Verbal and Nonverbal Delivery

Course(s) Used:

  • Public Speaking

Goals and Objectives:

  • Students can identify the features of good verbal delivery.
  • Students can identify the features of good nonverbal delivery.
  • Students come out of their shell and present passionately.

Rationale: The speed of information has increased dramatically in our interconnected world. Social media, blogging, and other forms of communication technology mean that crises appear and build momentum more quickly than ever. Basic exposure to crisis response presentations is essential because members of organizations never know when they may need to be part of responding to a crisis.

Materials Needed


  • None


  • Classroom computer and projector

Outline of the Lesson

  1. Review of previous session’s content
  2. Lesson opening
  3. View Phil Davison speech1
  4. Delivery matters
    1. If you don’t look like you care, why should your audience care?
    2. Boring presentations are the worst2
  5. Using note cards
    1. Write on one side only
    2. Number them
    3. Use only key words, not full sentences (except references and direct quotes)
    4. Start each new entry on a new line
    5. Treat them as a “checklist” to make sure you don’t forget something or jump around
    6. Bring the cards up! Do not bring your face down.
    7. Include additional information (reminders, positive talk, delivery cues)
    8. Consider using colors to highlight transitions or other important parts
    9. Mistakes to avoid:
      1. Not using normal 3x5 index cards (unless you are a giant)
      2. Using tiny scraps of paper as note cards
      3. Using brightly colored note cards (difficult to see, and distract your audience)
      4. Writing your entire presentation on them
      5. Filling note cards with text
      6. “I don’t know what to do with my hands.”
      7. Throwing note cards when done with them (distracts your audience)
      8. Reading them off of a table/podium (the whole point is that they can move with you)
  6. Verbal Delivery
    1. Volume
    2. Rate
    3. Pitch
    4. Vocal variety
    5. Fillers and fluency
  7. Nonverbal Delivery
    1. Whole body movement
    2. Posture
    3. Gestures
    4. Adapters (generally distracting)
    5. Facial Expressions
    6. Eye contact
  8. Hands-on group work
    1. Go create an outline for a brief presentation in groups
    2. Practice delivering it individually
      1. Each member should have a different verbal and nonverbal style
      2. Over-enthusiasm is encouraged
    3. Deliver the random presentations
    4. Debrief the activity
  9. Lesson closing


This lesson requires student access to online resources and personal computers. Strategic grouping may be necessary for improved peer mentoring.

Variations and Accommodations

Follow guidance from local accommodation authorities. Students for whom technology usage will present an unreasonable burden may be accommodated on an individual basis. Students may be placed in groups strategically if needed.

  1. Gebhardt, S. (2011, March 8). “Phil Davison, GOP Candidate [Original, Full Video]” [Online Video]. Retrieved from ^
  2. There is nothing worse than a boring presentation. At least bad presentations are memorable. ^