Thursday, January 21, 2016

5 ways you can analyze your speech once it's done (and how I do it)

I know, I know. You hate watching video of your speeches and talks. You deny that they exist on the Internet, so others won't look at them (like that works).

But if you're lucky enough--and I do mean lucky--to have a video recording of your speech or presentation, it can be one of the best learning tools you'll ever have for improving your public speaking. I hope you're already using my no-wincing checklist for what to look for on the video of your talk. But you can get even more from your review if you take the time to do the five kinds of reviews I do for clients after a speech:
  1. Video with the sound off: At least one viewing without audio lets you focus on appearance: How you move and gesture, facial expressions, wardrobe, lighting, setting, and more. You may be surprised at what you notice without the audio on.
  2. Audio without the video: This pass lets you focus on your vocal delivery. Shut your eyes or turn away from the screen, and listen. Think about speed and pace, montone versus varied tones and volumes, pauses, emphasis. 
  3. Audio and video together: The whole package helps you see how everything works together--say, when you combine movement and voice for emphasizing a particular point. But watch the full audio/video combination after you've watched the video only and listened to audio only.
  4. Transcribed: There's nothing like a transcript to help you see how you really talk during a presentation. If you planned your talk with a script and wrote it to 120 words/minute, did you keep to that pace? Were you faster or slower? If you're hiring a transcription service, be sure to specify that you want the ums and uhs included in the transcript, otherwise, common practice is to leave them out. But in this case, you want to see them. And if you want to see which words you repeat more than others, put the text of the transcript into a word cloud generator. If you scripted yourself in advance, a transcript helps you see what you skipped, changed on the fly, or added--all good things to know about your speaking self. Lots of asides may make you feel more comfortable, but total the time they take. Did you go over because you were overly expansive on your topic?
  5. Odd moments of hesitation: If you're able to watch the video soon after you deliver the talk, you'll be better able to analyze odd moments of hesitation. It might be a passing look on your face, a particular kind of pause, an out-of-context gesture, or some other clue that you were thinking about something else while speaking. If you can pinpoint what was going on in your mind at that moment, you'll have a better chance to prepare a workaround so it doesn't distract you again next time.
(Creative Commons licensed photo by Devon Christopher Adams)