September 28, 2012
You notice some speakers look flawless, some have a few quirks, and some just bug you. You wonder what you may look like as a speaker, whether it’s just in a staff meeting or a formal presentation.
Who wants to spend days in an immersion course in being a world-class speaker? You just want a few items for polishing.
A little milling is good. Too much wandering just makes the listener have to work and makes you look nervous. If you stray over to one area of a stage, stop there and stand still for a little longer than you think you should. Then change position.
Find 2 typical gestures for you that feel comfortable and appropriate in speaking. Perhaps the cupped hands, the open arms, or the Clinton thumb-pointer. More than 2 creates an inconsistent look in your delivery. If you use your arms, use them comfortably, not as if you are unsure about outstretching them.
You may have lots to say. You may want to rattle on with it too. Intersperse your detailed delivery with something to let the listener breathe. Oversimplify occasionally. Generalize intermittently as well.
Tone & Speed
The listener can get weary with someone that drones on, as well as with an intonation too intense. Think of your content as paragraphs. Pause at the end of a paragraph or a key point. Modulate your tone so that some parts can be emphasized and to create a more interesting variety of delivery. Speaking in bullet points and lists is also a great way to give structure to your speech, keeping the listener more aware of where you are in a delivery.