I went to an event this week where the keynote speaker simply stood at the podium and read his speech from his notes. It reminded me of a college professor I had during a summer class at the University of North Carolina who walked into the class, opened his notebook, and read the lecture. At the end, he closed the notebook and walked out. Both cases are examples of people who don’t have a clue about what speaking in public is all about.
Make some notes here readers, because whether you speak in front of crowds, lead a team at work, teach a Sunday School class, or lecture your kids, you need to understand what makes a great speech, lecture, or sermon work. Most of us think that content is the most important thing for speakers, but the truth is, no matter how great your content, if it’s delivered in a mind-numbing way, it won’t matter because the audience will turn you off. On the contrary, content, vocal delivery, body language, movement – all contribute to a memorable experience for the listener.
Please don’t just stand up and just read your speech. You might as well make copies and hand them out at the door because it will be much more helpful and far less agonizing. Here’s the thing to remember – during a speech in a public place, your body movements matter enormously. You should be giving a physical interpretation of your content as you speak. Move around, use your hands to illustrate your points, raise and lower your voice, tell a story, and captivate your audience.
It’s not about flash and it’s not about impressing anyone. It’s about making your talk come alive visually. Remember that we remember far more about what we see than what we hear, so take as much time preparing your physical expression as you do your content and see what happens.
Your audience will be most appreciative.