Tips to ensure a truly conversational speech

How do you truly sound conversational when you are making a speech? How can you be relaxed and authentic when you are feeling the pressure of being in front of an audience? Here is a great tip from Steve Lowell, my colleague in the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

First tip for ensuring a conversational speech:

Steve’s starting point is that the job of a speaker is not to convey information: it’s to convey emotion. One of the best ways to do that is to speak conversationally. But many, far too many, speakers don’t speak conversationally. That’s because they create speeches for the eyes and not the ears.

Steve demonstrated this difference with a volunteer from his audience during an appearance at a CAPS event in Halifax, NS, recently.

Steve Lowell
Steve Lowell

He asked the volunteer to speak about his work. When the volunteer was finished, Steve kept him on stage and engaged him in a casual conversation about his work.

The audience could immediately see that the volunteer in casual conversation was very different from when he was ‘presenting’ his speech. He was relaxed and conversational during the questions; he’d been more formal and tense during his presentation.

Steve’s interview strategy is a great tool for checking for a truly conversational delivery. At Podium we have another little trick for building a relaxed and authentic presentation or speech.

Second tip for ensuring a conversational speech:

When we think clients are straying from a conversational style, we ask them to put ‘Hi Mom’ in front of their words. If they can read them out loud with a straight face while imagining saying the words to someone they care about, the words can stay. But usually the words get changed pretty quickly.

Between Steve Lowell’s question technique and using Podium’s ‘Hi Mom’ trick, you’ve got a good chance of delivering a speech that’s truly conversational.

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