Your Delivery Coaching Masterclass
…and welcome to Speechy’s Delivery Coaching Programme.
Rest assured, you’re in safe hands. The Speechy team have been working in TV and theatre for decades and we’ve designed this programme to share the tricks of the presenting trade with you.
Here’s how it works…
STEP 1 – UPLOAD YOUR SPEECH
Upload your speech so we can review it before our coaching session. It helps us work out timings, emphasis, and where we might need to edit your speech to make it easier and more powerful to deliver.
STEP 2 – DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Read through our rehearsal tips and start putting them into practice before our Delivery Coaching Session. ‘Favourite’ this page so you can access it easily.
STEP 3 – PREPARE FOR OUR COACHING SESSION
Ensure you’re ready to speak to us on Zoom at the scheduled time to make full use of your hour.
We’ll send you an invite to your Zoom session via email.
Please keep to your allotted appointment as our coaches’ diaries are usually very full. Although we’ll try to reschedule the first missed appointment, we cannot guarantee availability.
In advance of our Zoom session, you have a bit of homework.
PREPARE YOUR NOTES
- We encourage even the most experienced speakers to have notes with them on the day. We’ve seen hardened TV presenters suddenly freeze when they’re stood in front of their friends and family talking about love!
- Consider how you want to present your notes. Five years ago, it was unthinkable to read your speech from a tablet or phone (too casual) but these days it’s fairly common.
- If you do decide on using tech, we recommend a tablet rather than your phone so there’s less scrolling involved.
- If you decide to go more traditional, use quality A4 paper but print only halfway down the page so you’re not looking down and can maintain eye contact. Ensure your ‘page turns’ are positioned where there’s a natural pause in your speech, either for laughter or a toast.
MEMORISE YOUR SPEECH
- Yes, we know, we just said use notes. But memorising your speech, at least becoming very familiar with it, is key to nailing the delivery.
- Try to learn your speech before our call. It will make your delivery coaching much more effective, even when you’re reading from your notes.
- An excellent way to learn your speech is by writing it down. Studies have shown it doesn’t matter if you’re copying, the simple act of writing your speech helps commit it to memory. And typing it isn’t as effective, you need to get out the old pen and paper.
- Rehearse out loud. Experts say the spoken word improves our memory by 10%.
- Rehearse your whole speech no less than five times – and ideally recite your speech three times in a row to ensure its thoroughly ingrained.
- Record your rehearsal on your phone. You now have a visual and audio memory aid.
- Finally, practise before bedtime. Neuroscientists have shown sleep helps consolidate new information.
CHECK THE ACOUSTICS OF THE VENUE
- Or ensure someone else has. No one will enjoy your speech if they can’t hear it.
- On the day your voice will become more muffled by the hum of the guests (even when they’re ‘silent’) so if there’s any doubt, hire a mic.
- If you’re using a mic this involves rehearsing with a mic (or a least a hairbrush!). Work out how you will hold your mic and your notes! Beware of ‘popping’ – hold your mic about an inch below your mouth at a 45-degree angle.
- Don’t ‘forget’ the positioning of your mic halfway through your speech. Expect heckles if you do!
MAKE SURE YOU MEASURE UP
- Have you been given a specific duration? If so, ensure you measure up.
- There are useful apps to help you estimate your delivery time as you’re writing and editing your speech.
- Remember, on the day, laughter and ad-libs will make your delivery longer. Aim for between six and ten minutes depending on your role.
Your Delivery Coach
“Hello, I’m Heidi Ellert-McDermott
My passion for making speeches dynamic and fun started with a love of words and then a career as a director, producing many famous household names over the last 20 years – including Richard Hammond, Sharon Osbourne and David Mitchell amongst others.
This first-hand experience means I can get you in the right mindset so that your words won’t be forgotten.
I know my techniques are effective and easy to apply as I use them on myself all the time!”
- The fundamental rule and something we’ll be hammering home in our coaching session is DO NOT rush your delivery. Your speech will be much stronger if you slow it down. You’ll immediately seem more confident too. Think Barack and Michelle Obama.
