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Tips for great speeches - Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversary, Retirements...

1. Preparation. Prepare your speech well. Spend a little time thinking of what you are going to say and the kind of audience you are going to address. Churchill often said that it only took him 10 minutes to prepare a two-hour speech, but it took him all of two hours to prepare a 10 minute one.

2. Good Opening and Ending. The first and last sections of your speech are crucial. Give them a little extra thought, perhaps even writing out your opening and closing lines and learning them off. A humorous opening will get your audience's attention right away, eg, "As Henry V111 said to each of his wives in turn, 'I won't keep you very long,'" or "A good speech, they say, should be like a mini-skirt, short enough to be interesting, and long enough to cover the essentials.

3. Body of Speech. Your speech should be structured. Write out the points you want to make in a sequence, one after the other, so that one point leads into the next.

4. Quotes. Pepper your speech with quotes. This will add power to what you say.

5. Humor. Use appropriate humor/joke/funny story to get your audience with you. When you hear them laughing they are paying attention to you and your message.

6. Eye contact. It is very important to maintain eye contact with your audience, panning back and forth across the width of the room so that you appear to be speaking to everyone directly.

7. Notes. Use cue cards with key words and phrases written on them, glancing at them every now and again to remind you of the next point. That way you will be able to maintain the all-important eye contact with your audience. Avoid reading the entire speech from a script.

8. Smile. Be sincere, avoiding over-statement or exaggered flattery if the speech is in praise of someone, and most important, smile.

*You will find our large resource of funny quotations, jokes and stories on useful in composing your speech - feel free to use them at will!!

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