact – you can’t do that if you read a lot.
Voice control will be important, too. Speak firmly and, if necessary, loudly. Don’t be sarcastic. Don’t plead. Don’t whine. Don’t poke fun at tragic situations. Instead, speak with determination, control, compassion and concern. Use your voice as a persuasive tool just as much as you use research material, speech organization and logical analysis.
To the Evaluator
Stress the positive ways in which this speaker used emotion. Analyze the effect of the speech on the audience. Look for proof and controlled strength, sincerity and deep, personal feelings. Concentrate intensely and show the speaker how to improve.