SPEECH AND SPEAKING TIPS 44 – 45

Tip 44

SELF STUDY AND IMPROVE (‘Traits’)

I am a member of Toastmasters. Many years ago, a fellow member of our club offered to video several of us presenting speeches for evaluation. Part of the evaluation was a study of the video he took as we presented.

I thought I’d made a fair fist of my speech. When the video of my presentation was played back, I discovered (along with everyone else) a number of ‘anomalies’:

* I overly shuffled and the movement was out of sync with and detracting from my presentation.
* I scratched my posterior on two occasions.
* I once picked at my nose.
* Several times my eye movements were out of context in not supporting my trying to reach the audience through eye contact.

Without the video revelation, I would have been unaware of these unconscious actions.

These days, videoing on mobile if using an iPad makes the whole process simple. My suggestion is that readers consider having someone video presentation for the sake of weakness awareness as a precursor to improvement.
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Tip 45

OFFER TO IMPROVE OTHERS (Presentation skills)

A true collegiate support for presenters, can be the clear and unbiased feedback offered to them by a colleague or professional friend. Offering to evaluate might be a tactic; similarly, the presenter may ask a colleague to evaluate his or her presentation.

Oral feedback is valuable and is aided if supported by written comments. These might be key points, with both methods aiming to offer the presenter a chance to improve delivery. Part of this should be recognising strengths (offered as commendations) and commenting on arenas needing development (offered as recommendations).

Reflection is supported by evaluation

SPEECH AND SPEAKING TIPS 42 – 43

Tip 42

STUDY OTHERS AND IMPROVE (Eyes)

When watching television presenters and guests, consider the part their eyes and eye movement play in focussing you on their messages. Eyes can be manipulated and controlled to show happiness, joy, concern, grief, decisiveness, hesitation and a heal of in-between moods.

Consider that when we are talking with others, be that on a one-to-one basis all the way through to major audiences, our eyes help tell the story. Watchers and audience members remember eyes. They are organs of message reinforcement. Keep them attentive and make them live in support of you as a communicator.
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Tip 43

STUDY OTHERS AND IMPROVE (Gesture)

Those presenting on or for television should not undervalue gesture. Movement of arms, hands, head, neck and other parts of the body can help by giving particular emphasis to what speakers, be they presenters, questioners or respondents, are saying.

Without gesture, those appearing on our screens can appear to be almost un-alive and inanimate. Too much gesture, be it pacing, flapping of the arms, overuse of the forearms, hands and fingers in making points, can be distracting.

We can all learn from what we see. We also learn about what to do, by becoming aware of what not to do, by seeing the ‘dont’s’ in others.
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SPEECH AND SPEAKING TIPS 38 – 39

Continuing this series on WordPress.  I hope readers find these useful. Feel free to use as you wish.

Tip 38

WORD USAGE AND PRONUNCIATION (7)

* “What your shape is?” should be “what is your shape?”. Order of words is important and in English tends to run differently to the way it happens with language usage in some other parts of the world.

* “You forgot what l say” should have been ” you forgot what I said.”

* “It is no your turn” should have been ” it is not your turn”. This was one of the occasions when you did not add the necessary consonant to, the end of the word.

* “Please come to stand up ” should have been “please come and stand up”. It can be easy to substitute words and in this case “to” slipped into where “and” should have been placed in your speech.
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Tip 39

KNOW YOUR SUBJECT

As a presenter, particularly if you have been given preparation time, know your subject. If you don’t know your subject, then it will become patently clear to the audience that your knowledge is stretched. Restlessness, figitiness , looking uncomfortable, visible sweating and other visible manifestations will become giveaways. Eye blinking and throat clearing might become part of the reaction all too visible to the listening group.

‘Subject stretch’ will bring out uncharacteristic ‘ahs’, ‘ums’, ‘you knows’ and so on in an altogether uncharacteristic manner.

There is a lot to be said for being prepared

SPEECH AND SPEAKING 34 – 35

Please read and consider. Always happy to know what people think of the points offered.

 

Tip 34

WORD USAGE AND PRONUNCIATION (3)

 

More things to watch:

* ” One group, two group” should be “one group, two groups”.

* “How many groups are need?” should be “How many groups do we need”

* “You can do it” (statement) should be “Can you do it?” (question) when asking children if they are up to a particular challenge.

* “Do amount” should be “Do the amount” …. of work.

* “I am looking for people who is working.” Should be “I am looking for people who are working.”

* “Finish?”. Should be “Have you finished” or “I have finished”.
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Tip 35

WORD USAGE AND PRONUNCIATION (4)

* “You are not supposed … yell at people”. Should be “You are not supposed to yell at people”.

* “Who are in the reading?” Should be “Who is in the reading corner?”

* “Sam, get your pencil.”Should have been “Sam, please get your pencils.”

* “Run”not “ran” in spelling; “spoon” not “spun”; “bad” not “bed”; “fed” not “fad”. You tend to confuse vowels, when speaking, mixing “a” and “e” particularly.

* “Tell me one sentence … “: Should be “Tell me in one sentence”.

* “Story might have problem” : Should be “You might (may) have a problem with your story.

SPEECH AND SPEAKING TIPS 30 -31

Tip 30

CUT THE TALK SHORT

On time of presenting. Some keynote presenters go on and on and ON! Those who are in the listening audience are too polite to say what they think about the length of the presentation. Having to endure prestressed for anywhere up to two hours one occasion is far, far too long.

My belief is that no initial presentation should go beyond 25 minutes. Used time beyond that for audience engagements through questions and other interactive response and sharing opportunities. The outcomes will be positive, the messages will stick and the audience will be satisfied.
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Tip 31

SPEECH MODELLING NOW SO POOR

I come from an era when those who were trained as teachers, had to model correct speech to students. This included pronunciation, enunciation, word choice and usage and overall clarity. Part of our training was that speech imperfections (ie ‘rabbits sun wing awound wochs’) had to be overcome before graduation. For those with speech and speaking challenges, corrective and elocution sessions were offered. They were free and compulsory. It was deemed that teachers who were to teach students, had to example correct speech and speaking.

How I wish this was still the case. 

 

 

SPEECH AND SPEAKING TIPS 28 – 29

Tip 28

Facial muscles are important because to use them can ‘make your face live’, providing animation and life through talk. An expressionless face can be taken by those listening as meaning the speaker is not really interested in what she or he is saying. Speech is helped by a ‘living face’ and pleasant expression.
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Tip 29

Most of the time, conference and audience pictures are simply of people sitting and listening. Is there a chance that conference ‘action’ pictures might show people engaged more interactively in participative opportunities offered by presenters?

Maybe a weakness of presenters and their presentations is the fact they go on and on and on. Interactivity between presenter and the audience can add to the dynamics of the presentation.

SPEECH AND SPEAKING TIPS 26 – 27

Tip 26

An intriguing element about language is the disconnect between its theory and practice. The theory of language can be reasonably straightforward and understandable as it is studied on paper : Language in practice and in day-to-day terms of usage can be a lot more tricky. In Australian contexts, there are idiomatic factors of expression, the way words are emphasised, nuances, hidden messages, the use of colloquialisms (expressions) and so on. As well there is pitch, rhythm, tone, intonation and volume.
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Tip 27

Of particular importance when communicating is to look at people with whom we are talking. Eye contact is an indicator of confidence. To speak with eyes averted and not to look at people to whom we are talking is taken to indicate alack of confidence, to be unsure of what we are saying or similar. It is a negative indicator. Similarly, if talking with a group, it is important to include everyone within the ‘eye contact’ circle.