Delivery is the manner in which we present our speech, everything from the way we say the words to our hand and body movements. Delivery is not everything, though good delivery is essential to a good speech and an area that improves exponentially with practice! Here are some common tricks skilled speakers use to get their message across clearly and persuasively.
Think Conversation Quality:
This phrase captures many different aspects of good delivery.
a. Rate – You do not want to speak too fast so that your audience misses some of what you have said. Though speaking very slowly could give the impression that you are not practiced or do not know the material.
b. Inflection – A very important part to delivery, inflection is the changes in pitch or tone of the speaker. We use infection all the time in our daily speech though it is easy to forget once in front of a crowd. There is a tendency to stay on the same pitch and simply read what is written, though with inflection we give the words life and add emotion to our expression.
c. Pauses – We use pauses to indicate many things: signal the end of a thought, give an idea time to sink in, and lend dramatic impact to a statement. While practicing your speech, see if there are times when you could pause to let the audience sit with something you’ve just said, especially if it is a main point or crucial to your message.
Although most when they consider speech first think of the voice, we communicate a lot with our bodies. There is much we can do to appear confident and competent at the podium.
a. Personal Appearance – Although we hate to admit it how we look matters; both to ourselves and to our audience. You don’t need a tuxedo or a satin dress to give a good speech, but dressing so that you feel presentable and professional will help you give a better speech and reduce your anxiety about being judged. Your audience will appreciate your putting your best foot forward as well, it’s a sign that you care about what you are going to say.
b. Movement – It is good to practice to see how speech anxiety influences your movement. Many develop nervous habits such as shifting their weight from one foot to the other or pacing back and forth. These will disappear as you become more comfortable in front of an audience, as well as work to control them while practicing.
c. Gestures – Motioning with your hands can be a good aid in getting your message across, though can also become a distraction. There is no right amount of gestures, just so as long as they are natural and are not so excessive as to take away the focus from the message you’re trying to convey.
d. Eye Contact – Considered the base level of communication with your audience, eye contact is the best way to establish a relationship with your audience as well as draw them in. An absence of eye contact can quickly mean an absence of the audience’s attention. Eye contact also aids in making you seem honest and credible, while failure to do so can sometimes come across as dishonest or insincere.
Prepared by GVSU Speech Lab Consultants
Information adapted from Stephen Lucas' The Art of Public Speaking, Tenth Edition.
Page last modified May 7, 2014