You might have had an assignment as a student where you have to present a speech in front of the class. Most of the time, you are to present a declamation speech. You might have had difficulty on how to deliver your declamation piece. You might also have had a predicament on what to deliver for your declamation speech. Lastly, you might have had a problem on where to start with your speech and how to present it; let alone how to start to write an outline for your speech.
A declamation speech is a speaking event that would showcase a person’s prowess in public speaking as well as how he or she would incorporate his or her feelings with the piece as well as interpreting the content of the speech.
Ever found yourself stuck in deciding what declamation piece to present? Most of the time, declamation speeches are speeches that were presented by another person, perhaps the writer of the speech, in a form of presenting his or her declamation piece. With the myriad of declamation pieces available, it makes you indecisive on what declamation piece you would want to present. Here are five simple guidelines that will help you in choosing your declamation piece:
Choose a speech that you can pour your heart out as you deliver it. If you cannot present the piece with passion, you will surely sound fake and forced. There is no point at all in presenting a piece that does not hold any meaning to you.
Choose a speech with a point or message that meets and agrees your principles in life. In this way, you will be able to present your chosen piece with conviction; thus, sounding convincing enough to your audience.
There are speeches that would make you sound robotic in that you need to exert more effort to adjust. Choose a speech that would start low at the beginning but would eventually reach to a climax that would excite and hook your listeners.
Always make sure that you choose a speech that fits the given time limit. Even if you meet all the given criteria but you fail to fit the time frame, then it still serves you no good. Choose a speech that does not go beyond the time limit and also surpasses half of the given time.
Not all people can relate to every declamation piece out there so the least you can do is to make it understandable to your audience. Choose a speech that has a clear message so that it will be easy for you to deliver to the audience. It cannot be helped that there are topics that your audience can’t relate, and that you could not possibly know what kind of audience you deliver the speech to. But if given the opportunity to know who your audience are, make sure that your speech is worth listening for.
You do not need a lot of tips to enhance your delivery of a declamation piece. You just need the right ones to help you in improving your declamation speech delivery. Here are four simple and easy tips on how you should deliver your declamation pieces that will earn you a round of applause and a standing ovation from your audience:
Given that you have already written or researched your declamation speech, you should start practicing your piece more than once or twice. It is always effective that you rehearse in front of a mirror so that you could see yourself as you speak and identify the hand gestures you need to work on. It is also good to rehearse on your own so you can listen how you deliver the piece. You could also rehearse in front of someone you are comfortable practicing in front with so that the parts where you need to work on that go unnoticed as you practice by yourself will be noticed by other people who will help you in determining what are the other things in your speech delivery you should work on.
Time yourself as you practice so that you would be able to train yourself in delivering your speech within the given time limit. If you find yourself exceeding the time limit, figure out the parts of the piece that you can speed up. Also, make sure that you are not sacrificing or compromising the quality of your speech. One example of compromising the quality of your speech is that you would already start eating your words which would result to people not understanding what you are saying at all.
As you practice, make sure that you visualize yourself delivering your speech on the stage. You want to sound with authority and look confident? You can always visualize it. In doing so, you will eventually become exactly what you have envisioned yourself to be.
Have you noticed that when you memorize something and then you deliver it, you sound robotic? It is because you are trying to deliver it like you are reading the paper. One way of helping yourself in sounding natural in delivering your speech while practicing is by making some markers. Take for instance this one paragraph taken from the declamation piece entitled “Am I to be Blamed?”:
Please/ let me go,/ let me go home before you imprisoned me.// Very well,/ officers? Take me to
your headquarters.// Good morning captain!// No captain,/ you are mistaken,/ I was once a good
girl,/ just like the rest of you here. Just like any of your daughters.// But time was, /when I
was reared in slums.// But we lived honestly,/ we lived honestly in life.// My father,/
mother,/ brothers,/ sisters, and I.// But then,/ poverty enter the portals of our home/// My
father became jobless,/ my mother got ill. The small savings/ that my mother had kept
for our expenses/ were spent. All for our daily needs/ and her needed medicine.//
Notice the slash symbols? Aside from the comma and the period, the slash symbols can be used as markers that will signify or help you in locating where you should pause. Without these markers, you would be talking straight. Talking straight makes you sound like someone void of emotions. You can also encircle the words and phrases you want to put on the emphasis. Marking helps you in making your own tempo of the declamation and will make you sound much alive.
Sounding natural also helps you make a connection with your audience since it sounds like you are just having a normal conversation with them. Normal conversations would often engage and encourage people to listen.
Can you imagine yourself delivering your speech by only standing straight throughout your delivery and your face empty of emotions? According to experts, our body language takes up between 55% and 65% in our communication. That only means that no matter how good you are verbally and vocally but your body stands stiff and face void of emotions, then your speech could only make little to no impact on your audience.
Aside from the fact that enhancing body language helps in establishing a connection to your audience and an impact-filled stage presence, body language also helps you in expressing your declamation speech effectively. Since you have already expressed your speech well, this increases the percentage of retention of your speech in your audience. This will also help your audience in identifying which part of your declamation speech is the most impact-filled part. Use hand gestures to show the points where you want to emphasize.
However, it does not necessarily mean that you have to make exaggerated hand gestures in every word of your speech. There are some lines in some declamation pieces where the absence of a hand gesture enhances the meaning of the line but always make sure that your facial expression compensates the absence of hand gestures. Always be mindful of your hand gestures since it can be your medium where you unconsciously show your nervousness or anxiety as you deliver your speech. Do not also make it to a point where you use hand gestures as a cover up to your forgotten lines or simply as decoration.
Delivering any kind of speeches can be nerve-racking but if you would allow yourself to be overwhelmed with nervousness, then chances are, you will really mess up your delivery big time. As the famous idiom goes “fake it ’til you make it”, make it a point that once you already feel nervous, fake confidence until it becomes real. Always distract yourself from thinking that you might trip or forget a line. Remember Murphy’s Law that goes “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. If you keep on thinking that things will go wrong, it will really go wrong. You just have to relax or else you will really trip or forget lines from your declamation speech. Just have fun and your audience will also have fun listening to you.
If you still find it hard to focus and get rid of your nervousness, you can always focus on the message you want to point out to your audience in your speech. In that way, you can speak with conviction and will be able to deliver your message with genuine confidence.