Shoreham-by-Sea West Sussex

Area 55 Governor, founder of Worthing and Eastbourne Speakers’ Clubs.

Meg has been a Toastmaster since March 2012 and finds assisting other people to improve their presentation skills and speaking ability is the most satisfying aspect of being a club member.

She can be contacted on 01273467198 or +447523013385

How to use drama to assist you with getting up onto the stage and giving a speech even when you are quaking with fear and have no idea what to say. D is for the do’s and do not’s of speech craft. R is for remembering what you need to know to speak in front of an audience, especially how to use repetition to catch the attention of the audience. A is for act as if you own the stage and have no fear and other hints on using the stage as part of your speech. M is for more, movement and memory. The last A is for alternative ways of thinking about the world around you and how you respond to the challenge of giving a speech.

Do use your body, voice and enthusiasm, to get your message across. Do not wait to hone the content, find the right words or get it word perfect, just face the fear.
Do it anyway, you will feel so good once it is done that you will want to do another one soon.

Do not be afraid to pause and smile at the people you are talking to as this encourages them to listen to you.

Do practice any changes to your speech craft for 21 days, last thing at night, first thing in the morning, while you are driving, and at least one more time during the day. It takes 21 days to change a habit and acquire a new one.

Decide what anecdotes you hear when you hear them will make great additions to your stories.

Remember that the audience want to hear what you have to say but have no idea what you are going to say, so if you write out your speech and then miss out a bit no one will know.

Repetition, repetition and repetition will assist you as you learn to think, learn to pause, learn to treat thinking like a sport, the more you do it the easier it becomes. Research and preparation are always good when giving a speech, just think about who will be the audience, what is the main purpose of the speech and what message do you want the audience to go home thinking about.

Remember a happy event is happy but an awful event makes a great speech. Rapport with your audience will always get them listening to you, ask them rhetorical a question, “hands up those who—“ During your speech feed-back to the audience some comments that they have made, “did you say that you have been there?”

Act as if you own that stage and the world is your oyster, because if you act as if you are a brilliant speaker suddenly you will find that you are one.

Always find an interesting statement to begin your speech, for instance, a sentence that begins “we were all in the room because we had to be there, not wanting to take part at all. However the minute he began his workshop we were all hooked” will grab the attention of the audience because they will want to know what happens next, or why the audience were there.

Always end the speech with a call to action, get the audience to respond even if you have to be controversial it leads to a livelier reaction.

Memorise the first 10 words of you speech, because most people only remember the first ten words they hear. Then they go to sleep and need you, the speaker, to grab their attention again.
Make the last sentence one that the audience will not forget, repeat the first line again, say the total opposite or hint that there is more to come and leave them wanting more. Many people in the audience will only remember how the speech was ended, by using something different they will remember you as well.

Movement will enable you to use your body by giving gestures, to use the stage by purposeful pacing and to change the mood of your speech with a variety of places on the stage.

Make yourself someone who is confidant, cheeky and curious, give yourself a stage presence, this works because to the audience you come across as interesting person whom they will want to listen to. It also shows that you are interested in the people around you and what makes them tick.

Multi-sensory learning, all the audience will use a different sense to get the content of your speech. If you are aware of what you are saying and how you say it then you can help the audience by using all five senses in your speech.

Approach the problem of getting up and giving a speech as fun, while you get better all the time as you speak and practice.

Also, thinking is not a matter of getting the right answer, it is much more a matter of thinking consciously to use your mind and then enjoying using it.

Another way to cope with the fear of speaking is to begin a speech confidently by using a smile to hide behind.

A smile on your face adds enjoyment to your voice, which is picked up by any audience immediately.

A speech is just the same as speaking off the cuff, it is just a matter of some preparation and the confidence to continue. It helps to train your brain not to think in straight lines as this leads to bullet point thinking and everyone runs out of things to say. Another way to hone your speech craft is to treat it like taking up any sport, join a club with like-minded people and you will find that coaching feedback and evaluations makes a big difference.

Attitude is all and learning to think and speak off the cuff will improve your ability to think and speak in front of an audience but just like any sport, it takes time and practice to get good. Always collect great sentences, wonderful repetition, and words to say as others collect china and books. Then write them down carry the book about with you.

Always try look on stressful situations as the beginning of a great speech you can now write. Become obsess by the world around you even while away on holiday. Then take your newly acquired way of being and go out and enjoy giving your speeches.