Articles in category: Delivery Techniques

If you give a great speech, but nobody can hear you, does it really count?

Before your message can transform your audience, the sound of your voice must be heard by your audience. It sounds really simple, but I’m shocked by how often I have to strain to hear a presenter.

In this article, we examine strategies for being heard and varying speech volume to improve your effectiveness.

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Your eye contact impacts your ability to connect with your audience and, by extension, your effectiveness as a speaker. In this article, we offer simple strategies for producing more eye contact and better eye contact.

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Making eye contact with an audience is one of the most terrifying things about presenting a speech in public. Because it’s scary and difficult, several myths about eye contact exist to help us cope with our fears. These myths swirl around meeting rooms, conference halls, Toastmasters clubs, and classrooms, and if you listen closely, you might hear presenters whispering them to one another.

Unfortunately, none of these myths help a presenter’s delivery.

In this article, you will learn why these myths don’t work, and discover how you can move toward effective eye contact instead.

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A long-time reader asks:

What’s the average speaking rate? Is it better to speak faster or is is better to speak slower?

In this article, we answer these questions and look at the factors which influence your speaking rate, a critical component of your delivery.

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The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides is the latest in a series of best-selling presentation books by Garr Reynolds (of Presentation Zen fame). While his previous books inspired his readers to craft better visuals, this book teaches readers how to deliver more naturally.

This article is the latest of a series of public speaking book reviews here on Six Minutes.

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Full-day training courses offer many challenges for speakers, including:

  • massive preparation requirements;
  • physical and mental fatigue (for both the speaker and audience); and
  • maintaining interest requires dynamic delivery and varied presentation techniques.

If you can overcome these challenges, you can provide significant value for your audience.

This past week, I was fortunate to attend a series of full-day training courses (Usability Week 2012 in San Francisco, offered by the Nielsen Norman Group). While my focus was building my usability knowledge, it was also a great opportunity to learn from people who speak regularly around the world. One of these speakers was Marieke McCloskey, who taught my first session of the week.

This article offers 28 tips for designing and presenting training courses inspired by Marieke’s strengths and areas for improvement.

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Effective use of speech pauses is a master technique.

If you do it right, nobody is conscious of your pauses, but your ideas are communicated more persuasively.

If you do it wrong, your credibility is weakened, and your audience struggles to comprehend your message.

In this article, we examine:

  • benefits of effective speech pauses;
  • techniques for using pauses naturally (there are more than you think); and
  • communications research which provides clues to why pauses help us communicate effectively.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Several readers sent in questions related to impromptu speeches, including Matthias K.:

I’m pretty comfortable when I have days or even weeks to prepare a speech, but I REALLY struggle when I’m asked to speak at a moment’s notice. Do you have any tips for impromptu speaking?

In this article, you’ll find a set of tips that will make you shine the next time you are asked to speak on the spur of the moment.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Speaking outdoors is one of the most difficult challenges faced by a public speaker.

Do you know how to overcome the obstacles in this difficult scenario?

An anonymous Six Minutes reader asks:

Every speech I’ve heard given outdoors has been pretty much a disaster. Have I just been unlucky, or is this an impossible venue? Is there any way to succeed?

In this article, we’ll examine the unique challenges of speaking outdoors, and give several tips for effectively getting your message across.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve discovered a fascinating statistic that clinches your persuasive argument. You save it for your last point, and deliver it clearly. You expect a wave of emotion to hit your audience, but…

Nothing. Your audience doesn’t react at all. Do they not get it?

If this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. A Six Minutes subscriber, Akiko Takeshita, sends this question via email:

I wonder if you have any advice for working statistics into a speech. Sometimes it works for me, but I often feel like the audience isn’t impacted by the statistic when the statistic seems very powerful to me. What am I doing wrong?

In this article, we examine the importance of using statistics in your speech, and how to do so effectively.

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This article is part of the 12 Days of Ask Six Minutes.
This event is over now, but you can send your questions anytime.

Reading a speech is not the recommended way to deliver a speech.

But, there are many occasions where you may find yourself in exactly this situation, whether due to the circumstances of the event or unavoidable constraints on time. Or, maybe you’ve got to read a speech that you haven’t written!

When you must read a speech, are there ways to enhance your delivery? Two Six Minutes readers approach this question from different perspectives:

Patricia McArver writes:

How should a speechwriter mark up copy so that the speaker will deliver the message with emphasis and pauses in the right places? As a writer, you think it’s obvious, but that’s not always the case.

Jacob Miller asks:

Do you have any tips for annotating a speech? When I try to read my speeches, I frequently get lost in the print, and sometimes I put the emphasis in the wrong places. Is there anything I can do other than the obvious — practicing more?

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