What is the Right Style of Speech for You?
You’ve been asked to make a speech, but the only problem is, you’re not quite sure what sort of thing you’ll feel comfortable writing – never mind actually having to deliver on the day. Should you try to be funny, or serious; light-hearted or more formal?
The more you think about it, the harder it gets to decide - and staring at a blank sheet of paper desperately trying to think of something 'clever' to say only makes things worse.
It can sometimes seem an almost impossible task, but relax – help is at hand.
Try our quick quiz and find out what style of speech is the natural choice for you.
1. You’re getting started jotting some down ideas for a speech.Which of these is most likely to come to mind first?
- a) A great quote.
- b) A good story.
- c) A really funny joke.
2. An hour later, what would the page in front of you look like?
- a) An orderly set of points, arranged under a number of headings.
- b) A crazy spider-diagram, with words in circles and wild lines everywhere.
- c) A series of unrelated doodles, with a few apparently random words thrown in.
3. Who is your favourite fictional detective?
- a) Sherlock Holmes
- b) Inspector Morse
- c) Inspector Clouseau
4. Can you tell a joke?
- a) Well, yes, if I must.
- b) Yes and it usually gets a laugh.
- c) Yes – I always get a laugh.
5. If you had to read something aloud to a group of adults...would you pick something:
- a) From King Lear or The Canterbury Tales?
- b) From Jurassic Park or Pride and Prejudice?
- c) From the script of Monty Python or Little Britain?
6. What do you think is the most important aspect...of a wedding speech?
- a) Thanking the appropriate people.
- b) Contributing to the couple’s big day.
- c) Making sure all the guests have an enjoyable time.
7. What do you think is the most important aspect of a eulogy?
- a) Accurately reflecting the life of the deceased.
- b) Supporting the bereaved.
- c) Lightening the load for those who mourn.
8. What do you think is the most important...aspect of a prize acceptance speech?
- a) Making sure everyone’s contribution is recognised.
- b) Paying tribute to all the hard work that made it possible.
- c) Making the event go with a swing.
9. Starting with the most important first, a good speech should have:
- a) Clarity, empathy, humour.
- b) Empathy, humour, clarity.
- c) Humour, empathy, clarity.
10. Finally, if you could meet any historical or fictional character who would it be?
- a) A great historical achiever, such as Winston Churchill or Madam Curie
- b) A fictional character, such as Professor McGonagall or Mr Darcy
- c) An old-time entertainer, such as Charlie Chaplain or Sarah Bernhardt
ResultsMostly (a)s – A Formal Edge.
You’ll probably find that your best speeches are most likely to be the ones that follow a more structured approach, as this seems to fit the way you naturally tend to think. A ‘formal’ style certainly doesn’t mean you’re a stiff or boring speaker – it simply gives you a handy framework for what you want to say – and many of the world’s greatest speeches have been written this way, because it can be so effective.
Mostly (b)s – The Personal Approach.
You understand what makes people tick and you have an instinctive empathy with your audience, which makes you a naturally informal and friendly kind of speaker. A personal style – with stories and your own experiences and observations thrown in – will produce the sort of speech that plays to your particular strengths.
Mostly (c)s – The Humorous Speech
You seem to go along with the old saying about laughter being the best medicine and with your sense of fun, you’re well equipped to prove it! A naturally humorous kind of speaker, you realise that knock-about comedy isn’t appropriate for every occasion, but you can still make your speech upbeat and uplifting, even when giggles would be out of place.
Whether you’re a formal, personal or humorous kind of a speaker – plan your speech well, rehearse it thoroughly and then, most of all, enjoy delivering your speech!