- When it comes to delivering the comedy, people often need a moment to ‘get’ a joke, so if you expect laughter, simply wait for it! It can take confidence, but it works.
- Of course, the worst thing you can do is talk over laughter. If there’s even one person still sniggering, wait for them to finish before you continue your speech. Smile and lap it up.
- This is key to you coming across as relaxed and in control, and this, in turn, is what makes your audience relax and able to enjoy your speech.
- Smile. Even if your presenting persona is a grumpy one, smile when you stand up and begin your speech. A smile is scientifically proven to be infectious and is the easiest, most effective tip to put into practice.
- Have an open posture. Use your hands and open up your body, showing the palms of your hands.
- Eye contact is essential (no hiding behind your notes!) – and the importance of your facial expression cannot be overemphasised. A cheeky look, an eyebrow raise can elicit as much laughter as a comedy line.
PROPS AND GIFTS
- We generally discourage speakers from using props but if you plan to use any, make sure you’ve stage-managed it.
- With gifts, we suggest giving them personally earlier or later in the day, as it adds unnecessary awkwardness to your speech. If you do want to include them, we recommend recruiting the services of one of the wedding party, or ideally a cute child, to do the delivery while you introduce them and carry on with your speech.
- If you’re planning on using PowerPoint, recruit a ‘glamorous assistant’ to work the tech. You’ll need to rehearse with them in advance to ensure you’re fully co-ordinated.
Seems ridiculous to say, but getting your breath right is essential.
- Breathing powers the voice. It enables us to project to 3,000 people in an auditorium, and it stops us from losing energy towards the end of a sentence.
- It’s also an emotional indicator. Often, when we are nervous, the breath can shoot up to the chest and throat, and we tend to hold our bellies in. But if we’re relaxed, we can have a deep breath in the body, making a more resonate tone.
- Breathing also aides composure. The breath creates a gap and pause which composes us. Ideally, we want to create regular, smooth breathing. Watch Dr Alan’s ace TED Talk (from 14.00min part 1) or this TED Talk (from 10.00-15.00min part2)
- Get your mindset right, and you’re sorted. The key to this is knowing your speech is actually about your audience, not you! Focus on the wedding guests; moving them and making them laugh – and stop thinking so much about yourself!
Great inspo videos
FACE AND MOUTH EXERCISES
When you deliver your speech, we want all the muscles in your face to feel relaxed, so let’s get training.
- Massage the face, jaw, cheeks, forehead and temples with your fingertips.
- Circle your tongue clockwise 15 times around the front of your teeth then anti-clockwise 15 times.
- Imagine you’re chewing an enormous chewing gum
- Write your name in full with the tip of your tongue. Try to keep the jaw relaxed.
- Have a conversation with your tongue out, letting it hang, not allowing it to pop back into your mouth when you speak. If you can’t do this, let your tongue hang out to it’s fullest length for 30 seconds. This should feel like a comfortable stretch for your tongue. NOW SPEAK NORMALLY. FEEL THE DIFFERENCE?
Articulatory agility is what we want, and tongue twisters are a great exercise for not only the tongue but the palate and the lips. Here are a few to get your chops round.
- The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue, the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.
- A box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits and a biscuit mixer
- She sits and shines shoes, and when she sits, she shines all day
- Good blood, bad blood, good blood, bad blood
- Red blood, blue blood, red blood, blue blood
If you’re nervous about giving your speech, we’d highly recommend you start practising the ‘three-minute breathing space’; a mindfulness concept that has been shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety. You can find lots of various audio guides and Youtube clips to lead you through it.
On the day, even three minutes to yourself might be unlikely, so instead, use diaphragmatic breathing.
Breathe deep into your lower abdominal. As you inhale the rib cage should expand, as should your lower stomach. The chest and shoulders should remain relaxed, and as you exhale the rib cage should contract, and the lower abdomen relax. This is guaranteed to help calm your body and mind.