Recently, I have been attending a course at Readify called SpeakUp. It is designed to help you practice and learn about presenting talk and has its roots in Toastmasters. It was the brainchild of David Cook from the Brisbane Readify Office. It has been an excellent course, although it can sometimes feel draining at times, but overall, I think the practicality of it has helped me immensely.
In this 3-part series, I just wanted share with you (and for my future self) some of the things that I learnt at SpeakUp. It is a formalization of the notes that I made over and above the learning material that we are given.
Everyone knows that a speech should have an Intro, Body, and Conclusion, but I liked the way it was explained to us.
- Intro - Tell them what you are going to tell them
- Body - Tell them what you want to tell them
- Conclusion - Tell them what you have just told them
When you start off your speech, it is vitally important that you are confident, not only in what you are saying, but in your actions as well. You need to own the stage as the audience tend to listen to people who are confident.
When talking, vary your pace and even pause for dramatic effect. If you want to let something sink in when, then leave some silence so that the audience can think about it. When this is done well, it can be extremely impactful.
When you are speaking, change the tone of your voice. Don't be afraid to be "out there" and loud. It is something that doesn't come naturally to me, so it does take some practice, but it really adds to the impact and delivery of your speech.
Don't just remain static. Walk around the stage. Own it! Also, be sure to use hand gestures and try use your hands to mimic what you are saying. For example, if you are talking about the North Star, then point to it in the sky, or if you mention a fork in the road, animate it with your hands splitting out and diverging.
Nothing beats practicing your speech. Record yourself, see what you like and don't like and continuously improve.
On the day, a myriad of things could go wrong, so try to minimize the risk as much as possible. There could be no Wi-Fi, you may need cable adapters, batteries may die, slides may not work so try to have backup plans for these, as much as you can. For all the Cool Blue's out there, it shouldn’t be a problem ;)
You may have some audible clicks that you do with your mouth, or a set of words that your often repeat. Be wary of these and try eliminating them as much as possible. You will also find you use filler words such as Um… or so… and practice to consciously not say them at all.
Make It Personal
When you do your talk, don't just state the facts. Make it personal! People can relate to that better and it makes you seem more human.
So that wraps up this first part of tips in the series. I hope you found some of them handy!
Until next time...keep learning!