"Just get up there and DO IT!"           

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  • Eye Contact - If you're not paying attention to them, they're not paying attention to you.  Vary your eye contact about the audience, changing people as your prose suggests - for example, stay with the same person through the end of a phrase or sentence, then switch.  Especially in competitive speech, eye contact is a very important criterion for judging;  practice it, make it natural.  You'll be glad you did.


  • Inflection - Every inexperienced speaker runs the risk of a monotonous speaking voice.  Just remember that you need to exaggerate all inflection while on stage - you need more emphasis to get the tone of your speaking across to a larger audience.  Don't overdo it and overact, though; sincerity is a delicate and precious aspect of any presentation.  Practice will help you strike the balance!


  • Gestures - A touchy part of any speech; you want to make sure that you're neither rigid nor dizzying, as either detracts significantly from the presentation.  Practice, practice, practice - you should have some idea of what kind of thing you're doing to accompany each segment of the speech, but knowing exactly what you're doing conveys a yucky plastic artificial quality that nobody wants to see.  Vary gestures from practice to practice, performance to performance... it'll keep you on your toes, and that keeps the audience interested.  


         Still a bit nervous about your speech?  That's okay!  There are ways to deal with it.  Check them out in the section on Dealing with Nervousness...