Chapter 4: Stand and Deliver
More Tips on Nonverbal Cues:
- Make eye contact with as many people as you can in the room.
- Incorporate natural, unrehearsed, hand gestures in your speech to add interest and emphasis.
- Dress comfortably and appropriately.
- Be sure your hand gestures aren't going to be offensive to your audience—particularly your international attendees.
- Don't try to spruce up your speech with contrived gestures.
Taking Care of External Factors:
Murphy's Law says: Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It tells us that there are certain things out of our control. Well, that's not exactly true.
Though you can't control every single factor that may affect the success of your speech, you can manage a large majority of them.
So how do you keep external conditions in check? Stick to the plan, the following guidelines may help:
- Ensure the size of the room accommodates the number of attendees: If the location is too crowded, the attendees will be distracted or cause a distraction due to the lack of seats.
On the other hand, if the room is too big for the group, that's going to make the attendees feel disconnected and you'll spend a lot of your time trying to draw them in.
You should also ensure that the room accommodates other activities too. For example, if you expect your audience to take notes then there needs to be appropriate desk space.
- Ensure there is sufficient light for you and the audience:
Even if the you're going to be speaking in a room that only lights up the stage, you should still ensure there is enough light for audience members to enter, exit, and find their seats.
- Deal with outside noises: If your speech gets drowned out by outside noises, like a kid yelling down the hall, simply pause until the noise ceases.
If the situation is getting too out of hand, it's okay to let your audience know you need to take a minute or so to address the distraction.
- Handle the disruption: As the speaker, you're in charge.
If someone is making noise, talking on a cell phone, or do anything else to throw you off your game, let them know you'd appreciate it if they reduced the noise or handled their business outside.
- Use a microphone: If you're talking to more than 200 people you need a microphone. Please check the amplification system to ensure it works.
Conduct a sound check to determine whether your equipment is functioning. Think about how you plan to deliver your speech to determine the type of microphone you plan to use.
If you're going to be moving around, use a clip on microphone called a lavalier. They're small and can allow you to move close to your audience.
With a standard microphone, maintain about six inches between your mouth and the piece you hold in your hand or have on a stand.
- Plan ahead: Take a look at where you're supposed to stand before your talk. Also, be sure that the podium or lectern you requested is actually in place.
When it comes to external factors, you're responsible for ensuring that the atmosphere will facilitate successful communication between you and your audience.