As speakers the one thing that I think that we can all agree on is that we want our next speech to be the best one that we have ever given. The challenge that we are all facing is that we really don’t know how to go about making that happen so that we can show our audience the importance of public speaking. Well, it turns out that there is probably no one “silver bullet” that you can change or add to your next speech that will make it your best. Instead, there are a number of different, little, things that you can do that will help to move your next speech closer to being the best speech that you have ever given.
- Test your volume BEFORE you speak. There is nothing worse than going to hear a speaker and literally not being able to hear them. What you are going to want to do is to show up early and with the help of a friend have them go sit in the back of the room. Ensure that they can hear you from all the way back there and you’ll do fine when you are giving your speech.
- Never apologize. We all make mistakes when we are giving a speech. We may forget what we want to say next or we may even say the wrong thing at the wrong time. If this happens to you, never apologize to your audience. Instead, pick up where you left off and keep on going. You don’t want to apologize. If you make a mistake, there’s no need to say that you are sorry – your audience probably doesn’t even know that anything happened.
- Make an effort to eliminate your filler words. We all know that if we use umms and ahhhs in our speech, it will end up distracting our audience from what we are trying to tell them. If you discover that you are starting to use these filler words, stop your speech, pause, perhaps take a sip of water, and then continue on.
- Make sure that your gestures are not districting. If you are nervous about giving your speech then there is a real possibility that you may be engaging in some nervous fidgeting while up on stage. If you are doing this, then it will end up distracting from the speech that you are giving. Instead, work purposeful gestures into your speech to keep your hand busy and to give your speech more impact.
- Keep your notes under control. There is no problem bringing notes to your next speech. However, you need to make sure that you don’t end up reading your speech to your audience – it will come across as flat and monotone and nobody wants to listen to that. Instead, discreetly use your notes when you need them and keep them out of sight of your audience.
- When things go wrong, use humor to deal with it. Let’s face it, things do go wrong when we are speaking. An airplane may go overhead roughly 10 feet above the room that you are in, a firetruck may go down the street, or your microphone may suddenly stop working. In situations like this you need to tell a quick joke to help put you and your audience at ease.
- Properly prepare to speak. We need to understand that what we do before a speech is just as important as what we do during our speech. That’s why we need to take the time to eat something that will fill our belly up roughly 20 minutes before we take the stage. Nobody wants to hear their stomach growling while they are giving a speech!
- Speak on a topic that you enjoy. The one thing that we can’t fake is if we really care about what we are talking about. That’s why if you want to really give a good speech you need to make sure that whatever you are talking about, you make sure that you find an angle about it that you really care about. Once you are able to do this, you’re commitment to this topic will shine though in your speech and you’ll be able to sell both your speech and yourself to your audience.
- Use but don’t abuse visuals. If you choose to use visuals such as PowerPoint slides as a part of your speech make sure that they are going to help to reinforce the message that you are delivering. However, make sure that they don’t distract your audience or take away from your message.
- Be yourself. Hey, I like Tony Robbins just as much as you do; however, I don’t present like he does. If I tried to do so then I would come across as being unauthentic and my audience would realize it. What you need to do is to present your speech your way and not try to copy anyone else’s style. Just be yourself and your audience will love you for doing so.
What All Of This Means For You
Becoming a better speaker is something that all of us want to be able to do. We are willing to attend courses, listen to podcasts, watch videos, etc. in order to learn how to provide our audience with the benefits of public speaking. We are all looking for that one magic “thing” that will transform the way that we speak from how we do it to today to the way that we want to be able to do it tomorrow. However, it turns out that if we really do want to become better perhaps it’s not just one thing that we need to do, but rather a number of small things that we need to start doing.
If we take the time and implement the ten different changes that we’ve discussed, then we can become better speakers. This means that the time, energy, and effort that we put into creating and delivering our speeches will start to pay off for both us and our audiences. No, change is never an easy thing to do. However, if we take the time to make some modifications to how we are delivering our speeches, we just might be able to change the world with the words that we speak.
Question For You: What should you tell your audience if you completely forget what you wanted to say next?
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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
Wow – how great would it be to have a perfect memory? You’d never forget anything and once you had learned something you would be able to recall it anytime that you needed it. I can only speak for myself, but I certainly don’t have a perfect memory. In fact, I forget a lot of things all of the time. The one time that I really don’t want to forget something is when I am in the middle of giving a speech. However, even that happens sometimes. So what are we to do as speakers when we are giving a speech and all of sudden our mind goes blank?