Speeches - 8 Simple Hints and Tips
Some people are naturally confident when it comes to delivering a killer speech whist others are a little meek.
The key to a ‘successful’ speech (I use the term lightly, as for some, making it through to the end is successful) is to keep the audience engaged.
I don’t confess to being a natural speaker, or indeed knowing the in’s and out’s or the greatest tips to help you through. There are plenty more people out there who have dedicated their lives to understanding the psychology behind it all. So what I’m going to say is purely from experience.
#1 – If you have to write it down, use bullet points.
Reading from a piece of paper is somewhat of a comfort blanket. For some, it means they are unlikely (though it’s very much possible) to miss something out. If you’re thorough enough and have covered off everything then you still run the risk of in the heat of the moment, missing out a few lines or even a whole paragraph. I’ve seen it happen.
But in the same vein, talking down into a piece of paper can make your voice very muffled and go unheard. So if you have to do this (and there is nothing wrong with it). Be sure to project your voice as much as possible
#2 – Give it some emotion
I’m not just talking about the content, but the delivery is more key here. Tone of voice, movement of hands, movement around the room, give it something!
#3 – Avoid the monotone
A drawback to reading from a piece of paper is that you lose all momentum in your speech, alongside with losing the emotion you find yourself reading things aloud in a very monotone voice.
#4 – Practice
It goes without saying to practice your speech regardless if it’s written down or not, but you can start very simply by reading your favourite book out aloud. Give the characters a voice, be it someone from the story or the Narrator itself. Notice that when you do this, you start to bring the story to life.
#5 – Add an element of something different.
You can bring alone something to spruce up your speech, be it projected images, a video, a voice over or even an element of karaoke.
#6 – Engage with your audience
The key engagement is both visual and audial. To keep them engaged they need to both see and hear you. Also, make sure that you take a look around the room as you deliver your speech. Act like you are delivering that particular line to that particular person. Chances are if you make eye contact with someone, they will hold it. Don’t overdo it though, staring into someone’s eyes for a solid 5 mins is a little over the top and awkward. You’ll also have other guests wondering if you’re just having a single one way conversation with that person.
#7 – If you really have to wing it. Do it with style.
If you really don’t’ want to prepare for your speech and if you really want to just go with it, then do so with style. If you’re they type of person who gets stuck with words, who loses their trail of thought easily and who can’t remember things well then winging it isn’t going to be your most favourable choice. The last thing you want to do is stand up and say nothing.
#8 – It’s only a speech
At the end of the day, it is only a speech and what happens, happens. If you forget something, miss something out, choke on your words it is not the end of the world. Take a moment to pause and breathe if you have to and know that once you start speaking, you’ll very quickly get into the swing of things.