Speaking outdoors is different and more challenging than delivering a speech indoors.  You need to be mentally ready for weather conditions and the variables in those circumstances.  It’s best to think about not only the weather but what you should wear, in accordance with the event and weather.

Your appearance should give formality to the event.  In other words, dress professionally.  In cold weather, wearing a business suit, nice overcoat, gloves, and scarf plus a hat (not a baseball cap) is appropriate.

If the weather is hot, wear a lightweight suit.  Remember to carry a handkerchief and a bottle of water to the lectern.  The water should be cool but not cold and take timely sips as needed.  You can prevent sun damage by wearing sunscreen.  No sunglasses.

In wet weather, wear a trench coat.  Also, it’s a good idea to ask someone to hold an umbrella over you while you’re speaking.  If the rain is pouring down the event organizer will (should) move the event indoors.

Give recognition to the venue.  Example: the majestic trees and mountains; beautiful flowers and greenery.  Mention the clear and sunny (if indeed it is such) day.

Note the stately building where you’re speaking from and the well-manicured lawn.  Noting landmarks will add to the speech as well.

My recommendation on handwritten or typed notes: place them in a clear 8.5 x 11 sleeve.  The sleeve will prevent the written remarks from flying away via a gust of wind.  Also, it prevents your papers from smudging by the rain, snow, and dew.

Your speech should be short.  The audience attention span is shorter outdoors in comparison to indoors.  Other reasons for making your remarks brief during outdoor ceremonies:

  1. In warm weather flying insects can annoy you and/or your audience.
  2. Extended exposure to extreme temperatures isn’t good for the body and mind.
  3. If others are speaking after you, you don’t want to impede their time.

Outdoor occasions such as dedications, weddings, commemorations, graduations, and burials allow the speaker to make inspiring and poignant remarks.  These are critical moments in the lives of friends, associates and the general public.  Make your outdoors speech special.  You have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many.

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