Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

The Art of Speech Giving

Posted on: February 16, 2011

  As Colin Firth scoops up award after award for his portrayal of stammerer George VI in The King’s Speech, Kuhnke Communication is providing you with some top tips for speech giving.

It is well known that a fear of speech giving is up there with a fear of death. Uncertainty about how to engage with your audience and anxiety of being judged by your listeners can impact on your ability to present. Here’s how to deliver a clear, concise and confident speech.

  1. Claim your space. You have the right to be heard and the right to speak. Remember that people ask you to speak because they are interested in getting to know you and hearing what you have to say.
  2. Avoid fiddling with your clothes or fussing with your hair. When you move, make sure your gestures and expressions support and illustrate your message, not detract from it.
  3. Connect with your listeners. Before you speak find out about them: their interests, needs and concerns. The more you know about your audience the better you are able to gear your remarks to them.
  4. Be articulate. No matter how smart you are, how powerful your message, and how compelling your story, if you can’t be understood you might as well send a memo. Warm up your vocal mechanism by going to a quiet place before you speak and doing a few hums and tongue twisters.
  5. Make sure your message touches your audience and calls them to action. No matter what your subject, leave your listeners thinking about what they’re going to do next. If your speech is about politics, encourage your audience to vote and volunteer. If you talk about cooking, encourage your listeners to host a dinner party.
  6. Tell stories and anecdotes, and include examples. Use vivid language, including metaphors and similes.
  7. Structure your content. Break down your speech into four parts: introduction, main body [use no more than three main points], summary and action steps.
  8. Speak only when you are looking at your audience. Have your opening and closing remarks memorised. If you need to refer to your notes, pause, look at them, and then look up at your audience and speak.
  9. Breathe from your diaphragm. When you’re nervous the tendency is to breathe from your upper chest, causing you to be top heavy and unbalanced. Stand with your feet placed squarely beneath your hips and shoulders to give you a solid foundation from which to speak.
  10. Remember, your audience wants you to do well. No one wants to see a speaker fail, so have fun! If you enjoy what you’re doing, so will your listeners.

For more information, visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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3 Responses to "The Art of Speech Giving"

[…] Kuhnke provided some excellent tips on how to be confident in public speaking with the post “The Art of Speech Giving.” Particularly relevant, especially as more coaches are moving into the presentation arena and with […]

Thanks for these great tips Elizabeth. When I read them I could see myself in some of them (successes as well as less good performances!) I think the last point is so true, and it’s important to have fun and enjoy the experience. The audience will pick up on this, and it can be infectious!!

Thank you for your much appreciated comments, Debbie. Sometimes it’s beneficial to remember performances where everything hasn’t gone to plan as we can learn and grow from them. So glad some of the points resonate with you.

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