Public speaking hacks

2020-05-27 @Blog

What is the real objective behind your delivery? Must you attain 100%, or will 80% suffice? The 80% mark you can achieve by minimizing much of your preparation and delivery to the simplest of mechanics. Leave 100% for the marathon and consider these tips to attain an effective <100% speech.

Since almost a year back that I created this rather informal guide, it still reflects effectively everything I try to adhere to during and prior to a speech. (Where I succeed or fall short is a different matter.)

  1. Deliver as if you were delivering to two persons at a coffee shop.

    That fosters a convicting demeanor agreeable with your minimal-effort presentation: not awfully formal, not ghostly silent as to eliminate all trace of acoustic challenge, but likewise not piercingly deafening.

  2. Don’t care.

    This relaxes your delivery. Care if you really care, in which case you’ll probably have no choice but to care.

    Remember, this is a hack to project a convincing delivery at 80-90% of your potential.

  3. Speak calmly, barely above your normal speaking range.

    Don’t make severe effort to elevate the voice or make yourself clearer. Expect of others to be attent, for otherwise, your presentation lacks value.

    You shouldn’t be thinking about your vocal amplification. It should be a biproduct of your conviction to the message.

    This assumes

    1. you normally speak with sufficient coherency, for otherwise you need to work a bit on your cadence and basic utterance.
    2. you speak to a non hearing-impared audience.

    All those orators that speak powerfully, at notably heightened emphasis, may enter top-ten greatest speaker lists, but if you ask me, sound inauthentic. There is nothing in it that I’ve reason not to consider but an act.

  4. Speak from the stomach, not the throat, not the nose.

    This is something you should assimilate across all communication. It is not some alternative mode reserved strictly for public deliveries.

    For my part, this manner of guttural projection by no means comes naturally. Yet when it works, or when I hear it in another communicator, the impact is most notable.

  5. Conservative but effective gestures.

    I rather gestures support the message in the lightest of fashion, than distract or generate confusion.

    I have contempt for over-gesturing, including my own, whenever the case. As for severely minimized gesturing, I’ve witnessed some hypnotic deliveries. There’s much you can do with nothing but your eyes and a confident posture, if that’s the sort of mechanic you find natural.

  6. Unnecessary head movement transmits anxiety.

    But you need not be anxious outside the marathon; you shouldn’t care that much. Tame the head.

  7. With more descriptive/literary language, lower the pace; sometimes, significantly.

    I mainly direct this at myself. Insofar as English language speech, I’ve developed severe notoriety for rhetorics.

  8. With more vulgar/everyday language, increase the pace.

    Otherwise, you’ll squander time. Plus, no one wants to be addressed like an infant.

  9. With slides, if props you must use, less is more.

    Strip down to the minimal of supplementary content. Drop the flair. Plain text works. One-word slides is a possibility.

  10. Fit your entire outline on one side a small leaflet of paper (index card, post-it, etc).

    You mainly want to concentrate a set of compact bullet points. Script nothing else.

    This works for anything under ten minutes. For anything greater, I might extend, yet still improvise most finer detail.

  11. Rehearsal is draining. Thirty minutes should suffice for a <10-minute presentation.

    If already speaking on a familiar topic, two-four rehearsals should weed out most issues and foster an intimate presentation tone.

    Plus, if you’ve followed the previous step, and especially if composed a second draft, the bullet list handwriting mechanics lead to an effective content assimilation.

    If not speaking on a familiar topic, you shouldn’t present. It will sound inauthentic.

  12. It is okay to improvise parts or all of your presentation, provided the topic familiarity. The improvisational ability develops with time.

  13. Incorporate personal remarks into your delivery.

    Don’t make it sound academic. The remarks need not be elaborate stories, but merely sound human.

Questions, comments? Connect.