Dear ladies and gentlemen, many of you regularly ask us how to be a better speaker in public. This is an art we can all work on, to impress people. I propose you here 6 tips to increase your oral impact.
How to start a speech?
Don’t: Starting with apologies is the worst option. “Sorry for the light which is weak”, “My apologies for the the screen, it’s not working well.“ That way you attract attention on problems, while most of the time participants haven’t even noticed them!
Do: Start with a silence. Look at your audience, take 3 breaths and start to talk. You will look more confident and it will help you to relax. Open with greetings, introduce yourself and start your speech.
How strong should your voice be?
Don’t: When we are not comfortable, we tend to keep a low voice, audible only for people seated closely to us. If you do so, people seated further won’t hear and will stop following you.
Do: Simply, you should speak loud enough as if you were speaking to the person the furthest in the room. So you are sure everyone can hear you.
How to keep a moisturised mouth?
Don’t: If you don’t drink enough during your speech, your diction is more difficult. Your mouth will be furry, you will have some small balls of saliva at the edge of your lips and some white strings when you open the mouth. On top of that, a bad breath.
Do: Having a glass of water (more elegant than a bottle) is of course the best. You may also bite the tip of your tongue, it will activate the production of water in your mouth.
Where should you look at?
Don’t: Never speak while looking at your paper, or the screen of your computer. You should neither look at the floor nor the ground.
Do: Always keep your body facing the public. If you need to have a look at your computer sometimes, keep it between you and the public. If you have a projector, you should not be looking at what is projected, still at the public.
Shall I look at people? For how long?
Don’t: Avoid ignoring some participants of your public by not looking at them, they would loose the interest. Of course, avoid staring at someone for too long. You should also avoid giving vague eye contact to the whole audience.
Do: You should look at people directly in the eyes, for around 3 seconds in a row. That way you give the impression to address this person directly, but not for too long. Repeat this with every participants.
How to keep people’s attention?
Don’t: The biggest threat is the monotonous voice. 100% certain you will loose people’s attention and send them back checking their phone.
Do: Your voice should alternate between the 5 “P”. Power (alternate strong and weak voice), Pitch (alternate high and low voice), Pace (fast and slow), Pause (have breaks of 3 seconds and more at the sentence’s end), Passion (communicate emotions). Your speech will be more captivating.
Dear ladies and gentlemen, this was only theory, the best is of course the practice.