Yesterday, our Chief Creative Director took time out of his busy schedule to lead the 2nd in a series of “Presentation Training” sessions. Our assignment—prepare a 1 minute wedding toast (to the person of our choosing). Oh, and watch Al Pacino’s heart-wrenching, tear jerking, want-to-shout-from-the-top-of-a-mountain (and perhaps join a professional football team) speech from Any Given Sunday. Needless to say, I laughed, I cried (yes, actually tears), I cheered. But what did we learn?
As we went around the conference table, each of us standing to give our speech, we began to discuss the mechanics of giving a compelling speech. By dissecting each person’s “performance”, it was easy to see what we were doing right (naturally), and those places where we might need to improve a little. Basically, be S.U.P.E.R:
- Speak slowly - if you think you’re speaking too slowly, you’re probably going at a normal pace (when we get nervous, we tend to speed up).
- Use Your Environment - You don’t have to stand in one place! This will force your audience to pay attention and follow you (with their eyes) around the room.
- Prepare – Rehearse what you’re going to say. And try to do it without note cards. Note Cards immediately let the audience know that you’re unsure of what you’re about to say—if you don’t know, why should they care?
- Enjoy silence – A powerful speech speeds up and slows down. Putting pauses in between sentences (at appropriate moments, of course) can make for a dynamic speech.
- Relax – Be confident in yourself & let your body language be accessible. The audience doesn’t know what you’re about to say, so just breath and speak naturally.
Simple. Just be SUPER.