Friday, August 10, 2012

Hints for a Novice Speaker

(If you've never given speeches before and now have to face an audience, this is for you. If you've done speeches before, feel free to skip this post.)

--Once you think your speech is written as well as you can do it, change the typeface to a large font. 20 or 30 point. That way you can see phrases easily.

--practice your speech in front of your dog or cat. or some appreciative audience like that. Not people at first. (actually, I don't even do this. But I do read it aloud to make sure that what I have down on paper is word for word the way I'm comfortable speaking.

--once you are confident you know your speech, you might not need every word typed out. Retype it with key phrases which will get you going on the idea you want to convey. You only have to deliver things word-for-word when you are doing a "reading" of your creative work. Speeches should look and sound as if you were talking off the cuff to friends. Comfortable/ informative/ etc.

-- Double space. Indicate what powerpoint slide should appear at this point. 
double space. back to your typed lecture.  It's like dialogue. It breaks up the blocks of typeface with white space and makes the whole thing easier for you to read and follow. Oh, and remember to number your pages, so that when you gather up the sheets of paper you can put the speech back into its original order. 

-- Before your lecture, warm up your voice/ vocal cords. 
Don't sing scales -- hum them -- up and down. 
Then do some tongue twisters to get your lips and tongue active and flexible. The one I was taught was -- One little eagle slipped out of the nest while another little eagle slipped in. It exercises all parts of the mouth. Pick those pickled peppers, too.

-- also HUFF. blowing air from your lungs, past your vocal cords, and out your mouth. This will blow any accumulated gunk off the vocal cords.

-- drink only water that day and during your speech. (no milk. no soda) Water lubricates your vocal cords and also dissolves that gunk. 

-- The lectern is your friend. It holds your speech papers at the right angle for you to see it easily.

-- Glance down at your speech paper. Grab that phrase/ thought/ sentence with your mind. Then look straight at your audience and deliver the sentence/ paragraph/ the ramble that the phrase has keyed in your mind. You may think that this will make a huge pause/ white space in your speech, but the audience will NOT notice.
-- in fact, short pauses like this helps the audience catch up with you, digest what you said the moment before, and react to what you just said.

-- Deliver your phrases to different parts of the audience. Right/ left/ center/ back of the room.

-- It helps to keep your finger on the speech paper so that when you actually do return your eyes to the next paragraph/ thought, you will be in the right place instead of skipping an important point.

--That being said, it also helps to occasionally move away from the lectern/ turn away from the audience in order to gesture or show/ demonstrate something/ to point at something on the screen of your powerpoint with your little laser pen. This keeps the audience from being bored. 

-- Try to believe that the people who attend your speech are on your side. They Want you to succeed. They came because they wanted to hear or see You. They also are hoping to learn something. 

Okay, if this is a visit to a school, they were probably told to come, but hey, it's a break from their schedule and they are prepared to enjoy it.

1 comment:

Jennifer Reed said...

Love these ideas! Will use them when I have to give my lecture next summer!