During the 2015 Youth-to-Business forum in Stockholm, there was one speech that stood out. I remember every bit of it. You could tell it was a good speech because in a big audience of about 200 people, everyone paid the speaker their full attention.
In order for me explain to you how she did it; I will share some of the things I observed during her speech, and things that I thought contributed to her success. I hope you find these useful to make your speech more interesting to the audience.
First, you have to prepare a calm state of mind. This can be achieved by being prepared. You also have to make sure you have gotten enough rest a day before your speech. It is most probable that you won’t perform well if you are tired.
I have come to learn that some people tend to get too emotional when they talk about something they’re passionate about. This might not be good when doing a public speech because you won’t get your message across. You need to allow yourself to breath in and calm yourself down at certain points, especially when your emotions get too heated. When you pace yourself, you allow the audience to really absorb the information you’re trying to convey.
Speak at a steady pace
Other people also tend to speak too fast. It reaches a point where it is difficult for the audience to follow along, so the best way to fix this is to pause. Don’t be afraid of a few seconds of silence. Also, try to observe the expression of your audience’s faces to see if they are following along.
Be true to yourself
Uniqueness is a big deal when you present a speech publicly; do not wear someone else’s personality, be you; it is you who we want to hear and not someone else. It will reflect in the way you talk about your topic, and you will not give a good performance.
We all have our way of standing when we are in front of the audience. The important thing to notice here is to avoid certain things, for example: males tend to put their hands on their pockets. In some cultures, this can be seen as trying to show that that you are better than the audience, and hence, this will make your audience less interested.
Your hands can be quite useful in doing certain gestures and can help in explaining some things even better, so don’t fidget around with a pen or any other object. Make sure that you have good posture, making appropriate gestures so that you gain credibility as a speaker, keeping your audience’s attention
The way you use your tone contributes a lot to the type of message that you want your audience to get. This might happen automatically to some people than for others, but it should be something you should try to learn by yourself by practicing.
The tone to use basically depends on what you want to say. Are you talking about a sad story, an inspirational one, or an exciting one? Are you at the beginning or end of your speech? Your tone should match the context. In order to get an intuition for it, I suggest watching famous public speakers and observe their tone and how it matches the topic they’re talking about.
The way you face your audience is really important, if you feel that it is difficult to look them directly into their eyes, try looking at the top of their heads; that might be easier for you. They will think that you are looking at them directly even if you aren’t. This is mainly to remove any distractions that might occur. You have to give this “eye contact” to almost everybody to make sure that they feel included during your speech. That way, you ensure that a huge number of your audience is following to what you are saying.
I noticed that a lot of people don’t like moving when giving a speech. They tend to stand at one position all throughout. It is definitely more comfortable for some people, however, movement is important to make the speech interactive. The audience may have a moment where they get distracted when they are listening to you, so you need to be able to notice that and get their attention back on track. You must not forget that you are the main point of focus.
So, let me tell you on how you can maximize your movement on stage. Some people move around the stage by making a square shape. They usually move some steps forward, pose for a bit, and continue on until they’ve formed a square shape. I would say if you are comfortable with this way, then go for it, just don’t make it too noticeable because it might seem almost too planned. You want the movement to look natural.
Now that we have covered the basics of how to give a great speech, are you ready? I bet you are! Get out there and do it.
This post is also available in: French