delivering Good Speech

What Makes a Good Speech? 7 Qualities to Look Out For

What makes a good speech? An audience knows a quality speech when they hear one. Listeners are struck by the power of a quality speech and are inspired by the speaker’s conviction. Great speakers hold entire auditoriums of people rapt and silent as they orate, leaving all in attendance feeling empowered by their message. But, what exact qualities are utilized by speakers that so engage their audience?

What Makes a Good Speech?

Speech is characterized by the conveyance of words from a figure of a certain authority toward a large audience including meetings, conferences, seminars, or even Presidential orations from the Oval Office. A good speech presents opinions, statistics, and fascinating facts on any subject to a large audience, exuding an air of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and command of a timely and relevant topic.

How have the great orators in history proven themselves to be great speakers? By rising to the occasion, speaking with conviction and power, and utilizing these seven basic skills to deliver their message with maximum impact.

1. Organization

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Delivering a well-organized speech with a clear beginning, middle, and end is a large part of what makes a good speech. By laying the groundwork for an easily digestible and tidily structured speech, speakers enable their audience to follow the path laid out by their words in a manner that will keep them from getting lost or bored. If it helps, create an outline of your presentation in advance and craft the framework for a carefully laid out and effective speech. A great resource for learning how to organize your speech is the book, The Art of Public Speaking by Stephen E. Lucas, which can be purchased on Amazon.


The introduction of a speech serves as the mission statement for all that follows. It is an opportunity to establish that which is to be discussed, establish the style and tone in which the information will be presented, and engage the audience in an efficient manner. By quickly investing the audience, a speaker grabs hold of their attention and leads them through their chosen topic elegantly. Many speakers find it best to use humor as part of their introduction, while some begin their speeches by presenting an immediately engaging fact, grabbing the audience with fascinating information right out of the gate. It is a stylistic decision that is up to the orator, but when wielded correctly, an introduction should grab ahold of listeners and not let them go until the conclusion of the speech.

The Body of the Speech

Here is where the bulk of the information is presented by the orator, usually organized in its own unique manner, laying out a series of facts in such a way that unravels smoothly and naturally like an intriguing story. It is important to keep a structure even in this middle section, utilizing a “bullet point” system to keep information rolling in a coherent and relevant progression. This is the section that makes up the bulk of the speech, and as such, is the most important part of any compelling oration.


This is an opportunity to sum up all the information that has preceded within the speech, wrapping its message up in a logical and satisfying way. By relating the conclusion of their speech to relevant material covered in the body, a master orator completes their speech in a gratifying way that makes sense. Some like to tie the conclusion into a point or story related in the introduction, bringing their speech full circle. Again, this is up to the speaker and is open for interpretation, experimentation, and stylistic flourishes.

2. Establish a Tone

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Different orators use different tones to get their points across to an audience. Some like to add humor to their speeches to keep things light and lively. Some prefer to adopt a more serious and sober tone. When choosing a tone for their speech, the orator must consider the subject matter before settling into one style or another. For example, if a topic is particularly serious, it may not be appropriate to include jokes. Whatever the choice, consideration of the audience is key, as ultimately keeping an audience’s interest is the primary goal of any speech, and, as long as a fresh and appropriate stylistic choice is madein conjunction with compelling material, listeners will be captivated.

3. Stick to a Theme

It is important to pick a theme to the speech and stick with it throughout, to ensure that your audience understands the message you are conveying and that they do not get confused by tangents or asides. Research has proven it is difficult for audiences to remember many details when listening to a speech, so it is vital to start with one main idea and never to stray too far from that course. What do you want the audience to come away understanding or feeling from what you are presenting? Focusing on one theme ensures that your message is not watered down by too many ideas being explored at once. A clear theme is central to capturing what makes a good speech.

4. Be an Authority

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No one likes to hear a speech from someone who comes across as unprepared or not adequately experienced in that which they are discussing. Gain the trust of your audience by exuding confidence in the material and prove to them you are an authority on the subject through your poise and command of the information. It is natural to be nervous or anxious in front of a large group of people, but having confidence in your message is important to keep your audience’s attention.

