A great deal of time (and frequently money) can be spent working on the content of a speech, structuring sentences and phrases, re-writing and honing it. This includes selecting the appropriate alliteration and assonance chosen to enhance the effect, using quotations and examples and the rule of three slavishly adhered to.
If the speaker lacks the necessary skill to do the speech justice, the full impact will not be realised and the opportunity lost. If the speaker is ill prepared and looks and feels nervous the audience has every right to think that the speaker is not committed to the content not that he or she is nervous about speaking in public.
Speaking in public scares people more than anything else, followed apparently by rats and then death, according to the now infamous survey in America carried out some years ago. Even though we cannot control how and when we die, and the pest department are in charge of the rats, we can achieve confident, stylish and powerful vocal delivery and performance, if we are motivated to do so. It seems crazy not to embrace the challenge and become an assured and effective public speaker.
Unlike sport, you do not need a particular physique or have to go to a gym; a series of small techniques which on their own do not make much difference can, accumulatively, make a huge difference to the success of any speaking engagement, interview or business pitch.
How you stand, breathe, support the voice, resonate, time and point a line all contribute to a sense of engagement. The need to talk to and not at the audience is vital.
Great training does not show, the secret is making the speaker look like a “natural”.
For more information on how to improve your public speaking please contact Susan directly.
Susan Ford is co-founder of Powerful Communication Associates and a Fellow and Emeritus Professor of Speech and Communication.