Impromptu Speaking

Good speakers know how to Listen

Giving a speech without preparation is challenging. Mark Twain, one of the most celebrated American novelist and essayist, on more than one occasion has admitted, off-the-cuff speaking wasn’t as easy as he made it appear to be. Continue reading “Impromptu Speaking”

Your Unnecessary Words

pexels-photo-890550.jpegOne of the best ways to find your – (SOs, THATs, BUTs..etc )  all those unnecessary words you add to your speeches, is to convert your written copy – your copy for the eye, to a copy for the ear. When you write your speech for the ear, those unnecessary words seem to jump out at you. You may also notice they are used more frequently at the beginning, or at the end of your sentences.

Converting your speech from – written for the eye, to a copy for the ear is simple. If you are using Microsoft Word, cut and paste your speech as written, to create a second copy. Add lines to that second copy – (Go to Page Layout – add lines continuous) Next, edit each sentence as the line will be delivered.   Add markers,,,, for pauses and look for opportunities to re-edit the speech for a more natural delivery.

Here is an example from one of my speeches entitled – Lost.

LOST

Ever lost your keys or your wallet, and as if that was not bad enough, you lost your mind and naively asked your kid, the smart one with all the answers “did you see my wallet” only to get that dreaded response-that would make any saint a sinner.  “Where was the last place you left it, daddy”. ……

Edited  For the Ear

1. Ever lost your keys,,,,, your wallet … And

2. as if that wasn’t bad enough,,,,

3. You lost your mind,,,

4. naively asking your kid,  the smart one with all the answers,,,,

5. “did you see my wallet”

6. only to hear that dreaded response

7. that would make any saint a sinner,,,,,,

8. “Where was the last place you left it, daddy”……..

Review both copies, the copy for the eyes and for the ears.   Strike out all your unnecessary words also replace your UM’s and AH’s with a breath. Make them silent UM’s and Silent AH’s.  After you have done this exercises a few times, you will notice a big change in your delivery. You will also begin to realize, unnecessary words only add time and very little value to the delivery and quality of your speeches.

Opening To Close

Do you close to open or open to close.

800px-Broadway_BridgeWhen you are preparing to deliver a speech what are your goals? Do you focus on choosing a topic that will grab your audience attention, or do you focus on choosing an opening that is strong enough to open or close? I often go with the latter and have had my best results when I choose an opening to close. Let me explain.

While your topic selection should always be an attention grabber, your opening and closing more often than not will determine if you are able to connect and hold the attention of your audience from beginning to the end of your speech. Whether you decide to write out your speech or use bullet points, your opening and closing should be so well rehearsed and internalized, you should be able to spontaneously deliver both at will to open or close your speech.  Your opening and closing should also have an intimate relationship with each other. Your closing can be a call to action or callback to your key points. Whatever you decide, your closing should relate in some way to your opening. It is for that reason I recommend that you close to open or open to close. Give it a try. 

When you prepare for your next speech, write out your ending first. Condense that ending into a single sentence to make that sentence your opening statement.  That statement should short and profound.  Give it a try and if it doesn’t work for you the first time, this one is not water under the bridge. Like the bridge above, with each try at a new opening, you too will discover new ways of opening to close.

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