Most of us naturally speak at a faster pace when excited or nervous, or when we are feeling both.
It is important to speak at an easy-to-follow pace when delivering a speech or presentation. We want to give the audience enough time to digest what we are sharing with them.
Here are some points to consider that can help you achieve an appropriate pace when speaking :-
Breathing is such a simple and natural thing for us to do, and yet when it comes to speaking, learning how to breathe deeply when delivering a speech or presentation is incredibly challenging.
It takes practice and making a conscious effort to do so. Even before getting up to speak, it makes a huge difference when you practice deep breathing as it helps you to relax, calm the nerves and help you to focus.
As deep breathing helps you to relax, this will also help you set a steady pace when you speak and increases your effectiveness in engaging the audience.
Here are the basic steps to practice deep breathing :-
Extract from :- http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/vocal-variety-speech-breathing/
Read the following instructions out loud carefully, and then try them
Sit forward in a chair and let your stomach muscles relax.
- Breathe in through your nose and imagine that you are a vessel filling up with air as you would pour water into a vase. Fill up your abdomen first, then your lower ribs (you should feel them expand) and then all the way up to your chin.
- Hold this breath for a count of ten.
- Now exhale slowly. As you exhale, keep your ribs expanded and tighten your abdomen as you would if you were doing a “crunch”—that is, the lower abdominal muscles should come in first as though you were rolling up a tube of toothpaste. (Since you are not a tube of toothpaste, keep your chest up as you exhale.)
- Repeat. Once you have mastered the exercise sitting down, practice incorporating it into your speaking and singing. You may need to do it slowly at first until you can coordinate all the actions smoothly.
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and suddenly there’s a moment of silence? An awkward silence that makes you feel compelled to say something, anything to break the silence.
When delivering a speech or presentation, it is important to not be afraid to pause, pauses act as “commas” in your sentences and the tendency for us to use “filler” words like “ah, uhm, err,etc” will be less once you start getting comfortable with the use of pauses in your speech.
This is a great way to pace and allows your audience to catch up with what you have just shared in their mind and will be more responsive to the rest of your speech. Pauses are powerful, however pausing too long can result in restless audience and losing your engagement with them.
It is always great to have someone that can give you feedback on your pace and the use of your pauses after each presentation you delivered. This is key towards improving your effectiveness.
Enrolling in a Public Speaking Program can give you access to trained professionals that can give you valuable feedback on how to fine tune your delivery skills.
Through observation, I find that some speakers move about at the same rate as their speech and are not purposeful.
This can be a distraction to the audience.
It is good to use the floor space, however, there needs to be “anchor” points when you stand on one spot with a strong stance during your speeches especially when you are trying to emphasize something.
Even if you do like to move about the stage, it is important to map this out so you are moving with purpose and exude clarity and confidence in your delivery.
Learning to move around the stage is an incredibly important skill to have when it comes to effective communication. This is becoming more crucial now as a result of globalization.
You will find that your audience may include people from various cultures, upbringing and languages. Using movement and gestures to support your message will help people in the audience to follow your speech, and ultimately appreciate what you have to share and offer.
If you are someone that has an accent, please know that you can be highly as effective when you learn the art of pacing when delivering a presentation.
At Empowered to Speak, we are passionate about helping people from diverse backgrounds develop greater confidence in communicating your thoughts and ideas.
The only barrier to not improving is by not giving it a go!!