TIPS SHEET ON SPEAKING 1 LOOK AT THE PERSON/PEOPLE YOU’RE SPEAKING TO It may be that, occasionally, you have to look away to collect your thoughts, but look at the people you’re speaking to when you speak. It makes them feel involved and as if you’re interested in them. 2 SPEAK AT A SENSIBLE PACE Speak so that the ‘average’ person will be able to follow what you say. Too fast, and people won’t be able to pick up what you say; too slow and people will get bored and lose interest. 3 MATCH YOUR SPEAKING TO YOUR ‘AUDIENCE’ If you’re talking to someone who naturally speaks very slowly, it can help to slow down the pace at which you speak. If you’re with someone who speaks faster than you, have a go at thinking out what to say and then saying it faster than usual, rather than speaking as you think. Matching the person you’re talking to can make it a better experience for that person. 4 PAUSE Pause from time to time as you speak. This serves several purposes. It gives your audience time to absorb what you’re saying. It gives you time to collect your thoughts. It can make you look more confident – as long as your pauses aren’t so long it looks as if you’ve lost your train of thought. 5 SMILE Unless it’s an exceptionally serious, or sad, conversation, smile as you speak (and smile and nod as you listen). It makes you look friendlier and more engaged in the conversation or presentation. 6 LOOK AT INDIVIDUALS If you’re addressing a large group of people, avoid ‘scanning’ the audience as you speak. You may think this is involving them all, but it just looks odd. Instead, focus on one individual for, say, quarter of a minute and then focus on someone in a different part of the group. Although you’re looking at one person, several others around that one will also feel you’re looking at them as well. 7 VARY YOUR INTONATION If you speak in a monotone, people will fall asleep! Put some variety into your speech to make it more interesting. Remember that if your voice goes up at the end of a sentence it will come across as a question – keeping the same intonation, or dropping your voice a little, will sound more like a statement and can sound more authoritative. 8 VARY YOUR VOLUME If you introduce louder or softer elements into your speech it can make people pay attention more – but be careful only to do this appropriately – not to should or whisper just for effect! 9 CHECK YOUR AUDIENCE Notice how your audience is responding to you. If they seem engaged, that’s great. If not, something needs to change. You can try various things such as asking a question, changing the topic, moving about the room and so forth. But do make sure you change something if you feel you’re losing people. 10 ENJOY If you don’t already enjoy public speaking or presenting, or even everyday conversations, it’s time to re-assess what you do. You can either stop doing it, or learn to enjoy it – and the second of those two often comes with practising the skills. So get a coach or join a speaking group and you may well find your performance, and enjoyment really increases. Carol Harris
TIPS SHEET ON SPEAKING 1 LOOK AT THE PERSON/PEOPLE YOU’RE SPEAKING TO It may be that, occasionally, you have to look away to collect your thoughts, but look at the people you’re speaking to when you speak. It makes them feel involved and as if you’re interested in them. 2 SPEAK AT A SENSIBLE PACE Speak so that the ‘average’ person will be able to follow what you say. Too fast, and people won’t be able to pick up what you say; too slow and people will get bored and lose interest. 3 MATCH YOUR SPEAKING TO YOUR ‘AUDIENCE’ If you’re talking to someone who naturally speaks very slowly, it can help to slow down the pace at which you speak. If you’re with someone who speaks faster than you, have a go at thinking out what to say and then saying it faster than usual, rather than speaking as you think. Matching the person you’re talking to can make it a better experience for that person. 4 PAUSE Pause from time to time as you speak. This serves several purposes. It gives your audience time to absorb what you’re saying. It gives you time to collect your thoughts. It can make you look more confident – as long as your pauses aren’t so long it looks as if you’ve lost your train of thought. 5 SMILE Unless it’s an exceptionally serious, or sad, conversation, smile as you speak (and smile and nod as you listen). It makes you look friendlier and more engaged in the conversation or presentation. 