The Secret To Giving A Great Speech: VBM

by drjim on May 10, 2016

Every speech needs the speaker to use their voice, body, and mind

Every speech needs the speaker to use their voice, body, and mind
Image Credit: Beverly

In order to give a great speech, everything has to come together for us. We tend to spend a lot of time worrying about many of the easy-to-see details that contribute to the importance of public speaking such as lighting, microphones, etc. However, it turns out that the most important things that relate to giving a great speech are really inside of us: our voice, body, and mind.

Preparing Your Voice For Your Speech

Your voice is the primary tool that you’ll use in your next speech to communicate with your audience. What this means is that you need to take time before you start your speech to get your voice prepared for the job ahead. What we often forget is that our voice is really the sum product of a lot of different parts of our body. These parts include our tongue, mouth, vocal cords, facial muscle, and the diaphragm.

In order for your voice to operate correctly during your speech, you are going to have to first become relaxed. In order to make this happen, sit upright and will yourself to relax. Use your nose to draw in a breath, hold it in your chest for two seconds, then slowly let it out through your nose. When you bring the air in you should be able to feel your diaphragm expand down toward your pelvis. As you let the air out, you should be able to feel your diaphragm contract up pushing your air out.

Your mouth is also a very important part of how your voice works. What you need to realize is that your lips and your tongue will control your diction. To get ready for your speech massage your cheek muscles to loosen them up. Stretch the muscles that control your jaw and your eyebrows. Stretch your tongue both inside of your closed mouth and outside it when its open. Finally, practice saying some tongue twisters in order to loosen the entire system up.

Preparing Your Body For Your Speech

When you are preparing to give a speech, tension is your enemy. When your body is tense, you won’t be able to move smoothly. You’ll come across as moving unnaturally and your audience won’t be able to relate to you. The good news is that most of the tension that your body will be dealing with is going to be located in your upper torso and in your shoulders.

Release the tension in your body by standing correctly. Do this by standing upright and placing your feet directly under your shoulders. You are going to want to make sure that your knees are not locked. Make sure that your arms are hanging at your sides. Your hands need to be open – do not clench them into fists.

Once you’ve been able to achieve this position, you are going to want to take steps to drive the tension from your body. You can do this by rolling your shoulders in order to loosen them up. Circle your hips from left to right. Finally, just relax. It is from this position you can easily deliver your speech.

Preparing Your Mind For Your Speech

The last thing that you will need to prepare in order to give an effective speech will be your mind. The reason that this is so important is because if you try and start your speech without having properly prepared your mind all sorts of bad things can happen. These include getting distracted or not being able to remember the next thing that you want to say.

Prior to your speech you are going to want to clear your mind. What you are going to want to do is to attempt to “see” yourself giving the speech to your audience long before you actually do it. While you are doing this, you are going to want to try to “hear” yourself talking in order to become familiar with how your speech will sound.

The key to getting the most out of your efforts to see yourself giving your speech is to make sure that you take the time to ask yourself the right questions. As you mentally watch yourself giving your speech, can you determine what you are doing that is causing a positive reaction in your audience? Is there anything that you are saying that is emotionally connecting with your audience? Have you said anything that caused your audience to laugh? If you can can answer these questions, then you’ll know how to make your speech even better.

What All Of This Means For You

Every time we give a speech we want it to turn out perfectly so that our audience can experience the benefits of public speaking. Despite the fact that we can control a number of the variables that relate to a speech such as lighting and microphones, there are a number of things that we may overlook such as our voice, body, and mind.

In order to prepare properly for your next speech, you are going to have to take steps to get ready. You can start by making your voice ready by getting relaxed and then exercising your diaphragm, cheeks, and tongue. Next you are going to want to prepare your body by getting rid of any tension. Finally, you’ll need to clear your mind so that you can keep your focus on your speech.

In order to deliver a good speech, we need to make sure that all the different parts of our body are in good working order. Remembering to take the time to warm up our voice, body, and mind is the key to making sure that when we call on them, they are there to perform for us. Do some exercises before your next speech and discover just how good of a speaker you can be!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long before you speak do you think that you should be doing these warm up exercises?

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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

When I give a speech, at the right spots in my speech I would like my audience to laugh. I must confess to never being quite sure how best to go about making this happen. I have spent a great deal of time studying how to add humor to a speech, but my attempts to do so do not always pay off. It turns out that humor is much more than just the words that you say. It also has a lot to do with how you go about saying them – and how you use pauses to make them be even funnier.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Pocock May 10, 2016 at 9:24 am

Hey Jim,

Thanks for this – this is great! I love the approach of doing physical exercises before you begin speaking – this is something I’m a big believer in and it’s driven a lot of my practice.

However – it seems like the breathing technique here might be a bit vague. Instructing students to breathe into the chest might swing the solar plexus up, lifting the clavicle and actually pressurising the larynx, causing more tension. It’s the typical breath of a nervous person. Maybe some diaphragmatic breathing could me useful here instead?

Thanks again,
Matt 🙂

Reply

drjim May 17, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Matt: as long as they do ANY breathing exercises they should be better off than if they don’t do any. However, I think that you make a very good point — you want to prepare the right parts of the speaking system…

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