Performing a Speech: PVLEGS
“Knowledge isn’t power; communicating knowledge is.” Chris Witt. The most brilliant ideas are worthless if the speaker can’t deliver them.
Appearing Calm and Confident
Most adults fear public speaking. It is natural to be nervous. The key is to appear calm even if you are not. Feeling stress is totally normal.
Noticing our Annoying Habits – Every speaker has some habit or distinguishing tick that is on outcome of nervousness. A few common ones are:
- head flick – bangs or long hair
- “um, uh,”
- tugging on shirt
- twirling hair
- jingling coins in pocket
- happy feet
- nervous smile or giggle
- touching face
- playing with notecards
Most speakers are unaware of their annoying habits. These habits cause the audience to lose focus.
Stance and Movement – Depends on the environment but use it to your advantage and comfort. Also, use your stance and movement as a signpost.
Step forward = emphasis
Step to one side = transition
Step to back = done with that part of the presentation
*** Be careful! Too much movement can be a distraction.
Poise comes from experience – the more you speak the better you get.
Posture - A self-possessed assurance of manner must include presenting yourself in a way that commands respect. Sit up straight when you make a comment even while in your seat. Look composed and sharp with a posture that shows you are about to present an idea worth listening to.
Tips for becoming poised:
- Visualize – In your mind go through the entire presentation. Visualize the room, the audience, and the place where you will be speaking. Imagine the perfect performance and the audience appreciation. See yourself being successful.
- Practice – Repeat your performance over and over. Practice in front of a mirror, a family member or a friend who will provide constructive criticism.
- Breathe – Take three long deep breaths before you walk up to speak. Take another breath before you speak. Do not start until you are settled and ready.
- Count backwards from four very slowly five times before you take the stage.
- Use positive self-talk – “I can do this.”
- Take a brisk walk before the speech if possible. Get the wiggles out.
Making Every Word Heard
A good presentation is a good conversation magnified! It uses animation and volume suitable for a large audience.
Volume – Practice having your voice reach the back of the room
Enunciation – No mumbling or blurring words together.
Odd vocal patterns – Voices rising at the beginning or end of a sentence need to be modified. Also, voices fading off at the end of sentences need to be fixed as well.
Putting Passion into the Voice
We need to hear your presentations: anger, excitement, joy, sadness, fear, disappointment, amazement.
Consider these phrases:
“I don’t think you are wrong.”
“You know you shouldn’t do that.”
How could you emphasize certain words to change the meaning or intention?
** Items often need to be emphasized to add life.
Ex: Drunk driving accounted for 78% of all car fatalities last year. THIS NEEDS TO BE SAID A CERTAIN WAY TO GET THE FULL DRAMATIC EFFECT INTENDED.
Eye Contact: Engaging Each Listener
Where a speaker looks is very meaningful. Do not look at just the teacher. The entire audience needs to see you, hear you, and understand you.
Using eye contact does the following:
- stops someone from talking to their neighbor
- gets the daydreamer back on tract
- gets the listener to look up at you when you look at them.
- garners attention
- ensures people feel involved and important
- provides feedback about your performance (confused expressions = they are not getting it)
Familiarize, Don’t Memorize
- Presentation is most powerful when the speaker looks at the audience constantly.
- If it is memorized word for word, it seems old, tired, and boring. It loses the conversation feel.
- Small mistakes are emphasized in a memorized speech. It makes you worry about the individual words, not ideas.
- Complete sentences and paragraphs should never be written on a note card
Matching Motions to Words
Gestures improve speaking and engage listeners. Watch people in a lunchroom or restaurant or playground. They are gesturing as they speak without even realizing it. It is natural so why not put it in your speeches? Once you teach about gestures, your students will begin to notice them all around during the day and they will start to become natural.
- Holding up fingers when counting (first, second, etc.) or (Three reasons…)
- Descriptive gestures – use your hands when indicating size
- Emphatic gestures – “Add suddenly…..!) slap the table or slap hands together
- Match your face to your mood. You shouldn’t be smiling when you are talking about something serious or sad.
- Use hands to control your audience – “Raise your hand if…..”)
- Use shoulders to shrug
- Move head while saying yes or no.
- Move your body towards the audience for emphasis, to the side for a transition or back to end your point.
- Use your eyes to squint if you are talking about something way off in the distance.
Body Talk – Put notes down – or you cannot gesture! Also, facial expressions reveal a lot, so what do you need to convey?
Pacing for a Powerful Performance
Students who have practiced will have a smaller problem with nerves and are less likely to rush. Calming techniques help too. If you go too fast, they will have enunciation issues. The audience then will get tired due to working too hard to decipher what is being said.
Pacing – This is an advanced skill so don’t work too hard on this one with beginners. Students need to feel comfortable with all other speaking aspects first.
For a dramatic effect, pacing should match the words. Speed up for exciting parts and slow down for sad or serious parts. There is power in slowing down. EX: Don’t. Ever. Do. That. Again. Is more effective than “Don’t ever do that again.”
Pausing - A pause can be powerful. It gets the audience’s attention. It is useful after a rhetorical question. Stopping also adds dramatic affect.