This semester I had the chance to take Art of Oratory, this course has taught me so much on how my presence and performance in front of a group can affect the way my speech comes across. During this course, I had the opportunity to research and discover different speakers who have given amazing and inspirational speeches. Speaking has been around for a very long time, and our understanding of it comes to us at a very young age. I have researched and watched many great speeches but only one has really moved me. The speech I have chosen is the speech that Earl Spencer gave at his sisters, Princess Diana, funeral. (Staple, 2013)
Charles Edward Maurice Spencer was Princess Diana’s younger ...view middle of the document...
17) During this speech, the speaker kept a very still stance. His back straight, arms next to him and head slightly bent downwards to read his paper.
All authentic speaking begins with eye contact. Eye contact is used to initiate relationship and regulate conversation. Unconscious tendencies in eye contact can deeply undermine the connection between speaker and audience. Fleeting eye contact can be interpreted as a sign of nervousness or uncertainty. Emphatic and deliberate eye contact, on the other hand, is a mark of authentic connection. Ideally, a speaker would be able to establish eye contact with everyone in a room, though this is obviously impossible in many situations where the room is just too big (Scully, p.18) The speaker has almost no eye contact, which fits well with his speech since it is sad. The speaker reads his paper the whole time, as if its too hard for him to lift his eyes and face the audience since he is mourning.
Hands are among the most powerful tools that we have for communicating. They can emphasise key points and depict imagery in ways where words can fail. Some effective ways to use your hands are counting, finger pause, chopping, hitting, drawing in, shaking off, waving away and point to a scene or place (Scully, p. 20). The speakers hands are placed on the podium in front of him, next to his paper. They aren’t used for anything, which gives another impression of sadness and weakness.
Use of platform, like all other non-verbals, must be deliberate. A good performer will resist the urge to stay in one place, or to pace aimlessly; movement needs to be conscious and linked to content (Scully, p. 21). The speakers’ platform is the podium, which he uses very well since he takes up the whole space. His proximity is only around the podium, he does not walk or move around the podium.
What speakers do with their faces has enormous consequences for how their words are received. Just as eye contact can reveal a disconnect between the words and the actual feelings of the speaker, facial expression provides an important key for an audience about whether or not the speaker is being sincere and authentic. There are two kinds of expression here: macro-facial and micro-facial. We can have explicit, direct, conscious control over macro-facial expression – we can make ourselves smile or frown when we want to. The challenge comes with the audience perceiving micro-facial expression that we might not be aware of, given that they are involuntary; a split-second is enough to reveal an otherwise suppressed smile or sneer (Scully, p.22). The speakers’ facial expression is very sad and emotionless; he gives off a depressed and gloomy feel to the whole speech. He does not have any micro-facial expressions.
While a strong base volume is vitally important to an orator, it is important that there be variety; we should talk about the volumes, rather than simply the volume, of the speaker. Of course, a strong base volume will establish...