Basic Speaking Skills

A few simple skills will lift your performance


Stand in a balanced, relaxed position
Stand in the centre at the front a few paces back from the front of the audience
Have your feet approximately under your shoulders so that you are balanced
Rest your arms and hands besides your waist
It may feel strange at first but it will become easy and natural to you
Use your arms and hands for emphasis, but return them always to the rest position

Direct eye contact

Make direct eye contact with at least 10 of the audience around the room
Direct eye contact means just that – look directly into the eyes of audience members.
Hold the glance for a brief moment and then move to the next person.
Include the persons at the front on each side and scan around the rest of the room

Use Pauses and Silence

Use lots of pauses
Silence is powerful in a speech
Pause before and/or after important words or ideas
Start your speech with a pause as you look around the audience making direct eye contact
End your speech with a pause as you look around the audience making direct eye contact

Use Vocal Variety

Speak slowly with lots of pauses so the audience can keep up with your ideas.
Change the speaking volume – some words or phrases softer or louder
Change the quality of the sound you produce – it’s called timbre
Vary your speed – deliver short phrases emphatically with pauses betweeen the words
HINT Record your voice and hear what the audience is hearing. You will be surprised!

Keep practising

You will improve rapidly. Don’t worry about making mistakes. You are among friends.
Concentrate on these skills and rapidly become relaxed and confident.