Good at speaking and giving lectures: 2 X 5 tips for speakers

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There are good lectures and bad ones. And there are a number of factors that determine this rating. Tips for better lectures.

Good at speaking and giving lectures: 2 X 5 tips for speakers

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Good and bad lectures: what makes the difference?

In the course of our professional lives we hear numerous lectures, good and less good, brilliant and really bad. What makes the difference? How do you make lectures better, more engaging?

Studies show that lectures with economical and pointed use of media are more popular. Above all, this has to do with the fact that the listeners are not distracted from the spoken word by, for example, power pouch films, but can concentrate entirely on the speech. If the knowledge is also developed directly on the object (audio / video, score or - in most cases - text) or at least related to one's own experience, this increases the public's interest.

Perfect lectures - 5 tips: What can speakers do better?

Lectures basically have the opportunity to be exciting and educational, not leased for themselves, some are, some are not. What can speakers do better?

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  1. Prepared knowledge: Of course, each speaker should be well prepared in terms of content.
  2. Use media sparingly: Media - whether blackboard, PowerPoint or video - are used in a targeted manner, it is always clear what is to be illustrated or discussed with them.
  3. Illustrate what has been said: Visualizations are created in the process and only serve to support the presentation or discussion, not as a guide.
  4. More than pure facts: Instead of pure facts, relationships are presented - even beyond seeming technical boundaries. Detailed analysis and the representation of large relationships are in balance and complement each other.
  5. No light food: A good lecture demands the participants according to their level of knowledge.

Pay attention to the voice

Anyone who has something to say needs their voice - whether in everyday life or in the world of work. Especially in service occupations, the voice is an essential working tool and therefore fundamental to success.

However, despite the great and growing importance of caring for the voice, it is often neglected - this can result in voice problems or even voice disorders. The voice therefore makes an important contribution to success in the job and to health. The voice expert Ingrid Amon writes in her book “The Power of the Voice: Personality through Sound, Volume and Dynamics”, published by MVG in 2011:

Why are some people judged by others as gray mice and mice, others as fascinating, attractive, winning personalities? Already in 1972 the social psychologist Albert Mehrabian was one of the first to conduct an experiment in which he examined the expression areas of word, tone and facial expression in their relative effect. For a clear separation, the facial expression was transmitted via silent videos. The tone was examined using a band filter. The contents of the spoken words were incomprehensible, but the sound and the speech melody were preserved. How did the components behave with regard to a positive impression? - The result of the »Silent Messages« study is still widely quoted and undisputed: both non-verbal signals had a much stronger effect than the verbal content! A quarter of a century later, the magazine GEO (December 1998) achieved an even higher voice effect with regard to personal charisma: A representative study found that an educated person judges a new acquaintance 40 percent by the sound of the voice. The 1000 respondents only considered face and clothing to be even more important. The higher the level of education and life experience, the more important the voice becomes: second behind the performance! 50 percent of academics over 56 years of age have a say in sympathy and antipathy. Speech effects researchers Hartwig Eckert and John Laver make it even clearer. They summarize the state of their scientific research as follows: "Not what we say, but how we say it, is of the utmost importance for interpersonal relationships!" It was already known in ancient Rome that the content was not so important. The Roman speaker Quintilian asserted that "a mediocre content under the force of a completed lecture makes more impression than the most perfect idea that the lecture lacks." A proverb has been telling us for a long time now that any research: "Sound makes music . «How do you implement this information personally? You can observe the application of these laws. In many areas where there is a lot of money and a lot of power involved: advertising and politics. Watch commercials on TV. Optimal "human material" is selected for the optics. It tests exactly whether someone is a guy by the outside who can advertise coffee, baby diapers or rather laundry detergent. Then the majority of the spots are underlaid with optimally trained actor or voice actor voices. (You can often hear the same people speaking if you listen carefully.) Full-bodied, round, warm voices then convey little-demanding messages to the consumer: they have stains, the detergent company has a solution, this cereal makes you mobile and that little water calms you down the nerves ... and it works!

Why is the voice important?

But it is important to prevent health problems such as persistent hoarseness. There is a reason for this: while the strain on the voice increases, the regeneration time required decreases.

Scientists therefore differentiate between work and individual factors that strain the voice. The work factors include time pressure or disturbing background noise. The individual factors include a wrong breathing technique or lifestyle, such as smoking.

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Better in voice - 5 tips: what can you do?

Exercises suitable for everyday use are recommended to improve the performance of the voice. We have listed 5 small exercises here. Again, voice expert Amon:

On the sonic level, too, we often deal with saboteurs / vampires. The ear of the auditorium is z. B. by loud, noisy inhalation, swallowed final syllables, stuttering, lisping, nasal, too quiet or too loud speech, too monotonous speech melody, wrong pitch, too many "Uhs", favorite words, buzzwords (cool, mega, great, etc.) , constant clearing of the throat etc. is irritating.

  1. Please don't clear your throat: clearing your throat, for example, does much more than help.
  2. Drink water: Instead, sufferers should drink a sip of water.
  3. Yawning: Yawning also relaxes the muscles.
  4. Breathe properly: Sniff breathing stresses the voice.
  5. If you have severe health problems, you should go to the doctor.

Conclusion: Good lectures depend on the person and their skills

Last but not least, lectures stand and fall with the person and the specialist knowledge of the lecturer: If you swim in your topic like a fish in the water and can present information in a pointed and entertaining way, a croaky voice or the loss of the common thread can do nothing. Ingrid Amons also explains this:

What could that mean for your speaking situations in the future? Sure - your content should continue to be top notch. What you say must of course be correct and technically correct. But whether you phrase it more or less perfectly isn't so important. Be much more careful to pack your content excellently: pleasant in tone, clean in pronunciation, melodic in voice guidance, varied in volume, rhythmic with skilful pauses, exciting with clear emphasis, convincing with vocal strength, effortlessly understandable due to freedom of dialect , Do not serve your excellent red wine (= content) in a toothbrush mug, but in a sparkling crystal glass. Score with speech culture. One can and should recognize that you have taken care of both the content and its best possible form. That is what makes the true master today. That form and content are of equal value to him. As a professional, you will very likely have a thorough look at your visual appearance at least once in your life. With questions about the right clothes, the right movement, effective body language. Most of us (unfortunately) didn't learn this at school, so there is a need for action now in adulthood. Due to the fact that other people are looking at you, clothing, hairstyle, posture and movement can make your eyes look good. Or trigger irritation. Deliberately avoid extreme abnormalities without sacrificing personal style. A green-spotted tie and a short, tight leather skirt often become saboteurs of your actual message in business life. Such vampires distract the viewer's attention from their content. Unkemptness of every kind also captivates the eyes of the viewer: running stitches, stains, scales, lipstick on the teeth, unplastered shoes and glasses, open trouser fly ... So before each performance there is also a hand wash and a short dress check. To find out whether you have an overly striking gesture, you can e.g. B. unconsciously constantly driving through your hair, playing around with rings or with ballpoint pens, the video recording of a request to speak is usually sufficient. Rule of thumb: Your look is right if nobody makes your clothes or your gestures a topic. Professional help comes from style and color consultants and body language professionals.

Anyone who is still able to answer detailed questions without preparation and spontaneously present links from one thing to another demonstrates not only fluency, but also comprehensive education beyond the technical field.

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  1. Simone Janson

    Hello Ellie,
    thank you for the praise. Glad if the whole effort is worth it!

  2. Ellie Berbig

    Nice page! This post is well written. Thanks for that.

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