- Know your audience and purpose – this will inform your language choice and style of delivery. If in doubt, aim for formal or semi-formal language, especially when delivering information for HSC assessments.
- Quote and / or question – engage your audience with a strong opening! Consider using a quote from the text or author. Pause. Then follow with a rhetorical question to maintain interest. Pause.
- Provide an overview (or sense of structure) in your introduction – consider using cues such as ‘Firstly’ ‘Secondly’ … ‘Finally’. these are often effective with a firm hand gesture.
- Build in ‘pause’ breaks after important information. Practice by counting to three in your head when delivering your speech.
- Repetition is an effective technique, but don’t overdo it! Consider repeating a cue, such as those words used in your overview / structure.
- Avoid saying ‘thank you for listening’ when you are finished. Have confidence that you have explained your ideas clearly.
- Conclude with a question and / or quote. Perhaps you could say ‘I’d like to leave you with this final idea …’ or consider answering a question that you posed in your opening. Maybe your question directly relates to the topic: ‘Is the journey more important than the destination? Yes, according to the poetry of Robert Frost discussed today.’
- Draft early and be prepared to make changes. Draft key points on cue cards and avoid using full sentences – you will be tempted to read rather than deliver.
- Practice, practice, practice. Time your delivery and expect that you will speak more quickly on the day – be prepared to include more information and consider speaking a little longer to compensate.
- Practice making effective eye contact and one or two simple hand gestures, and try to maintain a strong posture.
And finally, consider recording yourself to check your pronunciation and timing – even if you think your voice is uninteresting. You could then use the recording as a way of helping to memorise the presentation.
Best wishes for your performance!