Lesson 16º









You can not just read the speech (if you do this it would be a lot easier to just give out photocopies to those present) you have to display your ideas in a convincing way.

You have to interpret the speech, you have to give it your best, you have to emphasize, to fill it with enthusiasm, motivate the audience, convinve, persuade, etc.

The speech has to be aimed at attracting (and maintaining) the public's attention and providing the understanding of the message.

You are not trying to astonish the public with what you know, with the richness of your vocabulary that you use, with the originality of the style that you use.

What you are trying to do is get to the public in the most direct, easiest and at the same time suggestive way.

The orator has to take care of the rhythm of the speech, trying to maintain the emotion and the public's attention during the whole speech, avoiding very intense moments, followed by not very interesting moments (you risk loosing the audience's attention).

The person that is speaking has to be concious that besides using verbal language (what he/she says, how he/she says it, vocabulary used, intonation, how loud/quiet he/she speaks, emphasise, etc) he/she also uses body language which the audience should also capture clearly (gestures, movements, expressions, postures on the stand, etc).

The majority of the times the speaker is not concsious of this body language. Therefore, it is very difficult to control it. However, given its importance it is an aspect that you need to work on in the rehearsals.

From the moment the speaker goes onto the stand the audience will begin to look at and analyze a multitude of factors (how he/she moves, his/her level of nervousness, how he/she is dressed, the tone and volume of his/her voice, his/her gestures, seriousness or smiley, etc) and with all of these factors they form an image of the speaker as someone interesting, boring, suggestive, unimportant, attractive, pathetic, ridiculous, etc.

The image that the public form of the speaker influences the amount of attention they pay to the speech, also in their predisposition to accept or not accept the ideas presented.

If this image is positive, the audience will be more likely to accept the arguments presented, whilst if it is negative the audience will probably reject them or not pay a lot of attention.

The speaker should project an image of profesionality, confidence, that they dominate the material, etc.

The speaker should show enthusiasm: it's a way of reinforcing his/her ideas, besides enthusiasm is contagious and will get the public to favour you.

You need to show a friendly face, a smile (this helps to gain the public) and avoid unfriendly gestures (they provoke rejection).

When evaluating the whole speech the public will not only bear in mind the ideas put forward and strength of the arguments, but also the speaker's image.

Therefore, you shouldn't just work hard on the text of the speech but also pay attention to other details equally important.

Within the verbal communication you need to outline the importance of the silences:

Silence plays a fundamental role in all verbal communication, but you need to know how to use it.

Silence should be used consciously (to establish pauses, outline ideas, allow the audience time to understand a concept, break the monotomy of the speech, etc).

Silence can not be used randomly, without a determined objective, as all this will do is interfere in the communication, making it difficult to understand.

You need to overcome the fear which many speakers feel which then avoid silence at all cost (as they believe that silence breaks communication).

One thing that should prevail during the whole speech is your naturalness.

The audience likes to see the speaker as a normal person, close.

The audience is usually very tolerant to normal errors which can be committed (they are caused by nerves) but if there is something that they reject it is artificialness, pomposity, someone who is unfriendly and boredom.

Finally, I want to point out a few things that the speaker should have with him/her when he/she goes up to speak:

Glass of water (to clear your voice)

Watch (to control the time; put it in a visible place where you can consult it in a discrete way).

Handkerchief (to dry your lips after drinking and just in case you sneeze - just imagine a coughing attack, or that your nose starts to drip...and the speaker without a handerchief).