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The Art of Speaking  

Tips on talking

Making like a boy scout is a good way to get ready for those talks you want to avoid.

Preparing for a speech is one of the best ways to ensure you give an effective presentation.

 Organize your speech in a logical sequence:

  • opening
  • main points 
  • summary

Practice and rehearse a speech frequently before delivering it. Ask friends to be your audience, or practise in front of a mirror.

Be sure to use a timer to help you pace your speech.

Become familiar with the stage or the setting where the speech will take place. Get a sense of the size of the stage, where any steps or obstacles might be, and where to enter and exit.

Choose comfortable clothes to wear, but always maintain a professional appearance.

Visual aids should fit a speech, whether they are funny, serious or technical.

The main goal of visual aids is to help the audience understand what is being said, and reinforce the points of a speech in unique and interesting ways.

Remember your body language

Speakers generate a great amount of emotion and interest through the use of non-verbal communication, often called gestures or body language.

A speaker's body can be an effective tool for emphasizing and clarifying the words they use, while reinforcing their sincerity and enthusiasm.

Here are a few tips on how to use gestures effectively:

  • Eye contact establishes an immediate bond with an audience, especially when a speaker focuses in on individual listeners rather than just gazing over the audience as a whole.
  • Control mannerisms. Mannerisms are the nervous expressions a speaker might not be aware of such as putting their hands in their pockets, nodding their head excessively, or using filler words like um and ah too often.
  • Put verbs into action when speaking to an audience by physically acting them out with the hands, face or entire body.
  • Avoid insincere gestures by involving the entire body as much as possible in the movement and matching facial expressions to it.
  • Move around the stage as topics change and move toward the audience when asking questions, making critical connections, or offering a revelation.


More The Art of Speaking articles

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About the Author

The mission of a Toastmaster Club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment that offers every member the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

There are eight Toastmasters clubs in the Central Okanagan.

For more information and/or to find a club near you, check http://www.toastmasters.org.



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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