Giving a speech is hard work. As long as you are going to go the effort of understanding the importance of public speaking and giving a speech, you sure want your audience to remember what you have told them. That’s where things can become a bit of challenge for us as speakers. We’ll often spend so much time trying to figure out what we want to say that we don’t spend enough time thinking about how to get what we are saying to “stick”. That’s why we need some suggestions on how to make sure that our message is going to have an impact on our audience.
Let Your Audience Remember What You’ve Said
I know that I’m speaking for myself when I say that I’m generally quite excited about what I’m talking about. What this means is that I tend to speak fairly quickly. I’ll cover a point and then, if I’m not careful, I’ll immediately jump into my next point. There is a real problem when I do this – my audience can’t follow along with me
What all of us need to understand is that it’s going to take our audiences longer to absorb what we’ve told them than it is going to take for us to tell them. In fact, it takes roughly twice as long for our audience to fully take in what we have shared with them. What this means for us as speakers is that we need to be aware of this and we need to slow our speaking down. We also have to work more pauses into our speech so that they can catch up with us.
Keep It Quiet
When we are giving a speech, we would like our audience to spend their time focusing on us. We don’t want them to become distracted during our speech. When we are standing at the lectern, if we are not careful we may do things that can end up taking away from our speech.
What we don’t want to be doing is making any excess noises that can distract our audience from our speech. This means that you cannot, no matter how much you want to, pound on the lectern. Nor do you want to shuffle your notes. The microphone that is built into the lectern can pick up these noises and although they may sound quiet to you, they may be distracting to your audience.
Don’t Let Your Notes Use You
The good news for speakers is that if we need them, we can use notes while we are giving our speech. However, it’s how you go about using them that is going to really matter. What you don’t want to do is to look down at your notes while you are speaking. As speakers, our job is to look at our audience and deliver our message to them, not to our note cards! When you are using notes, what you need to do is to take a moment to look at your notes, use them to remind yourself what you want to say, and then look up and tell it to your audience.
Guess what – when you are giving a speech don’t whisper! Instead, speak loudly! When you give a speech, you want to speak louder than you normally do. Even if you are presenting remotely over a speaker phone, increasing your volume is a good idea. Clearly when you speak louder, you become more audible to your audience. Additionally, boosting your volume increases your authority and your confidence and can help to keep you from speaking too quickly.
Make Eye Contact
When we are giving a speech, we want to connect with our audience. The easiest way to make this happen is for us to look at them while we are speaking. We don’t just want to look at them, instead we want to make eye contact with them. During your speech you are going to want to make as much eye contact with your audience as is possible. The more eye contact that you can make with them the stronger your connection to them will be. If you feel uncomfortable making eye contact with people, then find a friendly face in your audience and look at them.
As speakers we need to realize that pauses are our friend. We can rely on pauses in the cases that during a speech we become unsure of what we want to say next or perhaps we stumble over some words. If this happens, don’t apologize to your audience! Instead, just take a moment, pause, allow yourself to regroup, and then start up again. If you apologize for the stumble, you’ll just draw more unwanted attention to it.
What All Of This Means For You
As speakers, when we are giving a speech we want to be able to connect with our audience and share the benefits of public speaking with them. Sure, we’ve been able to put together a great speech, but what is it going to take to get our audience to realize that it’s a great speech? It turns out that what we need to start to do is to spend time understanding what it’s going to take in order to get our next speech to “stick” with our audience.
We need to understand that we can talk very quickly. We need to make sure that we give our audience time to take in what we’ve told them and understand it before we move on. If we are not careful, pounding on lecterns and shuffling papers can create unwanted noises that can end up distracting our audience. Using notes when giving a speech is ok. However, we need to be careful and not look at our notes when we are speaking. Glance at them and then look at your audience as you speak. Volume counts – make sure that you increase your volume when you are giving a speech. Make eye contact with your audience in order to increase the connection between the two of you. If you make a mistake during your speech, simply pause and go on. No need to remark about it.
The good news is that it is possible to make sure that that great speech that you have created will have an impact on your audience. The way that you can go about making this happen is by understanding that how you deliver the speech is what will determine if you are able to connect to your audience. Take the time to implement the tips that we’ve discussed and you’ll find that you have had a big impact on your next audience when your speech is over.
Question For You: If you make a mistake while speaking, where do you think you should be looking?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
If there is one thing that every speaker wants, it’s to be remembered in a good way. We’ve gone to the effort to create, practice and then deliver a speech and we would like to use the importance of public speaking to ensure that there will be a lasting impact for our effort. The good news is that we are the ones who are in charge of making this happen. It turns out that it’s how we go about delivering our speech that can have the biggest impact on if our audience will be able to remember what we’ve told them after we are done. What we need to do is to make sure that our delivery style is going to make an impact on our audience.