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Speaking Hints

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Things I wish they'd told me... Speakers share hints

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Methods of Delivery Edit

You have planned your speech with solid foundations by using your knowledge of the occasion, the audience, and their expectations.

You have written your speech by correctly structuring it with a strong opening, a purposeful body, and a memorable conclusion.

You are half way there!

Now we get to the delivery part. Let’s cover the various options: are you going to make use of scripts, notes, or memory?

If you are nervous or inexperienced, you will probably want to choose to read your speech from a script or from notes.

Let’s have a look at all three:

Reading from a ScriptEdit

Reading your entire speech from a script may give you confidence and ensure that nothing is forgotten or omitted, however it is the least desirable option for delivering your speech. You will find it more difficult to see your audience, and make it harder for them to get involved with you. When reading from a script, it is extremely difficult to deliver your speech to your audience, rather than just read it aloud.

Using NotesEdit

If you are not confident enough to recite your speech from memory, then the use of notes is a much more desirable option than reading from a complete script. Your notes should consist of the keywords or points of your speech—a skeleton of thoughts or words around which you can build your speech. You may refer to your notes occasionally to maintain the thread of your speech, while for the most part of you will be able to speak directly to the audience.

Reciting From Memory Edit

You may prefer to recite from memory. However you should only do this if you are comfortable speaking publicly, and not prone to loss of concentration (or memory!). As with reading from a script, you should be careful not to lapse into a monotonous recitation of your speech.

Speech Delivery TipsEdit

AppearanceEdit

Make sure that your appearance is acceptable. Most authorities agree that you should be one degree dressier than the audience (and no more). If they're in casual clothes, wear something tastefully dressy. If they're in dressy clothes, wear a suit. If they're in suits, wear a dress suit. Don't wear a dress suit if the audience is in jeans.

Make eye contact with your audience. This helps to build trust and a relationship between the speaker and the listeners.

Remember: just be yourself, and allow your own personality to come across in your speech.

Beginning the speechEdit

Acknowledge your host Edit

Start your speech saying: "Mr. (or Madam) Toastmaster." It's an elegant way of taking the stage. End your speech the same way — return the audience's attention to the Toastmaster. Generally, the Toastmaster will remain standing until you do so!

Don't repeat the title Edit

Don't repeat the title of your speech. When it's your turn to speak, the Toastmaster will call your name and give the title of your speech. This is done to enlist the interest of the audience before you've said a word. Don't blow it by repeating the title after the Toastmaster has just announced it.

Making the speechEdit

Delivering your speech entails using speaking techniques such as Body Language, Vocal Technique, and Visual Aid.

Speak up!Edit

Your audience really is looking forward to learning a bit more about you. Make sure that even the people in the back of the room can hear you clearly. However, do avoid shouting.

Avoid fidgetingEdit

Most speakers (novice and experienced) display nervous mannerisms when they face an audience. Common ones include rocking on heels, clasping hands in front of the body, nervous pacing or repeating a word like "OK" or "actually." Be aware of your favorite habit and start eradicating it early. You can even ask your evaluator to watch for a particular habit so that after the speech, you'll know how successful you were in keeping it under control.

Slow downEdit

Most Toastmasters are shocked when they discover how long a four- to six-minutes speech actually is, so they try to cram a huge amount of content into that time. To cover the material, the poor speaker has to talk so fast, nobody can understand the message.

The cure is simple. Pick three points you would like to share with the audience, tie them together with an introduction and a conclusion, and slow down so that everybody can understand you.

A mentor once said you should be able to hear the first and last sound of every word you speak. This simple tip may help you improve the pacing of your speeches.

PausesEdit

If effectively used, a pause in your speech can be used to emphasize a point, or to allow the audience to react to a fact, anecdote, or joke.

Concluding the speechEdit

Saying "Thank You" Edit

Pros say it a lot; in Toastmasters, many people will say you should never end a speech with "Thank You". The truth is, there's no rule that says you shouldn't. But ask yourself: Is "Thank You" the best way of ending a speech? A good ending should be satisfying — like a good movie ending or a good book ending. The audience should know that this is the end of the speech; there's nothing more to say.

Bottom line: use the phrase or don't — but be effective!

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