At the end of Walk Your Talk – Part 1, I urged you to find a little time each day to practice getting on your feet, moving around, and speaking out loud. To allow yourself to ramble and be unfocused. And to resist the urge to write things down, time yourself, record yourself, or deliver to a real person.
Now let’s up your game a bit and get a little closer to the real thing. Get up on your feet again to work on your content, delivery, and confidence. Here are some things to try out during your practice in the next weeks or month:
1) Pretend you’re in front of a particular group of people with a common interest. What is it? What do they want – information? education? entertainment? inspiration? What is the main point you want to get across? What do you want them to think and do differently when they leave? How do you want them to feel when they leave?
2) Now launch into a brief story that makes that point.
3) Now do it again. No writing. It will sound different this time. No problem.
4) Do it again and again with variations in your delivery:
Vocals: speak slowly with pauses, fast, in a monotone, with exaggerated tones and pitch, loud, soft.
Gestures: hold your hands still at your sides or in front of you. Move your hands quickly, slowly, in repetitive patterns, with great variation and pauses.
Other Body Movement: stay in one place, move around a bit, move around a lot, look at your “audience,” avoid looking at them.
This probably sounds silly. But try it. You’ll be learning to focus on being present and in control of you in the moment. On becoming comfortable with changing gears to emphasize points. You’ll be finding your preferred delivery style and learning new ones. For instance: varying your vocal pitch from too high to too low and into the mid-ranges, then shifting back and forth some more, will help you find your natural range and make you and your audience more relaxed. We’ve heard speakers with voices that are too high – it distracts us and makes us cringe. It can also be hard to breathe when you’re trying to maintain an unnatural pitch. It’s important to not run out of air! All of this will help you become more flexible and adaptable in the face of unexpected changes when you are in front of a real audience. You can never be prepared for everything, but the more you practice changing in the moment, the more confident you will be – whether all goes smoothly during the real thing or there are some hitches.
5) Do it again as you would want to up front. How does it feel? It doesn’t have to be perfect. What’s important is your ability to capture and hold your audience. Focus more on ways to connect than ways to perfect.
6) You can jot down some brief notes if you want, to help you remember certain points, phrases, etc. But don’t write too much. Just enough to help you remember without your notes.
7) Now try this same approach with another point and story. If it relates to what you just practiced and could become part of that same speech, great. You’re slowly building and improving your content and delivery – and confidence.
Happy practicing! To be continued…………