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June 2001 - Presenting Your Speech

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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June 2001

Presenting Your Speech

Last month I listed ten important things to do when preparing a speech. This month I am listing ten important things to do when presenting a speech.

Successful speakers do all twenty.

  1. Decide on the method of presentation you will use--usually extemporaneous with a few notes. Most manuscript speeches sound as if they are being read. Memorized speeches sound memorized, and there is always the danger of forgetting.
  2. Control nervousness by sufficient practice--in front of others if possible. Audio recording or videotaping are also effective aids to practice.
  3. Look at the audience when you speak. Making effective eye contact with all of your listeners shows them that you are interested in them, allows you to adjust to nonverbal feedback, and enhances your credibility.
  4. Use natural and positive gestures, movement, head nods, and body language. And remember to smile. A smile builds rapport and raises your credibility with the audience.
  5. Speak clearly. Good articulation, proper pronunciation, and correct grammar are all important. They promote effective listening and understanding.
  6. Avoid overusing stock expressions such as "OK," "like," and "you know."
  7. Vary rate, volume, force, pitch, and emphasis. Variety is the spice of speaking. Listeners tire rapidly when a speaker doesn't vary delivery style or becomes monotonous.
  8. Demonstrate a genuine concern for both your subject and for your listeners.
  9. Be natural. Be conversational-talk the way you converse with people in a less structured situation. Avoid sounding "speechy."
  10. Be flexible. Adjust to the audience and speaking situation.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

June 2001 - Presenting Your Speech
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