Becoming a great speaker is no easy task!
But some believe being a good speaker is as simple as being born with natural charisma, and having an ‘appealing’ voice. It’s not as simple as that!
The reality is that while some people may seem ‘natural’ actually public speaking is a set of skills which can be acquired, some which you’d probably never even thought of as associated with speaking (like breathing. Trust me if you don’t breath you can’t speak!).
One of the biggest challenges is captivating your audience. Keeping their attention throughout, preventing them from getting bored, and helping them to remember you.
So, here’s a way you can do this!
Today, I want to focus on the five senses – how you touch, hear, taste, smell and see. Because believe it or not, you can use all five of these senses to get your audience’s attention and become a sensational speaker.
First check the environment you’re in. Does it feel too hot, too cold? You want to be sure your audience feels comfortable.
If you’re telling a story to your audience, perhaps a specific scenario, describe the setting, and bring in textures, something they can feel. Including the audience’s sense of touch is a great way to help them visualise the scene, and almost feel a part of it.
You should also be in tune with your own sense of touch. What are your hands doing? Do you need to move them more? Are you standing too still – do you need to move about more?
Arguably the most important aspect – the whole point of a speech is for the audience to LISTEN to it!! And of course, you have to make sure they’re listening, not just hearing.
Many might ignore this sense, since as a speaker you might think that your job is to just do the talking. But you should also listen to yourself.
Listen to your voice. Is it your natural voice, and do you sound genuine? Are you being too monotone and need to brighten things up a bit? Is your voice too quiet to be heard, or maybe a bit too loud? You could practice this by recording yourself and listening back to it.
Pay attention to what your audience is doing as well. If someone’s yawning, or you notice someone keeps jiggling their leg, maybe it’s time to take a short break or recapture their attention with what we call ‘primers’ – a technique for another day!
You might be wondering, ‘How on Earth can taste be an important part of public speaking?”
It can be the most difficult one – after all, I wouldn’t advise speaking whilst your audience are eating, as the last thing you want is to be interrupted by the sounds of chewing!
But having a certain taste can actually create a long-lasting memory, so there are two things you could try. The first is to give your audience a particular drink – it’ll be much quieter this way, but will still leave a particular taste in their mouths. The second is to try and describe a certain taste when telling your story – maybe bring up a certain memory.
And then there’s your own taste! Don’t eat anything – especially chocolate, but check up on your throat, and see if it’s dry and you need a sip of water.
No one wants to listen to a croaky voice!
Smell can essentially be the most overlooked sense, but even this can make a difference.
Imagine you’re at someone’s house, and it has an awful smell. I mean REALLY stinks. It can get pretty distracting, right?
You wouldn’t want your audience to focus on smells too much rather than listening. If the room smells bad, they might be subtly trying to hold their noses. If the room smells like nice food, they might be thinking about what they want for lunch!
Try using a few simple candles or room sprays to give the room a pleasant, but not too strong smell.
And again, if you want to describe a certain smell if and when you’re telling a story, go for it!
Even before your speech starts, you should be paying attention visually. Is all your equipment ready? Is there the right amount of seats? Does your outfit look decent? (Always have a spare).
And when you are speaking, pay attention to yourself and your audience. Look at different parts of the audience, make them feel like you’re looking at them all, so that the speech feels more personal. Eye contact is crucial!!
If you have a PowerPoint to accompany your speech, make sure all the slides are up to date and looking visually appealing, but not too distracting and not too much information on them. You want the audience listening not reading.
Implementing all the Senses
Reading all this may make you feel a little overwhelmed, but don’t worry! You don’t need to focus on all five senses at once, you just need to make time for each one before, during and after your speech, in order to make it more memorable for your audience.
This all takes practice, and training. But you don’t have to do it alone, because I can help you!
Strictly Come Speaking is an exclusive female event held to provide support, tips and inspiration for women looking to grow confidence and become amazing speakers. If you’d like to be part of this, reach out to me at email@example.com so that I can invite you to our next event!
PS – The genetic blueprint really helps with understanding who you are and what you are here to do – fill in this 2-minute questionnaire and I will send you your own ‘genetic blueprint’ which will help you understand yourself so you can begin to find your why! You will find it here.
PPS – If the link doesn’t work for any reason (sometimes technology has a bad day) then email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will sort it out for you!
PPS – If you liked this blog and want to read more blogs surrounding female empowerment, you can find last week’s here: ‘Stars Can’t Shine Without Darkness‘
“I’m on a global mission to help 10 million disheartened souls, who are at a crossroads, to STOP asking why me? And START saying why not me!”