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Delivering an Effective Speech or Presentation

Quick Notes - Deliver a Great Speech:
  • Keep your posture
  • Make eye contact and share your attention
  • Adjust your voice levels
  • Have a plan - layout your material

To deliver an effective message and capture your audience, there are some basic guidelines that should be followed. These helpful tips will strengthen your public speaking skills and leave your audience happy with your speech presentation. The more you practice these techniques, the more your audience will begin to admire your presentation skills and message as a whole.

In this article I discuss major public speaking flaws and how to avoid them so you can concentrate on giving your audience something of value in an effective manner.

How to Deliver a Great Speech

Delivering a great speech can be very difficult for some people. First you must overcome any fears you might have of public speaking. Then you must avoid common presentation or speech mistakes while at the same time give something of value to your listeners. Although it might seem like a lot - there are many trick and tips provided in this article and our other public speaking articles that will give you comfort and guidance to becoming a great public speaker.

The Importance of Posture

I can't tell you how many times I've seen people get up in front of an audience and slouch over the podium or lean against a desk or wall to deliver a message. Communication in general is widely controlled by posture and physical expressions - not just by words. Therefore it is important that your body language is telling your audience that you want to be speaking to them rather than be in bed. Stand up straight when speaking to an audience, however stay comfortable at the same time. If you have trouble standing in one spot, it's ok to walk back and forth to each side of the stage, as long as its not in a frantic or annoying manner. If you are making a speech in front of a podium, try keeping your feet pointed outwards like a duck. This will prevent your body from swaying back and forth, which can be terribly distracting to your audience (even if you don't realize it yourself - a high percentage of stand-still speakers do this).

Making Eye Contact with your Audience

When speaking in public, try not to look too much at things other than your audience. There is nothing wrong with looking at your notes to recollect your thoughts, however reading from a piece of paper is not an ideal speech. You could have just sent out a newsletter and saved everyone time from coming out. Another thing to remember if speaking in front of a group of people is that you want to share your attention. If you are making eye communication with just the center section of your audience, people on the left and right sides are going to feel left out. Spread your attention to everyone, this doesn't mean you need to look into every single persons eyes to make good communication, but looking in each direction will have the same effect. If you feel uncomfortable at looking directly at people while talking, try looking just above your audiences heads. Unless your a couple feet away, its impossible to tell the difference from a listeners view.

Adjust your Voice Levels

Depending on the size of the room and audience, it is important that you adjust your voice to an appropriate level. This goes for your audience age as well, an older crowd may have more difficult hearing than a group of college students. In a large room or auditorium, always ask the back of the room if they can hear you fine. There's nothing worse than listening to a speech or presentation and having to strain your ears to here the presenter. It's also very unpleasant to listen to a booming voice when your in a small room.

Message Delivery

Whatever you message may be, delivered in a speech or presentation, it is very important to have a strong layout for your material. Be sure to have a strong start and close. You want to capture your audience right off the bat and leave them with a close that makes them wanting more. Be sure everything flows - a choppy message can leave your audience confused and frustrated. Especially in presentations - in your closing - you should always try to recap the main points highlighted in your presentation to refresh their memories before they leave. You could have some great information for the start of your presentation, however the longer and more information you give them, the easier it will be to forget that initial information. Summarizing your presentation will allow them to remember your presentation more clearly.