Ben Stein – Anyone? Anyone? Quick Write: What makes this teacher/lecture boring? In what ways is his presentation ineffective? What emotions is he conveying? What could be done differently in his presentation or style to capture the audience?
What is Oral Communication? Oral communication is not simply just reading a written text out loud. It is an interactive and real-time experience among participants that involves not only verbal language, but nonverbal delivery as well.
Two Important Messages in a Speech: The Physical Message - The way you stand, where you look, how you use your hands and vary your voice help make your speech interesting. The Story Message - A speech is like a story. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. To make a successful speech, you must organize the parts clearly and connect them together smoothly.
The Physical Message Eye contact - where we look to keep in touch with the audience as we speak. Posture - the way we stand and position our body. Gestures - how we move our hands to support our words. Voice inflection - the way we change the tone of our voice to emphasize key words.
Good Eye Contact Eye contact: Look at the audience for at least three seconds before you begin your speech. Look at several people throughout the audience (in the center, on the left, and on the right) during your speech. If you use a PowerPoint with your speech, avoid turning your back to the audience or solely looking at the PowerPoint slides. You don’t want to ignore your audience.
Good Eye Contact Practice your speech ahead of time to balance looking at your notes, any PowerPointslides, and the audience. If you use notes, make sure they are displayed in enlarged font so you can easily read them.
Good Posture Set your feet: Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Balance your weight evenly on both feet. This posture is stable and shows self-control and confidence. Set your hands: If there is no podium, hold your hands together. Keep them about waist high in front of you. This posture focuses attention on your upper body and face, and is an easy position to gesture from. Avoid standing with your arms crossed.
Gestures Gestures can help make your speech easier to understand and more interesting. By using gestures, you can emphasize certain points to capture the audience’s attention. You can use gestures to illustrate many words. Some examples are: big, small, round, square, long, short, three points, first, second, equal.
Voice and Voice Inflection Presentation voice: Take a deep breath. Begin speaking in a voice 100% louder than your usual speaking voice. Speaking loudly releases nervous energy and gives your speech enthusiasm. Presentation voice: You can choose to lower or raise your voice to emphasize certain points in your speech to capture your audience’s attention. Voice inflection means to change your voice. You can vary your voice by stressing a word or phrase, stretching a word or phrase, or pausing before a word or phrase. Stressing: I've got a BIG dog. Stretching: I've got a b--i—g dog. Pausing: I've got ... a big dog.
Pronunciation and Pacing Correct pronunciation of words during your speech is important so that your audience can understand what you are saying. If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a word, check with your teacher as you are practicing your speech. To help with pronunciation- slow your speaking down when delivering your speech. Speaking too fast can cause you to not properly enunciate letters in a word.
The Story Message When creating a speech (or adapting something you have written to turn it into a speech) it is important that you understand the audience to whom you will be speaking. Your audience will dictate how you craft your speech’s overall message, the language (formal vs informal) you use, the word choice you select, and the details you provide.
Questions to Ask Yourself • Who is my audience and what is the setting or situation? • If you are speaking to the school board at an official meeting, you would want to use formal language (avoiding slang and “text message speak”, writing in complete sentences, etc.). • If you are speaking to your peers, perhaps through a speech you are making to run for student government, your language could be more informal.
Questions to Ask Yourself • What does my audience already know about my topic? • This will determine what details you provide. If your audience knows a good deal about a subject, you will want to find ways to provide them new, fresh information. If they know little about a topic, you would want to start with the basics and then work from there. • Your audience’s knowledge about a topic will also determine your word choice. You don’t want to use words, phrases, or terms they won’t understand (unless you explain them in your speech). Likewise, you don’t want to explain terms they already know.
Questions to Ask Yourself • What is the purpose or task for my speech? A few examples: • Are you supposed to inform your audience about a topic? • Are you supposed to persuade your audience to believe something or take action about something? • Are you supposed to relate a story about your life to share lessons you have learned? • The purpose will dictate the content of your speech. It will help you craft your attention getting introduction and thesis statement, help you determine the points for your body paragraphs and the details you provide, and how you conclude your speech.
Be Brave! • It’s okay to feel nervous about delivering a speech. Most people are! • Public speaking is just like any other skill, you get stronger at it the more times you do it. • One way to help with your nerves is practicing your speech as many times as you can. Practice in front of friends, family members, neighbors, teachers, etc. Ask them to give you feedback to help you know what aspects of your speech you can keep working on. You can even practice on your own in front of a mirror, or even record yourself as you speak so you can play it back and critique yourself. • In the end, be as brave as you can and step up and deliver your speech. Believe in yourself!