How to Make Sure Your Speech Flows
It’s very important that your speech have an intrinsic rhythm or “flow”; otherwise, it may come across to listeners as staccato, dull and/or uninspiring. But how do you ensure that your next presentation has a natural cadence that adds to the clarity and energy of the information being conveyed?
Though some people do have a natural gift for writing and delivering speeches that keep audience members spellbound from beginning to end, it’s absolutely fine if you didn’t receive that talent at birth. The ability to create a “flowing” presentation can be learned, and it’s probably much easier than you think.
To begin, try these top seven suggestions for maximum results during your next public speaking engagement:
1. Pace Yourself
Great public speakers know that the clock isn’t their enemy; it’s their friend. Keep a wrist or pocket watch on the podium or somewhere easy-to-spot, as its presence will ensure that you won’t have to rush at any point during your speech.
2. Tape Yourself
Most people hate the sound of their own voices or the way they look on camera, but if you want to become a better speaker, it’s time to get out the video camera (or at least the tape recorder.) Record yourself giving a 15-20 minute speech and then play it back. Watch and listen for times when your energy is waning and the flow seems “off”. The more often you do this, the more comfortable you will become with keeping a steady tone and cadence, even if you have to give an unexpected speech.
3. Practice Your Speech
You might be surprised to hear that there are quite a number of speech makers who feel that they shouldn’t bother to practice a presentation lest the “magic” and “spontaneity” of it be lost. Unfortunately for them (and their audiences), what usually happens is that the speech has little flow and the public speaker bounces from one topic to another with the unpredictability of a ping pong ball. Instead of doing likewise, practice your speech alone… or, better yet, in front of a trusted colleague, family member or friend. (Pets do well in a pinch, too, just to give you a sense that someone’s watching and listening.)
4. Evaluate Your Speech for Superfluous Add-ons
As you’re writing your speech, evaluate every aspect of it for necessity. Though some information may seem relevant to you at first glance, ask yourself if listeners honestly need to know what you are dying to tell them. And if the answer is “no”, take out that piece of the presentation. When your speech is free of fluff, it will have a much better flow.
5. Stick to Your Topic
Having a point should be the main goal of every speech writer; but it doesn’t always happen that way. Some writers and speakers can be quite sloppy, and the flow of their presentations reflect their inability to boil a speech down to its elementary essence. As you’re writing your speech, do as you did in #4 above – ask the tough questions of yourself and be prepared to jettison anything that doesn’t belong.
6. Be Enthusiastic
Even if you’re not “sold” on your topic, have a passion for it when presenting. (Or at least learn how to act like you do.) Otherwise, finding and sustaining a natural flow will be nearly impossible and listeners will not be engaged in the experience, as they’ll immediately sense that you’re uninspired.
7. Know Your Subject
Finally, it’s vital to know what you’re talking about, even if that means you have to research and study for tens of hours before writing and giving your speech. Let’s face facts – if you don’t have a clue as to your topic, it will be difficult to have a rhythm when discussing it in front of a crowd. Do your homework, and you’ll be ready for anything during your speech.