7 effective tools for impactful public speaking
Written by Alexander Academy in Blog on November 7, 2022
Flying? Fine… deep diving? Fine… Public speaking? … Yikes!!
Public speaking is known to give even the most confident person a sweaty palm. This is one of the most dreaded things to do for most students and working professionals. Most people pose a certain degree of fear for public speaking; some, more than others.
The importance of strong public speaking skills:
Being a strong orator and a confident speaker will set you apart, both, in university and at the workplace. It allows you to take up leadership roles with ease. This is not just about getting rid of the fear, but also about learning how to speak clearly and having an impact on the listener.
It helps you to explain your point of view in an effective manner and gives you an opportunity to display your knowledge and influence others. Many great speakers who look confident and comfortable speaking to a huge crowd, all started out being scared. It is all about being consistent in your practice, eagerness to learn, and using effective tools to overcome public speaking fear.
Here are 7 ways to beat the anxiety and start your public speaking journey…
1. Do not talk right away!
Most people will go up on stage and start talking. That shows your fear and insecurity.
What you must do is, go up on stage, take a few minutes, place your things, and get comfortable with the area. This may make you feel awkward and these few seconds may feel like a few years up on stage. But this shows confidence and communicates to the audience that you are in charge of the situation.
2. It is normal to be nervous! Practice, practice, and practice…
It is normal to be sacred and have jitters before presenting yourself in front of a crowd. Do not beat yourself up for being anxious and do not compare yourself to others. Everyone, even the most confident and extroverted people find it difficult to be calm while presenting in front of a huge crowd. So, take a breath and know you are not the only one feeling this way.
3. Get to know your audience. Be a giver not a taker
It is important to know who your audience is and how can you contribute to them. This will help you to choose your words wisely, adjust the level of information they are wanting and are willing to receive, & the tone you need to adapt and what type of motivational message you need to deliver to keep them engaged and longing for more.
“You are not being judged, the value of what you are bringing to the audience is being judged.” — Seth Godin, an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker
People connect better with a giver than a taker. A speaker who is invested in giving them valuable information, teaching them something new, and inspiring them will automatically have the listener’s attention.
4. Record and rehearse. Be willing to accept other’s feedback
Record yourself while you rehearse your presentation. It is always a good idea to look at yourself and determine how you talk, how many pauses you take, your body movement and hand gestures, etc. The most successful public speakers always review their performance and find ways to improve it. It helps to build your confidence in knowing that you are well-prepared and well-rehearsed.
Alternatively, ask a friend to judge your performance and be open to constructive feedback. This will help you to get a different perspective on the material that you have prepared and will know if you need to make any changes before the big presentation.
5. Use your body language to your advantage
Most of our communication is non-verbal. We communicate more through our eyes, hand gestures, and body language. People can sense a lot through your body language. It is essential to know the dos and don’ts.
“Body language is an immensely powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read the body, not the words.” — Deborah Bull, an English dancer, writer, and broadcaster
Your body language is the most effective communicator as a speaker. Be sure to convey your messages without any distractions. Maintain proper body posture and eye contact with the audience. Make sure to keep your hands out of your pockets, do not fidget with your fingers & hands, let them hang by your side, and make impactful gestures that match what you are saying.
6. Be authentic and your imperfect self
Comparing and copying someone else is a common phenomenon with new speakers. Try to be as authentic as you can be. People will instantly connect with you when they see you for you. You can establish better credibility and connection with the listeners when your personality shines through.
We get caught in all the razzle and dazzle but forget that the listener is here to get information and value. If you want to create that seamless connection you must let go of your perfect image and become a storyteller rather than just read your notes and burden them with statistics.
7. Have a solid beginning and end
The start and end of any story or communication must be gripping and solid, that is all people will remember.
If you start off your presentation by saying, “Today I am going to talk about XYZ..” will they be interested? Most people will not. Instead, try using a startling fact, an anecdote or a question that will leave them thinking and asking for more.
Have a dynamic ending that is hard to forget. The closing statement must be strong and impactful.
These are some simple yet effective ways to improve your public speaking skills and gain confidence. Practice and consistency will make you perfect over time. Having some nervous jitters before going up on stage is good, it helps you to stay focused and be better every time.
You cannot eliminate fear, but you can learn how to overcome it!!
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