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Public Speaking Skills: How Much Time To Prepare for A Speech

Public Speaking Skills: How Much Time To Prepare for A Speech 


Don’t you just hate the mad scramble for getting ready for a presentation?  You can avoid that scramble.  The top professionals – the top pros –do.  Here are their secrets:

How much time to prepare for a speech?

  • Start right away.  Even if you book the speaking engagement or presentation a year in advance, start then.
  • Then you scan your media world for great articles related to your subject, quotes that work, and especially a strong grabber or opener.
  • The worst thing is to sit down to write your speech or presentation and not have enough materials.
  • This pre-preparation stage takes little or no time, just attention.  Keep your eyes and ears open for potential contributions to the speech.
  • The intensive period of writing and rehearsal should begin at least three weeks before the speech date.
  • The speech preparation process requires blocks of uninterrupted time.
    • While writing, you don’t want every great thought to be interrupted by phone calls or visitors.
    • While rehearsing, you won’t be able to work on your timing and pacing unless you can run through the entire speech.
    • You might want to start writing the speech at night or on the weekend.
    • Block off a total of about five to 10 hours, preferably in one- or two-hour blocks to work on the first draft.
    • Plan to spend two to five hours revising the speech.
    • Then plan on at least two or three rehearsals (20 to 30  minutes each for a  20-minute speech).
    • Put this on your calendar so you can be sure you have enough time.
    • Keep track of how much time it actually takes you to prepare your speech.
      • Maybe you can create the speech in less time than suggested here, or maybe you need to allow for more time.  If the speech is very important, you will want to spend extra time getting it just right.

Next time will be how long to make your first draft of your presentation. You don’t have to be blind again for your next speech!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Rerun from 08/28/2013 and 10/12/2016

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