Giving a speech – 6 quick notes on making a better speech.

Giving a speech – 6 quick notes on making a better speech.

This is not the full list or a book on giving a speech – it is a quick list to tweak your performance and improve your impact.

  1. Be positive. People want to hear about the possible. They want to dream. They want things, their life, their job, their relationships to be better. Talk them through, and to, a positive outcome.
  2. Replace long words with short words. Always. You are there to communicate – not show off how many big words you know. Ernest Hemingway said something along the lines of “You don’t need big words for big ideas.” People have to understand what you mean. And it has to make sense to them and resonate with them.
  3. Check the content and clarity of your speech – 3 times. If it doesn’t make sense – drop it. Cut unnecessary words. Don’t be sloppy. Don’t be in a rush. What you write and then say will be judged as being how you are. Don’t try and fit too much in. Say 3 things which are remembered – that’s far better than saying 20 things which are all forgotten.
  4. Get warmed up. Do some mild exercise before you speak. It gets the blood moving and gets your brain in gear. A 20 minute walk will do perfectly. Get a coach or a friend to listen to you do a dry run and maybe fire some questions at you before you are on “live”.
  5. Mind your body language. Don’t let your body language get in the way of your spoken language. Don’t move around too much. Be natural. Keep your arms down. Never let your elbows go higher than your chest level – it makes you look like you are losing control. Let you hands move – but in a controlled way that doesn’t distract from what you are saying. Face people when they ask questions. Listen to them. Smile. Maintain eye contact – don’t look away! Wait until they have finished speaking. Lean forward. Be real – be you. Be authentic.
  6. Be polite, kind and gracious. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are words that cost nothing but work wonders. They are the oil of communication. Even if you are dealing with a heckler – how you speak will define how the other people judge you. Even if they think the heckler is a twit. They will judge you on how you handled the twit.

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