It’s a painful truth, but the hours and hours you put into researching, organizing and writing your presentation are not going to be the key to your success. The secret to being an engaging, compelling speaker does not come from your content. Research has documented that only 7 percent of our communication impact comes from the words coming out of our mouth. But a full 93 percent of our impact comes from the way we look and sound when we say those words. This is what delivery is all about-how we use our vocal and nonverbal qualities to present a message that’s dynamic and compelling. There are seven key skills to being a dynamic speaker, which I have captured with the acronym S.P.E.A.K.E.R. Here’s a summary of these key delivery attributes:
Smile Let your facials be expressive, whether showing anger at something unjust or concern at something unfortunate or simply smiling because you’re happy to be there.
Posture Your stance in front of a room says a lot about how comfortable and confident you appear. Keep this general rule in mind: balanced, symmetrical posture with weight evenly distributed on both feet conveys a sense of poise and confidence.
Eye Communication To truly make an impact on your audience, you need to make members feel like you’ve looked at and talked directly to each of them individually. Look ’em in the eye. Talk to them, not at them.
Appearance When you’re in front of an audience, your appearance has an impact on your believability and how receptive they’ll be to your message. Two areas that have a huge impact on your appearance: your attire and distracting mannerisms. When you want to look your best, nothing has more impact than what you choose to wear. So pay attention to the style, fabric, fit, appropriateness, and color of your clothing choices. If you want an appearance that’s poised and credible, be aware of and monitor those distracting mannerisms that serve no purpose except to drive an audience crazy. Things like jingling change in your pocket, or playing with your hair, or saying “um” every few seconds. Remember, movement that’s purposeful has power. A distracting mannerism is distracting because it’s not purposeful.
Kinesics Kinesics is the science of body motion and how it communicates. When you use your hands to show an object’s dimensions or hold up fingers to represent a number: those are all examples of kinesics. As a speaker, you want to use kinesics. Physical movement and gestures will help make you more dynamic. The key is purposeful. A repetitive gesture is not purposeful and will become a distracting mannerism. Purposeful gestures seem to naturally accompany what you’re saying. They give meaning and power to your presentation.
Expressive Vocals Expressive is the key here. Vocals that are flat, monotone, soft-spoken, and have no variety in them are not captivating. If you vary your rate, volume, tone, and inflection, you convey far more interest and become more engaging.
Resting Places If you have purposeful gestures, then by definition, it means you’re not gesturing all the time. What do you do with your hands when they’re at rest, when you’re not gesturing? Here’s a basic guideline: avoid closed and tight positions. Examples would be hands in the pockets, crossed arms, hands on the hips, clutching one arm, and the “fig leaf” (hands clasped in the groin area). On the other hand, resting places that combine relaxation with some energy come off as more poised but engaged. Examples are: Arms at your side. Parade rest. Arms bent at elbow with hands loosely together. One arm bent at the elbow, other arm at your side or in your pocket. Remember, 93% of your communication impact comes not from what you say, but how you look and sound when you say it. If your delivery falls flat, the greatest content in the world will be meaningless, because you won’t be able to engage your audience.