Speech Etiquette: 17 Tips to Get Yourself Noticed
How well have you mastered public speaking? Feeling nervous before speaking in front of an audience gets to the best of us.
However, understanding speech etiquette can help you bridge any subject. Here are the mannerisms that meet proper speech etiquette.
Present Yourself as a Competent Speaker
Every message is as good as its messenger. You will need to have a criterion in mind to present your message so that you come off as a competent speaker. Thus, know what you want to accomplish and do exactly that.
Inspire, persuade, or inform without backtracking or going in circles. Understand your audience so you can structure your speech to meet your audience’s purpose.
When you present yourself confidently, you’ll command the audience’s attention. That’s why it pays to be passionate about the subject so you can pass the message with utmost clarity.
Understand the Demands of the Occasion
You’ll benefit from understanding the context. For example, you are the father of the bride and have been asked to give a speech at a wedding. You are naturally required to give a heartfelt story.
In this case, you’re going to have to rise to the demands of the occasion.
Know the difference between formal vs informal presentations.
It’s human nature to detect tone and attitude. Therefore, it will be difficult to fake politeness if your attitude is a bit off. For this reason, it’s best to recognize that you’re entering someone else’s personal space, and they expect you to respect it.
Whenever you’re presenting your speech, let your facial expressions mirror your words. You don’t want to smile when delivering a sad message and vice versa.
Furthermore, brush up on the best jokes for the occasion while considering that inappropriate jokes do not count as funny.
Maintain Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact is a learned skill that follows good speech etiquette. You don’t have to read every single thing in your notes.
Losing eye contact will lose your audience engagement and make you feel like you’re presenting the message to yourself.
Present Yourself Confidently
Apart from maintaining eye contact, there are more things that you can do to present yourself confidently.
- Practice good posture when approaching the stage, on the podium, and as you walk off. Do not slump, lean, or twist on the podium or table. Also, do not stand in the projector’s light.
- Wait for the introducer to leave the stage before you start speaking. Remember to thank the introducer before commencing with the speech. This will prevent the scenario where the introducer has to acknowledge the thank you halfway between the podium and their seat – it’s very distracting and unnecessary.
- Make special greetings to the guest of honor, dignitaries, and government officials.
- Use the microphone provided and don’t readjust or tap it more than once.
- Articulate your words by slowing down and speaking up.
- Eliminate verbal crutches like ums and uhs and distracting habits such as fidgeting.
- Use variations in force, speed, and inflictions to enhance meaning and hold the audience’s attention.
- Never quit in between the speech or “lose your cool.”
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Practicing your speech is the only way to be completely prepared and show mastery of the subject.
For you to nail your speech, you have to be overwhelmingly thorough. A practiced speaker connects to their audience with 100% confidence in their speech.
Don’t arrive five minutes before giving a speech. You’ll be unprepared; the MC will not know how long the speech will take, and you’ll likely sort any presentation in front of the audience.
Doing this will take away from the audience’s confidence in you.
Stick To Your Time Slot
It’s disrespectful to the audience and other speakers when you speak after your given time is over. Always pay attention to the timing and obey timing signals.
If you take your full time, skip a few low-priority topics. If you expect to answer questions, leave five to ten minutes from your time slot.
The best way to stick to your time slot is by recording yourself and seeing if the speech fits within the allotted time.
Q&As make the speech lively, allowing you to interact with the audience. The audience can ask for clarification on the subject or how a product works if it’s a sales pitch.
In addition, Q&As give the audience the impression that their presence is valued and appreciated. It will also give them the courage to share their thoughts which is valuable when passing any message.
During Q&A, listen thoughtfully and patiently. Then answer the questions respectfully. Furthermore, acknowledge when you don’t have an answer by telling your audience you’ll check and get to them with the appropriate answer.
Move On After Technology Glitches
It would help if you did not rely solely on visual presentation. If something happens to your slides, move on with the rest of the speech.
Do not spend more than a couple of minutes fixing the glitch. Always have alternatives like flow charts or a practiced speech that you can complete without the help of technology.
Make Presentable PowerPoint Slides
Have you ever been at a presentation only for the PowerPoint slides to pass super-fast? Fast slides with a long message in small fonts waste time.
Ensure that the visuals are readable by everyone. Zoom in on the important points, pause and let everyone take in the message.
When presenting visuals, ensure that they are not duplicating the message you’re speaking. The audience gains nothing of value when they have to see slides that repeat the same information.
It may seem counterintuitive, but apologizing draws attention to any mistake like fumbling or tripping.
Even more important, do not apologize for not being prepared. Practice mindfulness techniques to be aware of how much you apologize.
Watch Your Movements
Reduce nervous gestures by practicing the ideal gestures for emphasis.
While some speeches are better done with little movement, some can benefit from a little demonstration and moving around your space.
Avoid Too Many Statistics
The last thing you want is to come across as a statistician. You only require one or two statistics to support a point; any more than that, you’ll start losing audience engagement.
Again, speak your audience’s language, and share your insights and experiences.
Tell a Good Story
People want to relate to you. When you tell a story or inject a joke, the audience feels comfortable and captures their attention.
Adding humor makes the audience more likely to remember you and your speech. However, don’t tell the audience that you’re going to tell them something funny since it might sound awkward.
Dress for the Occasion
Tidy up and dress appropriately. Tie or slick your hair back to avoid strands getting in your eyes. Also, avoid wearing a hat or cap that could distract the audience.
Get Some Rest
Don’t compromise your energy level by over-exerting yourself before the day of the speech. It may impact your speech delivery since you will likely struggle to deliver a clear message.
In addition, avoid alcohol or caffeine the night before you deliver a speech.
Conclusion: On Speech Etiquette
Anyone can learn speech etiquette and present themselves with confidence. It takes practice to be good at something, especially public speaking. The next time you’re called to deliver a speech, follow these rules to speak for success. Good luck!