Make Your Speech Sing

Maybe you were born commanding the podium. Perhaps even walking by a stage gives you the cold sweats. No matter how you feel about giving a speech or presentation, these three tips will help you hone your skills.

Giving a speech can freak out the most confident and outgoing individual. We get it. So we won’t tell you to picture the entire room naked (of course if you want to, we can’t stop you), but we will give you our top three ideas to ensure you deliver a solid speech that will interest and intrigue your audience.

In fashion, this means selecting or altering an outfit to focus on your body’s best features. For a speech, it means thinking about how much your audience knows about your topic. Are they novices or experts? The audience’s level of knowledge should guide your speech writing. If you go too in-depth with novices, they will space out. Explain the basics with a crowd of people in the know, and they too will drift off. Tailor your efforts for your audience.

If you are anxious about giving a speech or presentation, you may be inclined to plow through the material as fast as possible to get it over with. We understand the inclination, but not giving your audience time to process the information you are presenting is a sure fire way to lose them. Don’t be afraid of slowing down your pace and even allowing for some pauses. Think of it as the frame around the picture—your pauses provide a bit of structure to the point you are trying to make, as well as dramatic emphasis, while allowing the audience time to absorb the knowledge you have just imparted.

From the slide projector of the 20th century to today’s PowerPoint, most people like to incorporate some form of media in their speeches. If you are nervous about speaking in front of a room, it can be tempting to rely too much on media. But we would advise you to use visuals wisely. The focus should be on the story you tell, the information you impart, with the visuals serving as a way to emphasis a relevant or emotional point. Your media should not be center stage—you should be.