How to Improve Speech Delivery

Delivery is the visible part of your presentation. There are lots of small details that affect your overall performance. You can eliminate all the bad ones if you know what to focus on.

If you remember the first article about the introduction to public speaking, the delivery is the final product of your speech preparation. Lot’s of people think it is also the most important part of your speech. As you already know from previous articles, this is not exactly truth. However, let’s focus on few things that can help you give a solid presentation in terms of delivery today.

Breathing and Projection

When delivering a presentation you should breathe from your diaphragm. This ensures you won’t lose your breath. Look at the video bellow if you don’t know what diaphragmatic breathing means.

There are other benefits of diaphragmatic breathing like reduced neck stress and back pain. It is a skill that is useful beyond public speaking.

The second thing is a projection. Always project to the back of the room. Speak at volume. Don’t lose to the environmental sounds and conditions. Speaking at a proper volume helps to keep your audience engaged even though they sit at far far away from you.

Pacing and Pausing

Pacing is about the speech rate. It means how many words do you say per a specific amount of time. Many people go too fast with their presentation, mostly because of the stress. Don’t lose it.

Give your audience time to process important ideas. Slow down when stating a key point. Also, you should slow down when presenting your thesis, preview of main points and claims.

Pausing should be used to support your key ideas. It has to be done at the end of the phrase otherwise it loses its purpose. On the following video you can see what improper pausing can do for a clarity (or the lack of it) of the speech.

Gestures and Movement

Gestures must augment a clarity. They have to look intentional and purposeful. Don’t do any unnecessary gestures. Use them to highlight your key points.

Your gestures must relate to the content. Also, they should look natural. It’s an easy thing to say, but much harder to do. Practice before the mirror or record yourself and eventually you will get much better.

To make your gestures look natural, use a gesture box. Small imaginary box in front of you where you perform your hands movement. Don’t overdo it. Don’t do large gestures. Keep them inside the box.

Movement is very useful during the transitions. It supports them. Every single time stand on two feet and capture most of the audience.

Find your favorite speakers and focus on their movement. Practice it. Imitate it. Use what you like and what you think that works for them. It will probably work for you as well.


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