What Characteristics Do Good Speeches Have?

Adrian S. Potter
3 min readFeb 18, 2023

Here is my humble answer to an age-old question.

Photo by Diva Plavalaguna: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-sweatshirt-in-front-of-people-6150527/

A newbie in my Toastmasters club recently asked — What characteristics do good speeches have?

They had cracked open a Pandora’s Box. That was a deceptively simple question but one with a layered answer.

A million people would dole out a million different responses to this, but here are some concepts I employ to present effectively.

I am not God’s gift to public speaking — I had to grind to become competent. But I have done it enough to have manufactured some confidence. If you address these ten points, I am sure you will find success in your next speech.

1. Know your audience.

Understanding what folks want to get out of a speech is essential to tailor it to their needs.

2. Know the room.

Reconaissance is important. Get there early and survey the room. Practice using the microphone and make sure your equipment works. This point also remains valid when presenting online. Double-check all your links. Gauge how the lighting impacts your webcam.

3. Chill brah.

Tension will negatively impact your performance. Just relax and funnel your nervous energy into enthusiasm and excitement.

4. Know your material.

A speech is more effective when you pick a topic that you feel passionate about, know more about the subject than you include in your presentation, and use personal stories and engaging language.

Photo by RODNAE Productions: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bearded-man-presenting-7414036/

5. Have fun.

Audiences respond to people who at least act like they enjoy the subject they are presenting. The dullest audience will pay attention to a boring subject if you are convincing enough to sell that you care. Crack a joke or add some audience participation into the mix.

6. Remain concise.

Make your points clearly and move forward — nobody wants to hear a speaker drone on endlessly. Also…

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Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com