I focus a lot in my blog posts on techniques to improve your speaking. Breathing, speechwriting and eye contact are all crucial to achieving a good effect when presenting. It’s also true, however, that you can’t make a silk purse out of the proverbial sow’s ear.
What do I mean? Well, the aim of any speaker is to engage their audience. You can learn attention grabbing techniques … but ultimately there is a magic ingredient which you can’t do without and that is passion.
Audiences respond to conviction. However well thought out your speech is, if you read it like a robot, then you will lose your crowd. By all means control your voice better with good breathing; but if it lacks character it will all be for nothing.
The most important thing you can do as a speaker is to believe in what you are saying. Crucially, you must then put that belief into your voice … and convince your audience that you mean it.
How do you achieve that? By modulating your voice,and changing your pitch and pace to emphasise your key points and communicate your excitement. Monotones kill enthusiasm – so make sure you sound animated.
A lot of this is common sense. In fact, the good news is that, if you really do believe in what you’re saying, much of it will come naturally. If you’re truly passionate, your body language will be positive without you having to think about it; your movements will be decisive and energetic; your voice will be full of confidence and commitment.
Learn how to harness your natural enthusiasm in such a way that it maximises the impact of your speech, but doesn’t get in the way of your presentation. Too much bounciness is distracting; too much excitement can come across as a bit false.
As a rule, you can’t have too much passion or belief in your speech. Communicate it appropriately, and your audience will believe in it too.