SPEECH AND SPEAKING
I wanted to offer some general thoughts that may be useful as speech and speaking remembrance or reminder statements. It does us good to reflect on the rudiments of speaking and listening.
These are not in any particular order but all may have situational merit.
SPEAK TO BE REMEMBERED Those most remembered as speakers are those who galvanise their audiences and engage with them. Don’t over talk. Twenty five minutes is tops. Engage the audience, involve them.
Always speak with conviction and sincerity. The audience can sense passion and speaker belief in his or her message by studying the presenter’s body language. Introduce, develop and conclude carefully.
I BELIEVE THE EYES TO BE THE MOST POWERFUL OF COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS. Speakers who are confident rove the audience, with his/her eyes canvassing the eyes of everyone in the listening group.
SPEAK FROM THE HEART. Never be a ‘veneer speaker’ whose polish belies his/her commitment to the subject. Be a person remembered by the audience for sincerity. Speak to, not ‘down’ to your listeners.
Speakers and presenters should aim to embrace the audience, drawing listeners toward him or her by the power of sincerely uttered words. This will being them ‘together as one’ in a sharing context.
Listen carefully to speakers and EVALUATE them for strengths and elements of presentation you feel they might do differently and better. The exercise helps you focus on message and messenger.
DON’T OVERDO NOTES. They detract. Speakers generally know what they want to say. I recommend small cards that snug into the palm of the hand. List KEY WORDS as prompts for what you wany to say.
CONFIDENT SPEAKERS in an informal situation can go to pieces in formal situations. They pull down a blind in their minds which says ‘ uptight time’. Make sure the blind is never pulled down.
Make sure that topics have a beginning, middle and end. PLAN for presentations to establish, build and ebb to a telling and final conclusion. Balance within discourse is a key and essential need.
When presenting DON’T SHUFFLE. Movement is a part of gesture. Movement can be illustrative and points (of delivery) reinforcing. If movement is meangless stand in a relaxed but stationary manner.
SOME SPEAKERS GO ON AND ON FOREVER. What starts well goes downhill and the presenter loses it. I once heard that 24 minutes was the ideal time for any presentation where presenter owns the floor.
Presenters need to ensure that DRESS supports and enhances their podium status.The finest presentation in the world will be ruined if presenters do not respect audience by looking the part.
Speakers need to think about THANK YOU often offered at the end of a presentation. Realistically it is the audience who should be offering thanks to the presenter for his or her contribution.
Watch out for DISTRACTING GESTURES. Scratching parts of body while presenting needs avoiding. Don’t scratch nose, squint, overuse eyebrow wrinkle. Involuntary actions can be off-putting.
INJECT HUMOUR into speech, but AVOID LAUGHING at that humour. Humour engages and focuses audience groups. However, those same audiences can be off-put if speakers laugh at their own jokes.