Delivering an effective speech means grabbing your audience’s attention, engaging them in what you have to say and delivering a message that’s relatable.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in a speech contest. Contestants delivered a five to seven minute speech on an original topic of their choice. But, the real pleasure was watching, listening and learning from my fellow competitors.
Watch and learn
The contest winner delivered an incredible speech. Here’s what I took away.
- A relatable topic
Relatable topics show that you understand your audience and what might be of interest to them. Without it, you could lose their attention. Our contest winner spoke of her experience working in a predominantly male profession. As a woman, she battled being respected and trusted for her skills and expertise. Equal rights and opportunities is always a hot topic.
- Visual aids
Many people are visual learners, so adding visual aids to a presentation helps to enhance the audience’s understanding of the topic. The winning speech was about the presenter’s experience working years ago in an automotive service centre. The first thing I noticed were the coveralls she wore and her hair tied in a high pony. She later pulled out a clipboard to enhance what she was saying.
- Vocal variety
Changing the pitch and the pace of your voice keeps the audience connected. The speaker effectively projected a loud clear voice for emphasis and even changed her voice to represent different characters in her story.
- Speech structure
Good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, and this one definitely did. Good speech structure gives the audience a logical path to follow. Again, helping them stay engaged.
Listening to my fellow contestants gave me a lot to think about. Next time you’re getting ready to deliver a speech, keep these points in mind. These, coupled with great eye contact, physical gestures and audience awareness will make your presentation awesome!
I didn’t win the speech contest — I came in third. But, what I took away from the experience was definitely a win!
One thought on “Reflecting on contest day”
I love this… respectfully sharing your experience, acknowledging the makings of a winning speech and commending your competitor! Very well written hdiane2