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‹ View all articles 25th August 2016

How to boost your public speaking energy

Delivering a Talk

No matter what type of speech you have to give, any style of message will be more powerful with energy behind it.

 

The E in VOICE is for Energy.

Energy is the verbal 'oomph' or self-belief you deliver in your performance. It's the degree to which you're willing to 'stand up and be counted'. Your energy will be determined by many things: intonation, gaps and volume, but there is just something special that's added to the mix when you focus on your energy.

Having energy as a speaker is all about being yourself but deliberately amplified (based on the audience and room size). So until you can get your energy under conscious control, you’re not going to be as good a presenter as you could be.

Depending on the type of personality you have as well as your speech content, you may need to adjust your energy levels accordingly.

For example you may need to deliver a message with:

  • Sincerity -  a eulogy
  • Authority -  a management meeting presentation
  • Drama - a motivational speech
  • Emotion - a wedding speech

 

Think about a speaker who does it all right. She's mastered eye contact, gestures, and movement. Her volume is just right, her intonation rises and falls like a perfect wave, she's got some serious flow. There's nary an 'um' or 'like' to be heard. But for some reason she still puts you off and you find it difficult to listen. Weird right? Why is this? Her vocal delivery lacks energy.

Read Ms. Hush's acceptance speech out loud (no one's looking. promise) with low energy:

Ms. Hush - 'I'm so very pleased to accept this humanitarian award.  Today has been a culmination of years of hard work and care. Being recognized by you all is the highlight of my life.'

Without enough energy, a speaker with powerful and emotional words can come across as dull, dim-witted, sarcastic, or even just plain boring. The words from a low-energy speaker have a serious risk of lacking any kind of credibility.

 

So what can we do to create the right level of energy?

 

Check your posture. 

The way you stand and the amount of energy you exhibit are closely linked.

Your posture affects the amount of oxygen you're taking in and oxygen affects your ability to be energetic when speaking. Make certain that your body is in a positive and relaxed position

Believe in yourself as a Public Speaker.

Have the belief that you can do this and that people ARE interested in hearing you speak.

The more confidence you show, the more you'll allow your natural personality to shine through on stage and the higher your energy levels will be.

Own it. 

Take ownership of your topic. Even if you're being forced to talk about something or if you were asked to stand in at the last minute. Even if you are unaccustomed to public speaking, you are the person who now represents this topic.

If you show that you believe in the topic, your voice will sound energetic. Doubting your topic will drop your energy levels and reflect negatively on you.

Check the audience.

What are the energy levels of your audience? As a speaker, your job is NOT to match the energy levels of the audience. You have to bring up the level of energy in the room slightly.

It's not enough to inform your audience, they expect to be engaged and entertained.

Use what you've got.

Take that nervous feeling and channel it into excitement.  Let that exciting feeling into your voice. Allow passion to shine through, no matter what you are saying.

The only difference between  fear and excitement is simply context. Nerves are vital for our survival. Being nervous before a big presentation isn’t weakness. It indicates that you’re passionate, you’re invested, and you care.

 

One last thing...

be careful not to overdo it. Imagine Mr. High, who walks into a job interview with a bit too much energy: (read this one out loud too... it's fun!)

Mr. High - 'Hey everyone, hello, hello, helllooooo! I'm soooo excited to meet you all. This is all so very exciting. Hi again! My name is Mr. High and I'm pleased as punch to be here! You all look very lovely!!! Did I mention how happy I am to meet you? Give us a handshake!'

Anyone speaking with exaggerated energy will put off most people. Keep your energy levels higher than your audience, but not SO high that you hit the roof.

 

The greatest asset any public speaker can have is ENERGY.  You can flavor your speaking with many colors and hues, from a whisper to a shout.  You can define your type of energy as passion, enthusiasm or your 'fire within'   Using your fire, the most trivial message becomes mesmerizing; without it, the most powerful words will fall unheard.

 

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