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Rahall Communication Center
Eckerd College
Franklin Templeton - FT 235
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

Hours: 4 - 10pm, Sunday - Thursday
Location: Franklin Templeton, room 235, on the balcony facing Seibert

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Rahall Communication Center

Rahall Communication Center

Speech Tips

Need tips? Look no further. We've assembled a number of helpful strategies for making your presentation powerful, poignant and memorable.

Presentation Day

This list of "things to do" on presentation day are suggestions on how to help give the best presentation you can.

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour the night before your presentation.
  • Get up at least one hour before presentation.
  • Eat breakfast the morning of your presentation.
  • Dress appropriately for your presentation (we always say, "you can't go wrong dressing slightly better than your audience").
  • Get to class early to make sure that any technology needed is working properly.
  • Be sure to save your presentation in more than one place, i.e. on your PC, on a CD, on a zip drive, send it to yourself in your e-mail, etc.

Visual Aids

  • If using PowerPoint make sure that you keep the information on your slides at a minimum to reduce the likelihood of reading your slides.
  • Keep slides simple and consistent throughout the slideshow.
  • Be sure that your slides are legible to everyone in the audience; always remember that the pictures and fonts look a lot clearer on a smaller computer screen.
  • Be sure that your visual aid is relevant to your speech topic.


  • When researching make sure your information comes from credible sources, i.e. journals, books, periodicals, etc (use the library; the librarians are always willing to help).
  • Remember not to use everything you find: strive for quality, not quantity when researching.
  • Make sure that the information you are researching is relevant to your topic and not just interesting.

Speech Setup

Every speech should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion, just like any good paper.

Introduction to speech should start off on more generalized version of the topic and slowly introduce the audience to the point of the speech, the thesis statement/argument.

Every speech should have 2 - 5 main points that support the argument, with appropriate evidence that is relevant to the subject matter.

The conclusion of every speech should start out by restating the point, thesis statement/argument, and broaden out to a proper closing that allows the audience to know the speech has ended.

Introduction and Conclusion


  • The introduction of a speech should capture the audience's attention while still being relevant to the speech topic.
  • The introduction should somehow relate the speech topic to the audience.
  • The introduction should preview your information.
  • Do not use inappropriate humor to begin a speech.
  • Speak with confidence; it will help your speech go more smoothly.


  • The start of the conclusion should restate the proposition.
  • The conclusion should sum up the information that was covered in the speech.
  • Remind the audience of how the information is relevant to them.
  • Do not present any new ideas or claims in the conclusion of the speech.
  • The conclusion should clearly signal when the speech is finished (not "that's it" or "I'm done").

Managing Speech Anxiety

  • Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • Practice your speech in front of an audience, i.e. friends, family, Rahall Consultants.
  • Be positive. You usually do better than you think you will.
  • Recognize that you are the most nervous right before you start speaking; it's all downhill from the introduction.
  • Don't wait to do your speech or presentation any longer than you have to. Sign up to present close to the beginning of class; waiting will make you more nervous.
  • Do something before you present that will help you relax: i.e. take deep breaths, count to ten, etc. (do not use drugs or alcohol as a means of relaxation before a presentation).
  • Be prepared and finished with the assignment.
  • Have some water with you while you speak.

Visit Rahall

When you come to Rahall you should come prepared with all of the items you need in order to prepare your presentation, i.e., have the assignment, make sure all group members are present, bring in a VHS or DVD for those presentations that require recording, have PowerPoint presentations and other visual aids ready (unless that is what you are coming into Rahall for), and come to Rahall with plenty of time to go over your presentation before, during and after you actually practice the speech.

The staff at Rahall is always willing to give you any help you may need on a presentation but there are a few things that you can do to help get the best advice and help possible. The Rahall staff asks that if you need to come in for help that you do so at least two days prior to your presentation date to get the most out of your consultation. Always be prepared and please have the bulk of your presentation/speech complete. If you need help from the Rahall staff on a group discussion presentation it is easier for the staff if you have a list of general discussion questions prepared, this will help us help you. Thank you and we hope to see you at Rahall.

About the Center

Liberally educated women and men need to be effective oral communicators. Consistent with this goal, The Rahall Communication Resource Center strives to help Eckerd College students develop the skills necessary for thoughtful, reflexive, ethical, and effective communication. Learn more.