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What Are The Principles Of Good Speech?

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Matthew Porter answered
Greg Yates and Shirley Yates of the University of South Australia have outlined 10 simple principles of good and clear speech. These are:

• Command attention verbally and non-verbally
As well as words, gestures and body language are important in conveying your point. Your position in a room and eye contact are important factors in holding attention.

• Provide overview and timing cues
Let the audience know how long you plan to speak - this will make them more likely to pay attention throughout. If you are giving a long speech, break it up with summaries or question and answer sessions.

• Use simple language
A listener can only understand new information if it is conveyed in a manner that is familiar to them.

• Repeat key points
The subtle and deliberate repetition of key points makes sure that key ideas stick in the minds of the audience.

• Rule-example-rule procedure
Reinforcing a rule or piece of information with an example, particularly when teaching, is an effective way of ensuring understanding.

• Use linking signals
Words like 'because', 'therefore' or 'this is consistent with' emphasize to the audience that the points you are making are linked and form a wider understanding.

• Metaphor and analogy
The use of metaphor and analogy is proven to promote memory and understanding because they take advantage of prior knowledge.

• Avoid vagueness
Vague phrases like 'a good deal' or 'not everybody wants this' do not help improve understanding and can lead to confusion.

• Avoid false starts
Speakers often fall into the trap of beginning a sentence and changing thought mid-stream. Again this can confuse the listener and hinder understanding.

• Avoid discontinuity
Speeches are often interrupted and confused by irrelevant interludes and time-wasting. It is important to stick to an efficient and simple structure.

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