In a recent post, we discussed the most important part of a presentation. There are several key elements, but by far the most important is:
The thoughts and feelings of the audience listening to you.
If you missed that post, you can read it: CLICK HERE
The Negative Impact of Poor Mechanics
Audience members thoughts and feelings are most important. But, there are other elements to focus on so that you provide the best possible experience.
Imagine you’re listening to a well-known speaker. During his speech, you notice that every 30 seconds, he runs his right hand through his hair. Within 5 minutes, you’re fixated on his hand, waiting for him to run it through his hair again.
How does this impact his message?
You don’t hear a single word he says for the rest of his talk!
His “mechanics” have negatively impacted his influence on you.
Poor mechanics usually stand out more than good ones. Excellent speech delivery (ie. vocal variety, facial expressions, or body language) is like the seasoning on a good meal… the finishing touch on a great experience.
If the seasoning isn’t good, it can ruin that experience.
When Should You Give Attention To Your Delivery?
When crafting your speech, creating a clear and concise message is the most important element to focus on. Once you’re you’re clear on that, it’s time to focus on your delivery.
There are many opinions on how to effectively deliver stories and presentations. One that has helped me and my clients comes from Lance Miller, Toastmasters 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking. He says,
“Message drives the mechanics of your speech.”
If you are sharing a message for which you feel genuine enthusiasm, your hands, voice and face will ‘fall into place.’ They’ll serve as an extension of that message.
This is contrary to what many coaches teach about practicing rehearsed and staged “gestures.” Although they’re well-meaning, they’re not serving you well with this suggestion.
When you’re having a conversation in your home, with friends, or at work, do you use practiced and rehearsed movements?
No. You speak, and your body follows.
If you struggle with this idea, there are masters of communication you should observe. They get their point across, sometimes without words, and their movements are natural and match their emotions.
Who are these masters of communication?
There is no planning to their delivery. They just do it.
They get their point across, don’t they?
How to Improve Your Mechanics
Here are some other suggestions to help improve the most common mechanics issues:
One of the most common phrases I hear from new speakers is, “I don’t know what to do with my hands!”
Drop them to your sides, and forget about them. Your hands will follow the action of the speech, especially when you have enthusiasm for your material.
If you struggle with this, here’s a tip that has helped me and my clients:
Hold a water bottle (or soda, if your prefer) in each hand. Drop your hands to your sides. Once you’re speaking, the sloshing of the water will get your attention. If you raise your hands to an unnatural, pre-rehearsed gesture, you’ll immediately notice. With enough repetition, you’ll stop the distracting mannerism.
It’s been said, “You can’t smile too much when you are presenting.”
I agree. Your face is the first part of you the audience sees. They see it before you walk on stage. A genuine smile will warm the audience to you, and make them anticipate your message even more.
Most people don’t smile as much as they think they do. They will often disagree with me when I say, “You’re not smiling very much. Smile more.”
“But, I WAS smiling!”
I never argue when I hear this response. Instead, I suggest they use the most valuable tool available to accelerate your speaking growth…
THE Fastest Way to Improve Your Mechanics
If your mechanics are distracting from your message, the quickest way to improve is to video record your speeches.
I know what you may be thinking:
“Video tape myself?”
“I can’t stand to watch myself on video!”
If you’re not thinking that, consider yourself lucky, because that’s how most people feel.
If that was your first thought, here’s my reply:
You don’t like to hear yourself or watch yourself on video?
That’s too bad.
We had to watch you. We had to listen to you.
I can’t take credit for that response. That’s what my coach said to me the day I told him, “Darren, I really don’t like watching myself on video.”
Every time I share that line — “we had to watch you” — it gets a laugh. Underneath it is a hard truth:
If you’re not willing to evaluate your own speeches, you can’t possibly ask anyone else to listen to you.
It is uncomfortable to watch yourself. However, with several viewings, that uncomfortable feeling goes away.
To supercharge the insights into your speaking, combine any evaluations you receive with your speech recording. Other peoples’ feedback will make more sense to you when you can see it through their eyes.
You’ll notice areas that need improvement. You’ll understand what your evaluators are seeing.
Reviewing your video is the quickest way to improve the mechanics of your speech.
Remember, authentic delivery of your speech can put the ‘finishing touch’ on a positive experience for the audience.
Your enthusiasm will create a positive impact on your face and body.
If you have distracting mannerisms, watch video of yourself. Make adjustments.
Then get up and speak again.
Those distractions will quickly decrease, while your impact on your audience increases!
Improve Your Speaking Skills WITHOUT Feeling Embarrassed In Front Of An Audience
How would you like to quickly improve your speaking skills without having to track down audiences?
Presentation improvement is dependent on quality feedback. It’s not always easy to find people to offer that when it’s convenient for your schedule.
Wouldn’t it be great to have access to speech feedback WHENEVER you want?
Now you can.
Speaking CPR’s new speech diagnosis tool gives you specific and measurable feedback. It shows you your strengths and areas where you need improvement.
With the push of one button and a computer camera, you can receive INSTANT evaluations. You’ll speed up your speaking growth and leave greater impact with more people.
To discover how this tool can provide value to you, schedule a brief, complimentary ZOOM call. Click here: https://calendly.com/speaker017/15-minute-diagnosis