Before I went to my first day of Communication 101, I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about giving speeches and proper communication skills. Turns out, there’s a lot more to it than just standing in front of the room and delivering your speech as quickly as possible and running back to your seat to give the next person a chance to go. Upon giving my first speech, an impromptu speech where we introduced ourselves to the class, my entire body was overrun with a nervous inability to even think about what I wanted to say.
In class, however, we learned some useful tips to limit our nervousness in front of the class and to enhance our performance when delivering a speech. The golden rule of speech-giving? Don’t panic, to the audience you do not even look half as nervous as you feel. But, should your nerves still get the best of you, you can try taking deep breaths to refocus your mind. Another important trick to radiating confidence is to remember the acronym “SPEAK”. Smile, Posture, Eye Contact, Animation/Attitude, Kinetics (gestures). If you monitor these 5 simple things, you will appear highly confident and knowledgeable about your topic.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to memorize your entire speech verbatim. In fact, this could be detrimental to your delivery because it may make you sound mechanical and emotionless. It is actually better to memorize the key words and create a plan of presentation that outlines the order in which you hope to present the main points of your speech. This way, you will sound more natural and relaxed and still manage to cover each main point of your topic.
I am a Junior at UWSP majoring in Psychology with an emphasis in Human Services and a minor in French. I have had the wonderful opportunity to live in many different countries including the Czech Republic and France. Anyone who has ever been to a foreign country would understand how frustrating it can be to have a message to communicate but having the audience misinterpret the meaning. It’s funny how similar this is to giving a speech. In both situations, the goal is to convey your meaning (whether educating or persuading others) to your listener as effectively as possible.
The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.
– Peter Drucker