Have you seen the latest season of the iconic show, House of Cards?
The hit TV show took a dramatic turn in Chapter 65, when Claire Underwood took over as the President of the United States of America. If you have watched the show, you’ll surely know the charisma of Claire Underwood. In her first speech as the President, she established her authority; she proved that she is not merely a reflection of her husband, but she delivered a subtle yet knockout punch through her closing words.
All of this in just a matter of under three minutes!
If you watch this scene closely, she addressed the media while standing behind a podium with a very limited scope of body language and gestures. The speech she read was probably written by her staff members. So, how did she deliver this speech excellently? How did she make her mark on her arrival on the big stage?
Pacing her speech!
Claire Underwood spoke slowly but firmly. She spoke around only 88 words in a minute. A regular person speaks around roughly 150 words in a minute. Online research says that a TEDx speaker speaks around 140 words a minute. Speaking at the pace of 140-150 words a minute conveys excitement, energy, and energy towards your topic. However, Claire Underwood had something else on her mind. She wanted to make a different impression:
Claire Underwood was calm and knew what she is doing. Now imagine yourself in her place as a leader. If you wanted to make the same impact as her speech, wouldn’t you want the same calmness, steadiness, and empathy in your speech? Wouldn’t you want the same pace of speaking when you deliver a speech?
i). Understand the purpose of your speech – The occasion for delivering a speech and your pace of speaking have an almost direct correlation. In order to deliver a powerful speech, always gauge your occasion and understand the purpose of your speech. Based on this purpose, pace your speech and you’ll never go wrong.
ii). Control your nervousness – It is very important to control your nervousness when you speak. Confidence radiates power. Nervousness, on the other hand, can either make you speak too fast or slow. You can practice regular breathing exercises or power poses to control your anxiety before a speech and help you ground your breathing.
iii). Planned pauses – Have you noticed a DJ at a nightclub, who pauses the music a few times just to create suspense, tension, and curiosity? As a speaker, you should do the same. Plan your pauses in advance. You can do this to make the audience aware of the highlights of your speech, deliver a punch, a twist in the tale, or before announcing something important. This ensures that you create enough suspense, tension, and curiosity among your audience, and just like the DJ, helps you make the right impact.
With these easy-to-follow tips, you can be sure to nail the Claire Underwood impression and deliver authority in your speech. Pacing can work wonders in your speech and with just the right amount of balance, it wouldn’t matter where you’re speaking, as it will always be “your turn”.
Lithuania calling this October. Really happy that I will be speaking at the PMI Congress in Lithuania on how to survive adversity. In my talk, I will share my idea on why we need a plan B and how to choose and make your Plan B.
July 13, 2020
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