6 LOOK AT INDIVIDUALS If you’re addressing a large group of people, avoid ‘scanning’ the audience as you speak. You may think this is involving them all, but it just looks odd. Instead, focus on one individual for, say, quarter of a minute and then focus on someone in a different part of the group. Although you’re looking at one person, several others around that one will also feel you’re looking at them as well. 7 VARY YOUR INTONATION If you speak in a monotone, people will fall asleep! Put some variety into your speech to make it more interesting. Remember that if your voice goes up at the end of a sentence it will come across as a question – keeping the same intonation, or dropping your voice a little, will sound more like a statement and can sound more authoritative. 8 VARY YOUR VOLUME If you introduce louder or softer elements into your speech it can make people pay attention more – but be careful only to do this appropriately – not to should or whisper just for effect! 9 CHECK YOUR AUDIENCE Notice how your audience is responding to you. If they seem engaged, that’s great. If not, something needs to change. You can try various things such as asking a question, changing the topic, moving about the room and so forth. But do make sure you change something if you feel you’re losing people. 10 ENJOY If you don’t already enjoy public speaking or presenting, or even everyday conversations, it’s time to re-assess what you do. You can either stop doing it, or learn to enjoy it – and the second of those two often comes with practising the skills. So get a coach or join a speaking group and you may well find your performance, and enjoyment really increases. Carol Harris
TIPS SHEET ON SPEAKING 1 LOOK AT THE PERSON/PEOPLE YOU’RE SPEAKING TO It may be that, occasionally, you have to look away to collect your thoughts, but look at the people you’re speaking to when you speak. It makes them feel involved and as if you’re interested in them. 2 SPEAK AT A SENSIBLE PACE Speak so that the ‘average’ person will be able to follow what you say. Too fast, and people won’t be able to pick up what you say; too slow and people will get bored and lose interest. 3 MATCH YOUR SPEAKING TO YOUR ‘AUDIENCE’ If you’re talking to someone who naturally speaks very slowly, it can help to slow down the pace at which you speak. If you’re with someone who speaks faster than you, have a go at thinking out what to say and then saying it faster than usual, rather than speaking as you think. Matching the person you’re talking to can make it a better experience for that person. 4 PAUSE Pause from time to time as you speak. This serves several purposes. It gives your audience time to absorb what you’re saying. It gives you time to collect your thoughts. It can make you look more confident – as long as your pauses aren’t so long it looks as if you’ve lost your train of thought. 5 SMILE Unless it’s an exceptionally serious, or sad, conversation, smile as you speak (and smile and nod as you listen). It makes you look friendlier and more engaged in the conversation or presentation. 6 LOOK AT INDIVIDUALS If you’re addressing a large group of people, avoid ‘scanning’ the audience as you speak. You may think this is involving them all, but it just looks odd. Instead, focus on one individual for, say, quarter of a minute and then focus on someone in a different part of the group. Although you’re looking at one person, several others around that one will also feel you’re looking at them as well. 7 VARY YOUR INTONATION If you speak in a monotone, people will fall asleep! Put some variety into your speech to make it more interesting. Remember that if your voice goes up at the end of a sentence it will come across as a question – keeping the same intonation, or dropping your voice a little, will sound more like a statement and can sound more authoritative. 8 VARY YOUR VOLUME If you introduce louder or softer elements into your speech it can make people pay attention more – but be careful only to do this appropriately – not to should or whisper just for effect! 9 CHECK YOUR AUDIENCE Notice how your audience is responding to you. If they seem engaged, that’s great. If not, something needs to change. You can try various things such as asking a question, changing the topic, moving about the room and so forth. But do make sure you change something if you feel you’re losing people. 10 ENJOY If you don’t already enjoy public speaking or presenting, or even everyday conversations, it’s time to re-assess what you do. You can either stop doing it, or learn to enjoy it – and the second of those two often comes with practising the skills. So get a coach or join a speaking group and you may well find your performance, and enjoyment really increases. Carol Harris