Evaluate Speakers to Up Your Speaking Game
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of success or failure in the mind of another.”– Napoleon Hill
Have you ever heard the best way to improve yourself is to find someone doing what you want to do and find out how they do it? Then do what they have done to achieve what they have done.
You’re a speaker. Evaluating other speakers is the best way to determine what to do to improve your speaking ability.
You’ve been to many conferences, meetings, and other events
where there are speakers. Why not be proactive and evaluate these speakers to determine how you can improve your presentations.
Below, I outline three areas in which you can evaluate a speaker: the words they use, their body language, and their vocal variety.
The Words They Use
A painter uses a palette of colored paints and paints a breathtaking mountain view, a portrait of a lonely child, or a ship on a raging ocean. It’s incredible what the human imagination can bring into reality!
Have you ever thought of yourself as a painter? You, as a speaker, are a painter of words. As the painter evokes emotions in the viewer, you as a speaker evoke emotions in your audience.
There are over a million words in the American English Language. If your average sentence in your presentation is ten words, you can choose from a million to the tenth power combinations of those words.
In other words, there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 combinations of words in those ten words. For all practical purposes, your choice of combinations of words when you speak your ten word sentence is limitless.
Be a practitioner of using the right words in the most emphatic order when you speak to your audience.
The next time you are in the audience, pay special attention to the words the speaker uses and the order they use them.
The words and order of words you observe in a speaker are essential. However, there is a more powerful way seasoned speakers communicate with their audience – their body language.
The Body Language They Use
Experienced speakers know the majority of communication is the body language they use.
Their facial expressions can express sadness, gladness, fear, anger, disgust, and many other emotions.
Great speakers practice their presentation in front of a mirror to determine whether their facial expressions portray the emotion they intend.
One of the real disadvantages of speaking in the virtual world is most of your body is hidden, including your gestures.
It’s the difference between listening to one of those old radio mystery shows and viewing a recent blockbuster movie on a wide-screen TV. The radio mysteries of yesteryear were highly inventive in their dialogue and sound effects, but it is just not the same as watching a well-done video production. In addition, something is missing in the old radio shows – the body language of the actors.
When a speaker presents, they perform like those actors in your favorite movie, sitcom, or the Netflix series you are binge-watching.
By adding powerful body language to their presentation, speakers give their audience a fuller, enjoyable, and memorable experience.
You now know the words speakers use, the order of those words, and their body language significantly affect their communication with their audience.
The last tool in the trifecta of excellent speaking is vocal variety. Experienced speakers know varying the pitch, speed, and volume of their voice at the right time brings their message home to their audience.
The Vocal Variety They Use
We all have the gift of varying the pitch of our voice. Expert speakers use this gift to evoke in their audience the emotion the speaker intends at that particular moment in their presentation.
Smart speakers evoke excitement in their audience by raising the pitch of their voice.
If a speaker wants to evoke sadness in their audience, they speak at a lower pitch.
Vocal variety also includes the volume and speed of your voice.
It is ironic, but experienced speakers know that if they lower their voice’s volume, they can better engage their audience. If they want to evoke exhilaration in their audience, they raise the volume of their voice.
Speed also plays a large part in vocal variety. Speaking fast stimulates the speaker’s audience. Slowly speaking makes the audience listen more closely.
Speakers also use pauses as another mechanism in their portfolio of speaking techniques.
Pauses give the audience time to reflect on what speakers say. They also add emphasis on what speakers say.
Use vocal variety (pitch of voice, voice volume, voice speed, pauses) as a tool to better engage with your audience.
The best way to determine what to do to improve your speaking ability is to evaluate expert speakers.
The best way to evaluate expert speakers is to analyze their word use, order of those words, body language, and vocal variety in communicating with their audience.
It makes sense. Evaluate successful speakers to find out why they are successful.
It is the fastest way you can become a successful speaker!
Call to Action
Choose your words and how the order of them carefully in your presentations
Take advantage of the enormous effect your body language has on engaging with your audience
Use voice pitch, voice volume, voice speed, and pauses to transmit your presentation message to your audience better.
“Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you”– Anonymous
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster, in 2002 because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”