Great speeches result from careful preparation.
[music] When you’re recording a speech for an online class, you need to take a few extra steps. Pay attention to these seven tips to presentation stardom. Structure, presentation aids, location, audience and camera placement, lighting, attire, and delivery. Structure Let’s start with structure. Every speech, online or not, has a structure, although the structure varies depending on whether you’re giving a persuasive speech or an informative speech. Most good informative speeches include an introduction that contains an attention-getter, a credibility statement that tells the audience why you’re an expert on the topic, a relevance statement that tells the audience why they should care about the topic or why it is relevant to them, a thesis statement, and a preview of main points. The body of the speech should be well organized and based on an appropriate organizational pattern. For example, a speech can be chronologically, topically, or spatially organized. In addition the body of the speech should contain claims that are backed with supporting evidence. State your citations out loud so your audience knows where you gathered your information. The conclusion should contain a summary review of the main points and a thoughtful, memorable statement that leaves the audience impressed with your speech. Remember, the conclusion is the last thing the audience will hear from you, so make it great. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to say in your speech, decide what kinds of presentation aids you want to use. Presentation Aids Presentation aids supplement what you say. They can be drawings, photos, graphs, videos, audio recordings, or objects that you use to highlight and support your key points. Make sure your entire audience will be able to see and hear your presentation aids. A small image on your laptop that can be seen only by the first row of your audience isn’t effective. Visual aids need to be clear, have impact, and help the audience remember your points. Additionally, they should be neat, visible, necessary, and presented at the right time. When you use presentation aids, be sure to talk to your audience and not to your aids. Do not project a slide and then turn your back to your audience so you can read the text on the slide. The audience won’t be able to understand what you say if your back is turned. After you’ve figured out your presentation aids, you need to plan how to record your live speech on location so you can then make the speech available online. Location First, decide where you’re going to give your speech. Choose a place where you won’t hear a lot of background noise. Pick a place where you can comfortably seat your audience while still having enough room behind them to set up a video camera. Make sure there’s room to display your presentation aids. Avoid reflective or distracting backgrounds, and make sure you don’t have to stand with your back to a brightly lit window or a mirror. Don’t stand in front of moving objects, such as blowing curtains. Audience and Camera Placement When you’ve chosen your location, arrange chairs for your audience to sit in. The chairs should be close enough to where you’re going to stand so the audience can hear you easily, but not so close that they–or you–will feel crowded. Then place the video camera behind or beside the audience, where they won’t be distracted by it, but close enough to you so the microphone can clearly record your speech. Ideally, put the camera on a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, put the camera on a steady surface. The camera needs to be high enough so at least the upper half of your body is visible in the camera’s viewfinder. If you’re an active speaker who moves around or gestures a lot, position the camera so your whole body is visible. You might want to enlist a friend to operate the video camera, but tell your friend not to overuse the zoom function. Then turn your attention to the lighting. Lighting Lighting can mean the difference between a good recording and an unusable one, so be sure to give your speech in a well-lit area. You want the light to illuminate your face and body evenly, without dramatic shadows. Two lights placed at roughly 45-degree angles from where you plan to stand will work better than a single light. If a brightly lit window or bright lamps are behind you, your face will be shadowed. If your light is down low, you can look ghoulish. If you’re in front of a reflective surface, like glass or a mirror or even highly polished wood, the camera will see reflections from your lights. Do a few test recordings, perhaps using a friend as a stand-in or as the camera operator, and adjust the placement of the lights until the camera’s viewfinder shows that you are well lit, and there aren’t any distracting bright spots on your background. Check the audio quality while you’re at it. Once your lighting and audio are set, figure out what you’re going to wear. Attire Choosing appropriate attire shows respect for your audience, and first impressions matter. Before you ever begin speaking, your audience will form an opinion of you based on your appearance, so dress in a way that helps establish your credibility. Figure out whether business attire or casual clothing is the norm for your audience, and dress accordingly. That means don’t wear torn or dirty clothing, and don’t wear pajamas. Some otherwise nice-looking clothing doesn’t work well for video. For example, striped shirts can look like they’re vibrating. Busy patterns draw the audience’s attention away from you and your presentation aids, so avoid them. Don’t wear a shirt that’s the same color as the background. Solid colors that contrast with the background but don’t clash with it are best. Delivery Before you give your speech, practice it aloud several times in the location you’ve chosen. You should be speaking from your keyword outline and should not be reading at all. Your goal is to speak extemporaneously, which means you should sound as if you’re having a natural conversation with the audience, without the use of vocal fillers like “uh” and “um”. You can glance at your speech outline, but don’t read your speech. Don’t speak in a monotone manner, and do use vocal variety, which means making sure your voice rises and falls to match what you’re saying and gets stronger when emphasizing important points. Practice using your presentation aids, and make sure your speech is neither too short nor too long for the allotted speaking time. Do a dress rehearsal with everything in place except the audience, and record the dress rehearsal so you can review your performance and fine-tune it before giving the actual speech. When you give your speech, talk to your audience, and not the camera. Make eye contact with your audience, and speak loudly and clearly enough that they can hear and understand you. Through your words and vocal inflections, let the audience know when the speech is over. Conclusion Many people are nervous about public speaking, but the best way to ensure a successful speech is through preparation and lots of practice. Go forth and speak well! [music]