One of the best ways for a public speaker to improve his or her presentation is to record it. Whether the recording is audio only or audio and video, capturing yourself on “tape,” so to speak, will give you three significant benefits:
- To get comfortable with the rhythm and pacing. Public speaking is theatre. Even if every word you say is a fact, the presentation is still a performance. The sentences aren’t pieces of paragraphs meant to be read silently from a page, they are lines (there is a big difference). Recording yourself will allow you to analyze your speech and find spots where you might be talking too fast or slowly. A well-written speech should already have rhythm built into the text, but only recording and listening will give you the opportunity to dissect and improve your delivery.
- To find words that look good on paper but are hard to say aloud. Some phrases are better left in print. Multisyllabic words paired with alliterative phrases may make beautiful prose, but they can wreak havoc on a speech. It is best to use simple talk that lands with power instead of complex language that may have you tongue-tied and confuse your audience.
- To find spots that can be edited or cut altogether. I rarely hear anyone say that a speech was too short. In this day and age when many people have the attention span of a goldfish, it is a good idea to find words, sentences, and sometimes entire paragraphs that can be edited or
cutfrom your talk. Lean presentations are best and can still be phenomenal.
- To check your volume. Just like rhythm and pacing, volume matters. Recording your speech will give you a chance to find spots where a softer (or louder) tone may be more effective. It will also give you the opportunity to perfect intonation and inflection in any stories that you tell.
The voice recorder app that comes standard on most smartphones can serve as a tool. A standalone digital recording device may be more convenient, however, as you won’t have to push several buttons to get it to start capturing your speech. Whether you hire a speech writing service or pen your own presentations, be sure to record your talk before delivering it to your audience. The extra step will put you ahead of others who don’t.