How to Be a More Expressive Speaker to Better Relay Your Message
When giving a speech, how do you ensure that you relay your message to your audience not only through your words but also your facial expressions and gestures? By being more expressive of course!
Giving a speech may be hard on some people, especially if you usually get nervous when addressing an audience on stage.
Being nervous may make it very hard for you to articulate yourself non-verbally because you’re too focused on the unknown; on the stuff that ‘may’ go wrong, that you forget how to actually communicate with your audience.
Being unprepared doesn’t help either, as this only adds to the nervous jitters of “what if I mess up?” or “what if I forget what I’m talking about while on stage?”
However, a good way to save yourself the nervous breakdown while ensuring that you are well prepared on the material you will be presenting and also making sure that the outcome of your presentation is your desired one, is pretty simple: Practice how you will present and what you will be presenting.
Practicing your material out loud not only gives you a chance to make your delivery more effective and interesting but also allows you to make use of any non-verbal cues that may help the audience understand what you mean better.
So, let’s say you’ve practiced and you’re well acquainted with the material you will be presenting but still feel like there’s something missing.
But what is it? You may wonder - turns out it’s how you are expressing yourself.
It may be hard to address an audience, especially if it’s a sea of new faces and you see no familiar ones in the audience. However, being expressive is a good way to not only make your delivery more interesting and effective but also help the audience understand you better.
So today, we will be looking at different ways to make you a more expressive speaker.
Ways to Become a More Expressive Speaker
1. Remember, your body language says a lot about you
When you are standing in front of your audience, the first thing they’ll notice, even before you start speaking, is your posture and how you move in front of them.
In addition to being conscious of how you carry yourself when you’re standing in front of your audience, you can think of any physical expressions you would like to use and how you will execute them.
This can be done by thinking about a statement you are about to make and the gestures that you may need to emphasize that particular statement.
Pro-Tip: Avoid planning the gestures you can use beforehand as it may look artificial.
2. Keep in mind that your voice and facial expressions make up your body language
Many speakers often forget that these two features are a part of your body language.
- Facial expressiveness
As humans, we usually bank on facial expressions to help us make judgements on how trustworthy an individual is, as well as what they may be feeling and their motive behind something.
This is inclusive of individuals who may be discussing issues we are interested in, those persuading us about an opinion or even those who are trying to sell you a particular item.
If you want to know whether you have an expressive face, you can use a video camera or mirror to observe your face and note any inappropriate or undesired expressions that you make.
- Voice expressiveness
On the other hand, voice is used to express the important points that you will be making during your presentation. There are various details that are best communicated through your voice.
Expressing yourself vocally affords you the opportunity to reach out and capture your audience.
Instead of droning on, which will only cause your audience to tune you out, try saying key sentences in various ways, even if you’ll just be altering your emphasis on different words or your volume. For example, you can raise/lower your voice a little or speak more slowly while stressing an important point.
Pro-Tip: Look into different ways to realize your full vocal potential.
3. Movement on stage is important
As we look at various ways to use our body language to physically express ourselves, we should keep in mind that moving on stage is part of this.
Speakers who tend to wander around the stage aimlessly, those who step back and forth, those who relentlessly pace across the stage or those that stand in one place without moving, all fail to capture the value of purposeful movement in public speaking.
There are 3 measures of distance between the audience and speaker, i.e.
A good way to purposefully use the stage would be to move to another position each time you begin discussing a new point. This will help the audience retain more of your message while also keeping them attentive.
4. Know when your body language is relaxed
Among the best ways to become naturally expressive while speaking is to recognize the different ways you move instinctively.
Learning to be more comfortable in how your body moves and positions itself allows your body language to become more comfortable and organic when you speak in public.
To do this, note the types of movements that are automatic to you in day-to-day encounters, like when you’re having a conversation with your friends or any other situation when you’re unselfconscious and relaxed.
Pay attention to how your body reacts when you get excited; could be you’re discussing a topic you’re passionate about, laughing at a joke or telling a story.
By becoming aware of how you gesture, move and hold yourself, you find different ways you can use your unique body language to convey a message to your audience.
5. Utilize variety in your voice
When presenting, you can either choose to change the inflection, use force on some words, pause for a few seconds, change the tone of your voice, speed up or slow down.
These are all things that you’d do in a normal conversation, which may make your speech a little livelier, attention-grabbing or curious, depending on what you choose to do.
6. Use your face!
You’ve probably heard the phrase “use your words” before to refer to communication using your words instead of your fists.
In contrast, using your face to communicate is different from this, because instead of your words, you use the features on your face to make different expressions.
For instance, you could furrow your brows if you’re raising a question, laugh or smile if you say something humorous or crack a joke, or even lift your brows when you utter words of hope.
This is especially important for online meetings as the audience can now see your face up close.
7. Regarding Gestures
So, how you can use gestures when speaking to your audience?
There are various gestures you can incorporate to expand on and support the points you are relaying to your audience.
You may be asking yourself, “but what gestures can I use when I present my speech?” Many people usually have no idea what to do with their hands when giving a presentation but here’s a simple way to use them.
To do this, start out when your hands are at your sides then use them when you need to emphasize a point that you’re conveying to the audience.
You should keep in mind though that you shouldn’t wave your hands and arms wildly and when you are not gesturing, they should stay near your core.
Additionally, you can also move your head as you look from one individual to another.
Other suggestions that can make you a more expressive speaker would be to:
- Sing along to show tunes or musicals.
These are usually packed with opportunities to weave facial expression and emotion into your words; try it sometime.
- Cut out pictures of different individuals from newspapers and magazines then try and give your presentation the way you think the individual would present it.
This will help you change your emphasis, tone and pronunciation.
Conclusion: On Being a More Expressive Speaker
In conclusion, being comfortable will make it easier for you to convey your message through the use of your words as well as your gestures and facial expressions.
Therefore, you should ensure that you are comfortable before you begin your presentation, which will help you flow as you discuss the points in your presentation.
The most expressive speakers are those who speak authentically, so make sure that you believe in your topic so that the needed expressions come naturally while you share your passion.