28Giving a Good Speech in English

by Danny K. Howard, EAP Associate Director

More than 95% of our new students have never given a speech in English or Japanese. However, students give speeches many times in their year at NIC. Many students always ask me, “Danny, how can I give a good speech?” So I thought this would be a good topic for students to learn about in the Study Tips.

Basically, there are 4 steps to giving a great speech!

Step 1: Choose a Great Topic!

Think about your audience
Many times at NIC students can choose their speech topic. However, sometimes they choose a topic that only they are interested in. Instead, students should choose topics that everyone might be interested in. You can even ask your classmates & teacher if your topic seems interesting before you decide. 

Narrow your topic
This means choose a specific topic. For example, look at these topics. Which ones are bad and which ones are good?

Well, none of them are really very good. Look below at some ways to make them better...

Change...

U.S. Presidents
The Life and Death of JFK
Cherry Blossoms
How to Have a Hanami in Shinjuku
How to Study
How to Become a Faster Reader
The Olympics
The 1998 Nagano Olympics
Hollywood Movies
How Hollywood Became Famous for Movies

As you can see, the topics became more specific and more interesting.

Step 2: Prepare the Speech

A Conclusion
Summarize your main points. In other words, repeat the main information that you taught your audience.

*Also try to create some posters or visuals for your speech. For example, if you are speaking about the 1998 Nagano Olympics, show some photos of some of its great moments. Never choose visual with too many words on them!!

Step 3: Practice GAVE (Gestures, Appearance, Voice, & Eye Contact)

Gestures are hand movements. Try to use your hands to express ideas that you are saying. Try to use natural movements.

Appearance is importance. You should stand straight but not look stiff. You should smile and look confident.

Voice is important to make your speech interesting. You should begin at 150% volume (because it will naturally go down as you speak). Also stress important words, s-t-r-e-t-c-h adjectives, and pause...to show really important points.

Example: 

Eye Contact should go around the room like this.

Step 4: Practice

  • Practice giving your speech in front of a mirror. If you are lucky, give your speech to a friend who speaks English.
  • Record your voice and listen to it. Listen for the voice points (above).
  • This step is never done enough by students, but it is the most important one.

At NIC and abroad, you WILL give speeches in front of an audience many times! These speeches will also be important to your grades in our Note-taking & Discussion classes. You will have some practice doing this if you decide to join NIC’s Summer or Head Start programs.

Good luck!!