Not all that difficult to speak to big crowds

Sowetan Reporter

Sowetan Reporter

Butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, a racing heart . is this how you feel when you make a speech?

Most pupils entering the yearly Anglo American and Sowetan Young Communicators Awards feel this way - until they attend the Model United Nations South Africa (Munsa) introductory workshops, which precede provincial eliminations. Senior provincial education department officials serve as coordinators.

Pranill Ramchander, Anglo American's media relations and external communications manager, offers tips for making the perfect speech:

l Plan early: begin writing as early as you can. Have a plan - decide on the objectives and outcomes of your speech;

l Research the topic: know your subject. Thorough research results in a speech that is credible and interesting to listen to. Knowing your subject well also increases your confidence;

l Your speech is about you: put your own spin on what you have researched by thinking about how it affects you and what your own opinions are. Include personal stories or metaphors. Your audience will get to know you better, which will increase their interest in what you say;

l Assess the audience: the tone and content of any speech depends on the audience. A younger audience may require a shorter speech or one including humour. An older audience may require a speech with more factual data. An audience close to your age will understand cultural references you include whereas an older audience may not;

l Put pen to paper: make notes while planning your speech. Write a rough draft first;

l Structure the content: a speech needs a beginning, middle and conclusion so that the main points are combined into a logical sequence. Limit the content to three primary points to ensure that the audience will not get bored or confused;

l Start at the end: the conclusion is usually what the audience remembers most so make sure your conclusion counts. Write the conclusion first and work backwards;

l Keep it simple: complicated words and sentences will confuse your audience. Impress them with the content;

l Humour is not always funny: use humour with caution - a joke you may find funny could offend someone in your audience. It is an excellent tool when you aim to entertain the audience;

l Write for the ear: your audience will listen to your speech, not read it.

Professionals join the Munsa officials in adjudicating the contest. The first winners of the provincial eliminations are Khanyisile Vilakazi, Asanda Masilela and Thandekile Maseko. Vilakazi qualifies for the finals in Johannesburg in June.