Everytime we speak we have an opportunity to refine our skills. Whether it’s for one minute while giving a timer’s report, 1-2 minutes for table topics, 2-3 minutes for an evaluation or for a longer role, a great deal of our speaking skill can be seen in just a few moments.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book (called Blink) on the subject of how we make snap judgments based on very little information. It’s just how we all are.
As I was watching one speaker making a very short presentation last month, three things stood out:
- Use your best voice
Some people sound terrible. Maybe it’s the pitch, or the pronunciation, or the smoothness or the resonance. Listen to your own voice and notice how you can make listening to yourself even more appealing. I always remember my cousin getting so excited about listening to Mark Hunter who she described as having “a voice like chocolate”. Now we heard him delivering a speech in about 1999 but a few years later he made it through to the World Championships.
- Use stories
Nice stories. Tight and clean stories – with a point and that are interesting or amusing. Stories that validate your authority to speak and support the emotions you are looking to transfer to your audience.
- Look to make a point
Have something to say. If you don’t know what to say, think about it. Great speakers give something to their audience rather than talking out loud.
Use every opportunity to speak and refine your skills that you get!