SpeakingThere’s a huge difference between crafting a speech and writing an essay, yet too many people approach them in the same way. The average adult can read 300 words per minute, but can only follow a speech at half that rate. So speeches require you to simplify. To make sure your audience stays with you, state your thesis and lay out the structure of your speech first. Then, let listeners know where you are with signpost words (“second,” “finally,” etc.). Lead or end an argument with statistics, but don’t fall into reciting strings of numbers or citations. The human brain is wired for narrative, so focus on telling a compelling story. And remember that when delivering a speech, you are your punctuation. Use your voice, hand gestures, pacing, and your position on stage for emphasis.