Speaker toolkit – part six: delivery for maximum impact

The last part of our speaker toolkit will help you deliver your talk with maximum impact. Below you will find practical advice on how to use your body, voice and movements effectively.

Using your body – how to move on stage

Audiences can easily pick up on how we are feeling on stage through our body language. Despite that, there is no single “correct” way to move. Rather, you want to make deliberate and conscious movements that reflect your authentic style.

To explore your style, get someone you trust to watch you rehearse or record you on their phone. You might be surprised by what you find out! See if you are making any unconscious movements and what impression your body language is giving to an audience. Below we have collected some general guidelines to deliver your talk with maximum impact and confidence on stage:

Do:
  • Walk and pause
  • Gesture as if you were having a conversation with one person
  • Make eye contact and look at different parts of the audience
  • Practice being still and breathing
  • Find a comfortable way to stand when you’re not moving

Don’t:
  • Rock, bounce or pace constantly without pausing
  • Keep putting your hands in your pockets, behind your back, on your hips etc
  • Play with something (ring, hair, script etc)
  • Keep looking up or down
Using your voice

Your voice can enhance your talk’s content and help keep your audience engaged. The trick is to vary and contrast your tone of voice and pace of speaking. This will help you create momentum and impact. An easy way to start working out an effective tone and pace is to code your talk like you might mark up a piece of music. Use symbols or highlights to note pauses, when you want to speak softly or loudly, and your delivery speed. Remember, your aim is to avoid being monotone!

Some tips for the stage if you’re being filmed or audio recorded

Often we work with speakers who have never been professionally recorded or filmed on stage. If so, there are certain things you should know.

Avoid wearing earrings or chunky jewellery, as these will interfere with a headset mic and ruin the audio. It’s also good practice to avoid wearing certain types of patterns – like stripes – as these will look a bit blurry and odd when filmed. Remember if you are using a lapel or headset mic, you will need to put your mic pack (about the size of a pack of cards) into a pocket, or clip it to a belt, bra, top etc. Ultimately, make sure you are wearing what is comfortable and right for you!

It’s also important to remember the power of post-production. We all make mistakes, stumble over words, or forget phrases. However, it is easy in post-production to edit some mistakes, but only if you give the editors a place to cut. If you make a mistake or stumble, make sure you pause and start the sentence or phrase again. This will allow the editor to produce a smooth edit.

And finally…

For more advice, check out Amy Cuddy’s brilliant TED talk on body language and confidence here, or Julian Treasure’s talk on how to use your voice powerfully here

We wanted to end our speaker toolkit series by reminding you to enjoy your time speaking! The audience is excited to hear what you have to say and wants you to be successful as possible as well. This is a moment for you to share your ideas, experiences and knowledge and reap the rewards of all your hard work and effort.

Don’t forget, let us know whether if you have enjoyed our first toolkit series here or have managed to put our advice to good use.