There is something besides the mere words in a talk which counts. It is the flavor with which they are delivered. “It is not so much what you say as how you say it.”
Many speakers ignore their hearers, stare over their heads or at the floor. They seem to be delivering a soliloquy. There is no sense of communication, no give and take between the audience and the speaker. That kind of attitude would kill a conversation; it also kills a speech.
Good delivery is conversational tone and directness enlarge. Talk to the Community Chest just as you would to John Smith. What is the Chest Community, after all, but a collection of John Smiths?
Everyone has the ability to deliver a talk. If you question this statement, try it out for yourself, knock down the most ignorant man you know; when he gets on his feet, he will probably say some things, and his manner of saying them will be almost flawless.
We want you to take that same naturalness with you when you speak in public. To develop it, you must practice. Don’t imitate others. If you speak spontaneously, you will speak differently from anyone else in the world. Put your own individuality, your own characteristic manner into your delivery.
Talk to your hearers just as if you expected them to stand up in a moment and talk back to you. If they were to rise and ask you questions, your delivery would almost be sure to improve emphatically and at once. So imagine that someone has asked you a question and you are repeating it aloud. Say aloud, “You ask how do I know this? I’ll tell you…” That sort of thing will seem perfectly natural; it will break up the formality of your phraseology; it will warm and humanize your manner of talking.
Put your heart into your talking. Real emotional sincerity will help more than all the rules of Christendom.
Here are four things that all of us do unconsciously in earnest conversation. But do you do them when you are talking in public? Most people do not.
- Do you stress the important words in a sentence and subordinate the unimportant ones? Do you give almost every word including the, and, but, approximately the same amount of attention, or do you speak a sentence in much the same way that you say MassaCHUsetts?
- Does the pitch of your voice flow up and down the scale from high to low and back again-as the pitch of a little child does when speaking?
- Do you vary your rate of speaking, running rapidly over the unimportant words, spending more time on the ones you wish to stand out?
- Do you pause before an dafter your important ideas?
Sincere to you,