Speak Like a Pro: Building Language and Delivery Skills

When crafting a speech, it’s mission critical to lock in content and organization. And, it’s as equally important to spend time up front carefully planning language and practicing your delivery style to ensure that both how and what you have to say are on target.

Language choice matters

You know your topic and your audience. Now, make the connection between the two so listeners can take in your messages and retain important material. By choosing simple, clear, vibrant language, you’ll be well on your way to communicating your terrific, relevant ideas.

Keep acronyms, industry terminology, and slang to a minimum – unless you’re absolutely certain such words mean something to those you’re trying to reach. Always use correct language. Craft concise sentences to minimize the risk of losing people.

Delivery can make or break your pitch

The more authentic your voice, the more accessible you and your content become.Audiences respond accordingly: if a speaker seems insincere or fake, we just won’t listen.Accessing your natural voice can be a daunting task when you feel nervous or unprepared.In your practice sessions, focus on attaining a conversational quality. When you convey enthusiasm and spontaneity, we’ll react positively.

Never read your speech – communicate directly to and with your audience. When reading,your voice gets lost in the podium (or behind you if you’re reading slides off a screen), and your eye contact and connection with your audience suffers. Rely on a key word outline or notes with short phrases to spark your memory about what you want to say.

In practice sessions, consider elements of your individual vocal style including pitch, volume, rate/pace, tone, variety, articulation, pronunciation, and overall expressiveness. Avoid fillers (um, ah, yeah, you know, like). Use your voice to emphasize key points. Ask yourself: Is this voice me at my best?

You just can’t practice too much. When prepping for your next speaking event, spend the same time and effort honing delivery style as on crafting content.

You’ve got something to say so say it like you mean it!


ABOUT Eve Connell

Eve spends most billable hours writing, editing and helping professionals of all stripes with communication skills and leadership development. With degrees in French literature, philosophy, and linguistics, she also enjoys helping businesses and entrepreneurs develop their brands. Fancying herself a successful worm rancher, singer and flower arranger, Eve also lends her talent and expertise to several non-profit arts and educational organizations.