Delivering and Awesome Speech

Building up the confidence to speak in front of others can be terrifying. You’re wondering what you should wear, how long you should talk or if people will take you seriously. Everyone has heard the expression, “fake it ’til you make it,” but does that apply when giving a speech? Is an audience’s perception of intelligence affected if they see the speaker wearing glasses? Before you go out and buy new specs, consider these thoughts:

  • Glasses show intelligence. Some studies have shown that we assume those wearing glasses to be more intelligent, competent and industrious compared to their non-glasses-wearing peers.
  • Perceptions are shaped by culture. Because the U.S. is a melting pot, your audience could boast people from all over the world. Some cultures see glasses as a sign of weakness, so your audience could have mixed reviews.

What Makes An Effective Speech?

As we can see, in some cases members of your audience may think you’re smarter if you’re wearing glasses while others attendees may not. So, how can your presentation make a lasting impact? Ask yourself:

  • Do I know and understand my audience? You might be an expert on cardiovascular research, but if you’re giving your speech to a room full of parents of young children with heart health concerns, is your presentation ready to communicate a tone they’ll be able to learn from? Knowing who your audience is can help you offer tangible, take-home messages. You don’t want to be stuck watching their eyes glaze over while you describe left and right ventricular fibrillation issues.
  • Am I offering enough visuals? If you’re presenting a speech about a new theory or something people have never heard of, can you provide visuals to help connect more to your audience? While the audience is trying to soak up every word you say, imagery has been shown to offer a powerful, lasting impact on participants.

Use Eye Contact & Facial Expressions

Eye contact can effectively engage your audience. As a general rule, try to spend 2-3 seconds holding your gaze in one area of the room and travel to the next. Smile as you make eye contact and it will help calm your nerves. Remember, don’t hide behind the podium. Let your gaze meet with your audience and watch as they listen closely.

You Can Do This

The reason you’re up on stage giving a speech in the first place is because somebody hired you for the body of knowledge you possess. Remember, you’re the expert and the audience is eager to hear what you have to say. While you definitely shouldn’t run up on stage wearing plaid and polka dots, an excited audience is more interested in what you have to say rather than what you’re wearing on your body or your face.