6 Hacks to Deliver a Captivating Speech

Speech is a formal expression of information, thoughts and feelings on a particular subject to an audience. Speeches hold a lot of value and if delivered properly can create a lot of impact, yet it is unfortunate that today, in many cases, they have reduced to a mere combination of words which generate monotony and drowsiness in listeners. People find speeches as a task which has to be endured with patience. How often do students actually listen to their headmaster’s speech?

It is often misconstrued that quality of speech depends upon its content only. It is a misconception. While content is undeniably the most significant part of the whole speech delivery process, but the personality and aura that a speaker radiates have a strong footing too. A badly structured speech by an eloquent speaker has the potential to create more impact than a neatly organised speech by an inarticulate speaker.
To deliver an engaging and powerful speech, here are some points you must keep in your mind:

1. What’s the Message? - The content of your speech takes precedence over everything. It is the message that it going to be communicated to your audience. Hence, it must be constructed creatively and consciously. 

Your endeavour as a speaker must be to draw all eyes and ears towards you during the whole tenure of your speech. Draw from your experiences or interesting references to explain/make a point. Make your speech informative but it is not a bad idea to add occasional humor elements in your speech. Humor gives respite. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” was not said for nothing. A lot of information can dull your audience and may deviate their attention from you. Humor keeps your audience engaged to you.

For example, if your speech is about Isaac Newton which to be delivered to students. You can always begin with how one cursed apple can mess up the life of sweet children forever. 
One clever trick you can practise is that after writing the material of your speech, read and re-read the content and introspect if someone else spoke the same words, would it hold your attention?

2. Eye-Contact is Must! - Have you seen Barack Obama delivering a speech? Have you seen Narendra Modi speaking? Have you noticed one thing similar between these two charismatic personalities? They maintain regular eye-contact with their audience.

There never was and there never will be a successful speech without good interaction with the audience. Imagine a man/woman trying to deliver a speech with his/her eyes fixed on the paper on the podium in front. No, that won’t be called a speech, that will be called reading and no one wants to see a person reading on the stage. Your job as a speaker, therefore, must be to first and foremost maintain a regular eye-contact with your audience and then must be to keep the speech interactive by asking questions. A speaker  must know whether his/her audience is able grasp and retain the message. However, questions do not mean calling one person on to the stage and asking questions, not many people will be comfortable with that. Moreover, it wastes time. Hence, it is advisable to ask yes/no questions so that audience as a whole feels included and you also know that people are interested to listen to you which will ultimately boost your confidence.

3. No Rush! - Go slow, your task as a speaker is not just to speak and be done with it, your task is to infuse information, motivation and inspiration in your audience. You aim must to ensure that your audience is able to grasp and retain your words not just for few minutes or one day but for their lifetime. Everyone remembers Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream.” Hurrying with words will just create a hullabaloo of words and generate lack of retention and attention on the part of audience.

4. Who's your audience? - As said in the first point, your speech should draw on real life personal experiences or interesting references, but, at all times, keeping your target audience in mind. Just for the sake of references, you can not give a “Friends” reference while delivering a speech in front of an age group of 60-70 Hindi speaking audience and expect the same response as you would have, had you made the reference in front of youngsters. Pre-knowledge and research about your audience before making the speech is a must. Know. what will cater to them. Remember, it is not about you. It is always about them.

5. Body Language - Will you be willing to hear a yawning man in shabby clothes standing lazily with the support of podium on the stage? Nobody wants to hear such a person and no one will ever take him seriously.

Often, it is said, the “First impression is the last impression.” It is true. A lot is at stake upon your body language since it is the first perception that your audience will have of you which will decide their interest in you. A bad body language radiates negativity whereas a well groomed personality impresses others. 

Next, when you deliver a speech, do not stand straight and stiff. You have to be relaxed. Your body itself becomes a medium of communication. Your hand gestures, your voice modulation, your body posture are aids that can strengthen every argument you make and can add a charismatic appeal to your personality.

6. Be, Well Prepared! - This does not mean you need to memorise your speech by heart. Mugging up is forbidden because one trip and your entire speech can fall apart.

Instead of mugging up, try to grasp the content of your speech and then reduce it into pointers that you are going to talk about. Read your speech as many times as possible. You can always take the paper to the podium as a security, so that you can exchange a quick glance whenever you think you are forgetting but that glance should last for a few seconds and not more, for it may break the thread of engagement with your audience.

Lastly, you must not forget that you have to maintain calmness and composure throughout. Making a mistake is not a crime for we are human beings and making mistakes is a part of our daily lives. Our strength lies in our ability to not panic.

- Vasudha Sabharwal

Source: https://mindgrad.com/free-reads/f/6-hacks-to-deliver-a-captivating-speech

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6 Hacks to Deliver a Captivating Speech 6 Hacks to Deliver a Captivating Speech Reviewed by EMN on March 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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