For many of us, public speaking is not a fun activity. You might be familiar with that pre-speech feeling – one of wobbly knees, butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms. And it’s OK if you feel like that. You’re far from alone. In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, only 10% of us actually enjoy speaking in front of a crowd. The majority of us – around 80% – find public speaking nerve-wracking. For the other 10%, public speaking is a full-blown phobia. There’s even a medical term for this phobia of public speaking: it’s called ‘glossophobia’.
The team here, at Elite Words, have given a few speeches in our time. Along the way, we’ve learnt a trick or two. There are the common techniques that you’ve probably heard before – imagining the crowd in their underwear, controlling your breathing, using eye contact to connect with your audience.
Here, we’ll take you through three useful public speaking tricks that you’re probably less familiar with. These tips will improve your speech’s content and your delivery. This is because content and delivery go hand in hand. If you feel confident in what you’re saying, your audience will pick up on that. With excellent content, you’re able to deliver a successful speech without needing to be a natural orator.
So, without further ado, here are our top three tips for writing and delivering an impressive speech.
1. Lead the way
When delivering a speech, you always want to make sure that your audience is following along. You should ‘locate’ your audience at the beginning of a speech so they know what you’ll be addressing. This doesn’t mean that you need to announce the topic or the title of your speech. For shorter speeches, it can be as simple as giving suitable cues. For example, if you’re receiving an award, expressing your gratitude with a ‘thank you’.
However, for longer speeches, it’s important to signpost what you’ll be covering. For example, in a business presentation, before launching into your subject matter, you should briefly run through the points you’ll discuss. Think of it as providing a map for your audience to follow. Why is this effective? For one, it puts your audience at ease. They know you’re on top of what you’re saying and that you’ve thought through your speech. Signposting also keeps your audience engaged because they understand what you’ll cover and how this fits into the overall purpose of your speech.
2. Know your audience
The content of your speech needs to be crafted with your target audience in mind. You wouldn’t ever want to deliver an informal speech, with swear words and bad grammar, to a formal business conference. Neither would you want to deliver a speech with complex vocabulary and industry terminology to a room full of 5-year-olds.
Before writing a speech, always ensure that you have a clear understanding of who you’re delivering the speech to. This will make the writing process easier. It will also make your speech more effective because you’ll be able to engage your audience. When thinking about this, it’s useful to keep in mind:
- tone – formal, conversational, informal
- vocabulary and word choice
- type of event (there’s a large difference between a wedding speech and conference paper!)
- the occasion for your speech
- the professional background of your audience.
3. Be confident in what you’re saying
Not everyone is a born performer. And that’s OK. With time and practice, delivering speeches becomes easier. It might never be an entirely stress-free event for you, but remember that you don’t need to be a master orator to have effective delivery.
The best way to nail your delivery is to have confidence in what you’re saying. There are two parts to this. For one, you should be familiar with the content of your speech. This means that you’ve read through your speech before you deliver it. You should check that you understand what you’re saying and note anything that might trip you up on the day, such as difficult words or phrases. On top of this, if you feel confident in what you’re saying, you’ll find it easier to connect with your audience. They’ll sense that you’re engaged with your speech’s topic and they’ll want to hear what you have to say.
Here, at Elite Words, we possess extensive speechwriting experience. If you don’t have enough time to craft your speeches or feel like you need some extra assistance, contact us today. We’re here to help.