While by no means a steadfast rule, many find that using visible notes can distract from the lecturer’s speech, and can paint a portrait of being unprepared with the material. If possible, try to use the notes as little as possible or even not at all, and try to keep them out of sight, perhaps on a podium if it is present. By coming across as having the material solid in their own mind, a public speaker assumes the role of an authoritative figure upon the subject and gains an advantage.

Control Your Voice

Be aware of the speed and volume at which you speak. Many beginning public speakers either speak too quickly or too quietly and lose their audience to these distracting tendencies. Part of having confidence and being an authority on your subject is maintaining your composure and speaking with clarity. Enunciate your words in a measured beat, speak in a loud and crisp voice, and don’t forget to breathe. Captivating your audience with the power of your delivery is another important factor in what makes a good speech.

5. Be Concise

It is a chore to listen to a speech that goes on too long. Be efficient and expedient with your words and don’t allow yourself to go on for too long. It is easy to get carried away, so, before your speech, create an outline of what you plan on talking about and edit out anything that strikes you as extraneous or off-topic. Many beginning public speakers make the mistake of believing more content is better than less when the quality of content will stick with audiences the most. Get to the point, stick to the point, and audiences will appreciate how you have used their time and walk away all the more illuminated about your chosen topic.

6. Focus on Body Language

What Makes a Good Speech
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When we converse, we use our bodies to emphasize our words. It is important as a lecturer to use body languages, such as movements of hands and arms, as it subtly keeps your audience’s attention upon you and allows for deeper and richer engagement. Do not overdo it, however. Too much unnatural body language can distract from your message and will do a disservice to the presentation. Keep your movements light but natural, fluid but not too wild. Body language is a natural tool to connect with your audience, and a relaxed and loose demeanor is key to what makes a good speech.

Eye Contact

It is often said that the eyes are the window into the soul. All successful public speakers establish steady eye contact with their audience, allowing the speech to come across as more conversational and further connecting the speaker with her listeners. Even though nerves may compel a public speaker to be bashful, don’t stare at notes, at your feet, or glance distractedly away. By maintaining eye contact with the audience, it shows that you are paying attention to them just as much as they are paying attention to you and will keep their interest in what you have to say.

7. Encourage Participation

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If an audience feels like they are part of a conversation rather than being talked at, they will respond much more enthusiastically. While it is not necessarily the case that they should actively take part in your speech, it is important that listeners feel they are equals. If the scenario calls for it, encourage questions from your audience and try to engage them in such a manner as they feel involved in the speech almost as much as you are. Not only does it make the speech more fun for all, but it helps to grab their attention and maintain it throughout. A connection with an audience is essential to having your presentation in line with what makes a good speech.

Tips to Give a Good Speech

Here are some tips that can help you make a good speech:

Know your audience: Before you start writing your speech, consider who your audience is and what their interests and concerns are. This will help you tailor your message to them and make sure they stay engaged throughout your presentation.

Start with a clear structure: A clear structure will help you keep your thoughts organized and make it easier for you to deliver your message. Consider starting with an introduction that captures the audience’s attention, followed by the main body of your speech, and ending with a conclusion that ties everything together.

Use strong opening and closing lines: A strong opening line will grab the audience’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your speech. Similarly, a strong closing line will leave a lasting impression on your audience and help them remember your message.

Keep it simple: Avoid using overly complex language or technical terms that your audience may not understand. Instead, use simple language and clear examples to help your message resonate with your audience.

Rehearse: Rehearsing your speech is key to delivering it smoothly and with confidence. Practice makes perfect, so take the time to practice your speech multiple times until you feel comfortable with it.

Engage your audience: Engage your audience by asking questions, using anecdotes, and incorporating humor where appropriate. This will help you keep their attention and make your speech more memorable.

Pay attention to your body language: Your body language can communicate just as much as the words you’re saying, so make sure to use gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions to reinforce your message.

Be yourself: Finally, be yourself and let your personality shine through. Your audience will be more likely to connect with you and your message if you’re confident and genuine.

Final Words

As you have just learned, a speech takes a lot of preparation and knowledge in order to grab the audience the way you would want to. If the parts of your speech are well detailed and put together correctly, half of the battle is done. The other half of the battle has to do with presentation and not what you actually say. Be sure to keep eye contact, body language, and tone at the forefront while delivering your speech, and you will take your audience through your speech with you. You will gain and keep their attention and enthusiasm and be able to share your expertise.

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