Throughout our many years of education, we are often given opportunities to stand in front of an audience and give a speech or presentation. There is generally a rubric telling us for what exactly the instructor is looking and on what will we be graded. They will usually have a checklist of things they want you to do or say and if you don’t cover these things, you will not likely receive a good grade.
Through the years of this practice, it is engrained in our minds that, in order to be a good speaker, we need to do certain things. And while this can be true on some things –making eye contact, for example – there are other aspects of delivering a speech that should not be expected from every speaker everywhere. Think of it like this: we don’t all look the same. We don’t sound the same, have the same interests, eat the same foods, wear the same clothes, et cetera. If everything else about us varies so greatly, why should we all be expected to speak the same? Embracing the differences among us is part of what makes life so interesting, and showcasing the differences in the way you speak compared to the rest of the world is part of what makes you a good speaker.
So, rather than working toward proficiency in each area of that checklist, take a look at yourself and find what makes you a good speaker. If you have videos of past speeches or presentations that you’ve delivered, take a look at those. Pay special attention to times where you look most comfortable and confident. Hone in on those skills and highlight them at your next speech or presentation. This is also a good time to pay attention to things you feel less comfortable doing and take the time to practice those skills until you are ready to implement them. Confidence gives you credibility. So as long as you’re exuding confidence, you’ll find success in front of an audience. You’ll be a great speaker.
Written by Impromptu Guru Director of Operations, Christina Miller.