Meg Heyworth MBA of Toastmasters International advises that whether you’re terrified or super confident the DRAMA acronym will help you deliver a great speech every time.
DRAMA stands for:
D is for dos and don’ts.
R is remembering what you need to know to speak in front of an audience.
A is for act as if you own the stage and have no fear.
M is for movement and memory.
A is for alternative ways of thinking.
Do use your body, voice and enthusiasm, to get your message across.
Do not wait to get it word perfect, just face the fear and do it anyway.
Do not be afraid to pause and smile at the people you are talking to.
Do practice any changes to your speech craft for 21 days in order to acquire the habit.
Do decide what anecdotes you hear when you hear them will make great additions to your stories.
Remember that the audience has no idea what you are going to say, so if you write out your speech and then miss out a bit no one will know.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. I.e. the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Research and preparation. Think about who will be the audience, what is the main purpose of the speech and what message do you want the audience to go home thinking about.
Remember a happy event is happy but an awful event makes a great speech.
Rapport with your audience will always get them listening to you, ask them rhetorical a question, "hands up those who—" and during your speech feed-back to the audience some comments that they have made.
Act as if you own that stage. If you act as if you are a brilliant speaker suddenly you’ll find that you are one.
Always find an interesting statement to begin your speech – this will grab the attention of the audience because they will want to know what happens next.
Always end the speech with a call to action, get the audience to respond, even if you have to be controversial, it leads to a livelier reaction.
Memorise the first 10 words of you speech. Get these right and then keep ensuring you grab the audiences’ attention.
Make the last sentence one that the audience will not forget, repeat the first line again, say the total opposite or hint that there is more to come and leave them wanting more.
Movement will enable you to use your body and make relevant gestures. For example, move around the stage by pacing purposefully – this will change the mood of your speech.
Make yourself someone who is confidant, cheeky and curious. The audience will want to listen you and it shows that you are interested in the people around you and what makes them tick.
Multi-sensory learning; everyone will use a different sense to get the content of your speech. So help the audience by using all five senses in your speech.
Approach the problem of getting up and giving a speech as fun. Every time you do it you’ll improve.
A confident smile is a great way to start a speech - even if you are hiding behind it.
A smile adds enjoyment to your voice, which is picked up by any audience immediately.
A speech is just the same as speaking off-the-cuff. It is simply a matter of some preparation and the confidence to continue.
A speaking club is a great way to hone your speech craft and receive constructive feedback.
Attitude is all. Learn to think and speak off-the-cuff – it just takes time and practice to get really good.
Always collect great sentences, wonderful repetitions, and brilliant words to say. Then write them down and carry the book with you.
Always try look on stressful situations as the beginning of a great speech you can now write.
By adding some DRAMA to your speeches you can be sure you will grab the attention of the audience and deliver a memorable presentation.
By Meg Heyworth MBA, member of Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills a worldwide network of meeting locations.
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