Toastmaster Speech Manual Number
Show What You Mean
|* To Learn
the value of gestures and body movements as part of a speeches
* To explore the different ways
of using body language
* To develop a sense of timing
and natural, smooth body movements
* Time Five to seven minutes
Most likely when you talk
to your friends or co-workers, you move your hands and arms, walk around, make
eye contact, or change the expressions on your face. These movements are called
Body language is as
important in public speaking as it is in everyday conversation. By learning how
to use body language in your speeches to illustrate and emphasize the points you
are making, you will dramatically increase your speeches' effectiveness. Body
language has another purpose, too.
Gesture, movement, and facial expressions help to
release any nervous energy you may have as you stand before and audience.
|Seeing is Believing |
As you learned in the second manual project, the only
speeches worth giving are those on subjects about which you fell strongly. Yet
imagine a speaker who is sincere about her topic, but stands stiffly before the
audience, not moving at all or even looking at her audience as she speaks. Her
words say she cares about the subject, but her body communicates otherwise.
Unfortunately, the audience usually believes most what they see. The result is
that listeners don't thinks he speakers is sincere and they ignore her message.
A successful speaker uses words and
body language together to convey a message and show sincerity. Body language
includes movement, gestures, facial expression, and eye contact.
Beginning speakers usually stand in one place as they speak.
They are uncertain, uncomfortable, and self-conscious. But watching someone
stand in the same place for long periods can be boring. When you move around,
you display energy and provide variety for the audience. Their eyes and heads
follow you as you move from one place to another .
Movement can vary. Step toward the
audience to emphasize a pint. Step back to show you've finished a point. Move
crosswise to emphasize that you're proceeding to another point. If you want to
dramatize a specific point, use movement. For example, if you are describing a
physical action such as catching a ball or running a marathon, act out your
description by moving your body speech. In fact, they may even distract or
irritate your audience. Your movements should always be purposeful and add to
Gestures are the most expressive part of body language
when you are speaking before an audience. Gestures involve the use of your hands
and arms to illustrate your words.
1. Size, weight,
shape, direction, location. These physical characteristics call for
hand gestures. " He went that
way!" you may exclaim, as you dramatically point out the
2. Importance or
urgency. Show your audience how important your point is. Hit your fist
into your open palm.
3. Comparison and
contrast. Move both your hands in union to show similarities; move
them in opposition to show
Gestures can mean many things. For
instance, clenched fists generally show power. If you want your audience to join
you in fighting some injustice, for example, you may want to clench your fist as
you urge them to take action. Open palms mean giving. Describing how a kindly
neighbor helped someone in need may involve displaying your open palms to
indicate generosity and caring.
A forefinger pointing toward the
ceiling means people should pay attention to what you are saying. Folding your
arms across your chest conveys unity, a good gesture to use when you are
emphasizing team work or trying to resolve a conflict.
|Facial Expression |
People watch a speaker's face during a speech and take cues
about how they are supposed to react or feel the looks on your face. Your
eyes, eye movement, eyebrows, and mouth play vital roles in showing sadness,
fear, happiness, anger, frustration, nervousness, excitement. When you show
these feelings, your audience will emulate them.
You can show sadness by lowering your
eyelids, turning down your mouth slightly, and bowing your head. You can show
surprise or disbelief by widening your eyes and raising your eyebrows. To
demonstrate happiness, smile broadly.
If you are talking about a terrible
automobile accident, yet you are smiling and nodding, your audience will be
confused, not sad. Your facial expression must be consistent with the feelings
or information you are trying to convey. Otherwise, your audience will think you
|Eye Contact |
Have you ever spoken with someone who did not look at you
directly? They may have looked over your shoulder, above your head, at the
floor, or even at someone else, but they would not look you in the eye. What did
Most likely you doubted their honesty,
interest, and confidence. Or you may have felt excluded from the conversation.
Eye contact plays a major role in our impression of someone, and as a speaker
you should pay special attention to it.
When you look directly at people, they
believe you care about them. They think you are sincere, credible,
friendly, and honest. These feelings have a great impact on your message and
their willingness to accept it.
As you speak, look at the people in
your audience. Don't just gaze around the room. Look directly at one person
until you finish a thought, then move on to another person. Avoid looking
repeatedly at the same person, wagging your head from side to side, or moving
your head slowly back and forth like an oscillating fan. Don't follow a specific
pattern; make random eye contact. If the audience is large, pick out one or two
people in each one so they get the impression you are talking ti them directly.
|Crafting Your Speech |
Since the main purpose of this speech is to use body language,
select your subject with that in mind. Choose a topic that requires the use of
body movement, gestures, facial expression, and eye contact to effectively make
a point. Built your speech to include appropriate movements.
For example, one member who likes to
fish described how he caught a large marlin. He used hand and arm gestures to
show how he handled the line and how he pulled it in. He indicated the size of
the fish with his arms, and his face showed the struggle and the triumph.
Another member who was a writer
described the obstacles she encountered as she tried to complete a manuscript by
a publisher's deadline. She used facial expression and gestures as she described
how she had cope with two sick children, noisy neighbors, late nights, and
barking dogs as she finished the draft just in time.
These are just a few examples of speech
|Be Sure to Rehearse |
Body language that looks unnatural or rehearsed can ruin even
the most carefully prepared speech. The hardest part of using body language is
making it look natural and spontaneous. Using it appropriately will tale careful
rehearsals. When you have arranged your speech material, try several different
ways of using your arms, hands, and facial expression to convey your message. Do
not awkward. Natural position and smooth movements will come each practice.
Match your gestures to your words. You
should be compelled to gesture and make facial expression when your thought
requires such action. Just be certain that they flow smoothly as you speak.
Don't finish a thought, then gesture or make a facial expression. Both must be
done as you speak or they will look stilted and phony to your audience.
If you have access to videotape
equipment, you should use it in you rehearsal to help you improve the
presentation. Otherwise, practice before a friend and ask for comments on your
use of body language. Rehearsing in front of a mirror may also help. Eventually,
as you become more comfortable, your body language will spring naturally from
You will find more information about
body language in the manual Gestures : Your Body Speaks, which is included in
your New Member Kit.
|Your Evaluation |
You will not master the use of body language in this one speech,
but you will make a good start. Use body language in every speech you make from
In this project, both you and your evaluator
should pay attention to whether your body language extended, enriched, and clarified
the message of your speech. Your evaluator will be looking for smooth, natural
gestures, The message your listeners see should be the same one they hear.
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