Impromptu----off-the-cuff speech with little preparation, usually untimed, with organization-while-speaking
KEY STEPS IN EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
Ad-lib----Instant speech or communication with no time to prepare
Extemporaneous----The kind used in this class, a type of speaking in
which the presenter spends time in preparation and uses notes,
outlines and research to organize the speech.
Manuscript----Fully-written speech delivered word-for-word.
***Do not write the speech out word-for-word. You will strictly read it. Make notes
of key sentences, phrases and illustrations which you want to develop and
embellish and amplify your supporting points from those.
THE SIX WORDS OR PHRASES TO ELIMINATE FROM
SPEECHES AND VOCABULARIES
***"Tell" the speech to your audience....do not read it!
***Use proper grammar. After the first speech, every grammatical error (incorrect
tenses, subject/verb agreement, etc., results in an automatic 2 points off of your speech).
NOTE: I once had a student deliver 43 grammatical errors in a speech!
***Use the word "you" often. Make it conversational....the more you say the word "you,"
the more you relax and "talk to," instead of "speak at" your audience.
***Do not speak in long, run-on sentences. Keeping sentences shorter
and digestible will reach your audience better.
***When speaking of a series of items, do not use superflous phrases. (EX: in
referring to how to be a good shopper, do NOT say, you want to look
for value, quality, good workmanship, and stuff like that). The phrase
"stuff like that" at the end of a series of items is unnecessary and poor.
***Do not make assuming statements, such as "everybody knows...." The item you
describe may be one almost no one in your audience knows.
***Project to your audience.....do not speak in monotone, or in soft tones.
If your audience cannot hear you, they won't grasp what you are saying.
***Use expressive inflection (rising or falling tones of expression for
emphasis----rising usually for enthusiastic, emphatic communication;
falling for change-of-pace, serious, deliberate communication). Vary it.
Otherwise, you'll drift into a sing-song pattern.
***Use eye contact with your audience....the best way to do this is to
look them in the eye and vary the people at whom you look. The
best way to maintain eye contact is to do the following:
***PRACTICE YOUR SPEECH AT LEAST THREE OR FOUR TIMES BEFORE
DELIVERY IN CLASS: Do it at least once in front of a mirror and once,
if possible, in front of a friend or family member. If you have
researched your speech well, the information is there. Practice
is the key to making it a success. If you practice, you'll likely
become so familiar with the material, eye contact will be easier.
Do NOT let the family member be your mother. Moms are meant
to love us and think everything we do is great; they aren't the most
objective in the world, except when we leave the house poorly dressed.
(1) LIKE---Generation X's most prevalent crutch word. The only acceptable use
of "like" is when drawing a comparison or contrast----not as in your standard
Ask yourself this question: would our Lord Jesus Christ have taught his disciples
to pray, "Like, Our Father. Who art, like, in Heaven. Like, hallowed be, like,
Thy name. Like, Thy Kingdom, like, come. Like, Thy will be, like, done?"
(2) YOU KNOW----Next to "like," this is the worst communication crutch. For one
thing, this is an assuming phrase (indeed, does everybody know?). Second,
I once had a student repeat this 23 times (along with 18 "like" references)
in one speech. "You see" would be a parallel to this.
(3) REALLY----Far too often used as a descriptive word ("really great," "really cool,"
"really awesome"). The word is a cliche. A limited use may be acceptable,
but no more than twice a speech.
(4) BASICALLY----Too many speakers, in conversation and speeches, are now using
the term "basically" as a qualifier which is often unnecessary. Most assertions
either are or aren't true and to use the word "basically" is to create doubt.
(5) STUFF LIKE THAT----As stated earlier, a useless, superfluous sentence-ending
(6) KINDA/SORTA----Far worse than basically, because Generation X is beginning
to use these two unnecessary qualifiers more often than "basically." (EX:
"I kinda want to tell you about the wreck I had last night. I sorta ran in front
of a car.") Folks, you either want to tell somebody about this or you don't and
you either ran in front of the car or you didn't. Get rid of KINDA/SORTA!
POSTURE & BREATHING TECHNIQUES
***STAND UP STRAIGHT: Do not slump, rest your hands against the edge
of the desk or podium, cross one leg in front or behind the other,
or make jerking motions. Simply stand up straight in a relaxed
fashion. You will look and feel more confident.
***REST HANDS AGAINST THE REAR PORTION OF THE PODIUM: This will help
you maintain a better and more erect posture. It keeps your hands closer
to you for gestures and allows you easier reach of your note cards.
***DON'T BEND YOUR KNEES: Again, it will make you slump.
***DON'T PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK: You'll have a tendency to
rock back-and-forth if you do this and this distracts your audience....plus, it
can make you stoop-shouldered.
***GESTURE: Don't OVER gesture, but do so for impact and emphasis on
key points you're trying to make. Hand motions can go a long
way to increasing your audience's concentration.
***SMILE, WHEN APPROPRIATE: If it is a speech on an upbeat topic and
one you are enthusiastic about, a smile can help sell a speech.
Don't be grim on a fun topic.
***BE AWARE OF FACIAL EXPRESSION: Your face has everything to do with
how the audience regards your speech. They can see if you care about your
topic by "reading" your eyes, eyebrows, and facial "intensity." Let it work for you!
***IF YOU'RE NERVOUS BEFOREHAND, LET OUT TWO OR THREE GOOD DEEP BREATHS:
You'll be surprised how this will relax you, or at least ease tension in your
muscles. Also, if you can appropriately work into your speech introduction that
you're nervous, it can also let your audience sympathize with you. Humor is
another good way to loosen up in the early part of a speech.
***EYE CONTACT, EYE CONTACT, EYE CONTACT: I can't emphasize it enough.
Without it, the speech dies. Those of you who persist in reading
a speech word-for-word will fall down miserably in this area.
That's why I say....prepare well enough that you can "tell" your speech.
***DON'T MAKE JERKY OR ABRUPT BODY MOVEMENTS: Rocking from side to
side, walking back-and-to away from the platform, or leaning
over the platform will force the audience's concentration
on your distracting body movements, rather than your information.
***DON'T MAKE THIS INTO BRAIN SURGERY: This is one small step in your
life if you've never done this before. A number of your fellow class members
are experiencing the same emotions. There's security in numbers here. Plus,
your instructor is acutely aware you are not a great orator. You're here to learn
confidence, courage and communication skills. This will not be the most
traumatic thing you face in your life (you who have experienced childbirth
know what I mean). Try to have fun with this....remember, your instructor is
pulling for you to do well and the class will be encouraged to do the same!
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