TIPS FOR SPEAKERS

Reprinted from Psychology Today.

Decide on Your Specific Objectives First. Before you think about anything else, know one or two major points you want to communicate. Then plan the best way to get them across.

Put Yourself in Your Audience's Place. Recognize how you and most of the audience differ in attitudes, interests and familiarity with what you are talking about. Then speak to them on their terms, in their language.

Don't Memorize, Don't Read. Except for a few carefully chosen gems--memorable phrases or examples you know will work well--be as spontaneous as possible. Don't rehearse to the point that you find yourself saying things exactly the same way each time. Use brief notes to keep yourself organized.

Speak to One Person at a Time. Looking at and talking to individuals in the audience helps keep you natural; it feels foolish orating at one person. Speak to that person as long as it is mutually comfortable, usually up to 15 seconds.

Try Not to Think About Your Hands and Facial Expressions. Instead, concentrate on what you want to get across and let your nonverbal

communication take care of itself. Conscious attention to gestures leads to inhibition and awkwardness.

Take It Slow and Easy. People in an audience have a tremendous job of information processing to do. They need your help. Slow down, pause and guide the audience through your talk by delineating major and minor points carefully. Remember that your objective is to help the audience understand what you are saying, not to present your information in record time.

Speak the Way You Talk. Speak as you do in casual conversation with someone you respect. Expecting perfection is unrealistic and only leads to tension. The audience is interested in your speech, not your speaking.

Ask for Advice and Criticism. For most people, careful organization and a conversational style add up to a good speech. A few speakers, however, have idiosyncrasies that distract an audience. Solicit frank criticism from someone you trust, focusing on what might have prevented you from accomplishing your objectives.

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