If professional speakers had a dime for every time a presentation went perfectly, without a single hitch, there would be a lot of poor people out there. Step up to the podium and Murphy’s law is in full effect: Anything that can go wrong will. Professionals should spend time planning for each eventuality and have a quip to smooth it over. Some of our favorite speaking techniques are below, courtesy of Toastmasters Magazine.
Problem: The microphone goes dead.
Response: â€œEvidently, someone has heard this speech before,â€ or â€œLet me have a show of hands; how many of you read lips?â€
Problem: Feedback from the microphone.
Response: â€œIf I wanted feedback, I would have asked for it,â€ or â€œWhatever it is, it’s getting closer,â€ while staring cautiously to the left.
Problem: When the lights flicker or go out.
Response: â€œI do my best work in the dark,â€ or â€œThis lighting really plays tricks on your eyes. I’m actually a lot more handsome and skinnier than I look.â€
Problem: Fire alarm or bell.
Response: â€œTime to take my pill,â€ or â€œSo that’s what happened to my wake-up call.â€
Hopefully, you get the idea behind these speaking techniques. The trick to planned spontaneity is all in the timing. Comedians can attest to this. If something out of the ordinary happens, pause for a moment, deliver the line, then give it a moment before proceeding. The whole point of this is to make the audience believe you are in control of the situation. Then they are able to relax and enjoy the brilliance you are about to bestow on them. While there are a few staggeringly competent off-the-cuff speakers out there, most of us should practice successful speaking techniques until they are second nature.
The Speaking of Wealth Team
Flickr / The Real Darren Stone