The ‘How to’ series is a six article series that provides useful tips on ‘how to’ overcome personal challenges that many of us face in everyday life.
It is an initiative by ‘Power of Word’ (POW), a group of five colleagues namely; Dorothy Pasipanodya, Courage Nyamhunga, Tinashe Dirwai, Hubert Samboko and Nqobile Dube. They compiled the series after realising that talking about everyday things that affect performance and well-being would help find ways to cope and achieve good results.
Putting thoughts and experiences on paper is a way of sharing and cementing what has worked for the group members as well as creating dialogue around selected topics.
The aim of the articles is to promote equality, confidence and respectful communication in our personal and professional lives.To start the series, below are pointers on speech writing and presentation.
Tips on how to present your speech in the best way possible: “Respect the speech”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a speech as the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words. In communicating your thoughts, it is important to understand the purpose of your speech, to know your audience and to properly use the time you have to effectively get your message across. Below are a few tips to help you journal your speech and then present it in the best way possible.
i) Write down the speech and read it out loud to yourself and to at least one other person.
ii) Understand the speech
This entails looking up the meaning of any words you do not know. Also, respect the punctuation and pronunciation of the words. Savor the words and find rhythm in them. Don’t be afraid to have fun with the speech or to feel the emotion in it. You are the vehicle that this speech will use to enter the world.
iii) Release your hands
In reciting your speech, you will likely be tempted to hold your hands behind your back or on your front. Leave them loose and let them help you express yourself. In expressing yourself using the rhythm of the words and your hands, observe yourself objectively and decide which actions are necessary and which words need emphasis. Reciting your speech infront of a mirror or to a close friend, will help in this regard.
iv) Understand your speech.
This will help you improve your confidence when you deliver it.
i) Be at the venue early and be dressed comfortably and appropriately.
ii) Keep hydrated prior to giving your speech. Also, go to the bathroom as necessary and remember to make sure that you look your best.
iii) Focus on relaxing and breathing properly.
Keep calm and focus on delivering your speech. This is your priority and nothing else matters.
iv) Compose yourself.
Give yourself as much space and time as possible to compose yourself before you make your way to the podium. When it is time to present your speech, do not delay. Walk confidently to the podium/post and position yourself. (See below for T.L. Dirwai’s points on how to do this)
v) Stay alert
If there is a time keeper or adjudicator, wait for their signal to start. You will be told to start when you show that you are ready by looking at them and nodding. As such, avoid their eyes if you are not ready but do not unduly delay your presentation. It is important to remember that you must compose yourself first. If there is no timekeeper, still, compose yourself first and begin when you are ready.
vi) Start when you are ready
Take a deep but a noiseless breathe and present your speech as comfortably as you did to yourself in the mirror and to your friend. Aim to better your previous performances and have fun with this one.
N.B. Look at your audience as you address them and switch the rhythm and pace of your speech to illicit the emotion you want. Do you want to make them laugh, sad or knowledgeable? Present your speech, gauge reaction and adjust as necessary.
viii) Ending your speech
When the speech is over, pause briefly while looking at your audience.Thank them for listening, and then exit humbly. Do not gloat over any applause or praise that may be given. Any praise that may be given is for the speech but well done to you for giving it and for presenting it well.
“Points on how to compose yourself
i) Give up the belief that you have to be perfect. Bear in mind that even professionals make mistakes. Dr L.Michael suggests “Give yourself permission to be gloriously fallible.”
ii) Stop worrying about yourself and get excited about your subject.
iii) Forget about your past failures.
“This has been my weakness, failing to put my past public speaking failures behind. Visualise the outcome you want and let go of the past.” T.L Dirwai
Article written by Dorothy Pasipanodya. Dorothy is a lawyer by profession who believes that effective communication is a major way of bringing about change in all spheres of life. She is passionate about empowerment and loves a good challenge.
Main image taken from Image taken from www.procopytips.com