Wednesday, March 05, 2008

zap your next speech

Don't just wish you could zap some life into your next presentation or speech. Here are three easy ways to improve your visual, verbal and message skills in your next speech:
- Use judicious gestures: Gestures help your audience see your point, keep you from fidgeting and keep your hands mobile (which in turn helps you avoid verbal stumbles). Take the time to plan a few well-placed gestures to underscore your points, and know where they'll occur. (Write them into your prepared remarks as a cue.)
- Walk away from your notes, at least once: Storytelling works in speeches to connect you with the audience and liven up your presentation. Plan an anecdote you know well--and rehearse it to be sure. Then, step away from the lectern and your notes to tell it, while looking directly at the audience.
- Use vocal variety to pop key words: You can spark attention by varying the tone, pitch and emphasis you give to key words in each sentence and througout the speech. Monotones put audiences to sleep, and cloud your message. If you're working with a script or speech, underline or boldface words you want to pop--then do it.

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