Public speaking must not be perceived an activity meant for a selected few. Yes! Everyone can be a public speaker so long as you have a crowd to listen to you, even if it’s just one person.
Public speaking skills is basically being a good communicator, this means you will require the skills in these everyday scenarios:
- Office meetings
- Sales Presentations
- Sermon preaching
- Wedding speech
- Family meetings
- Wooing lady or
- Having a chat with friends
- Friendly arguments
- Debates etc…
To be the best communicator in any of the above scenarios the following must be observed;
First, make sure that you plan your communication appropriately. Use tools like the Rhetorical Triangle, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, and the 7Cs of Communication to think about how you’ll structure what you’re going to say.
When you do this, think about how important a book’s first paragraph is; if it doesn’t grab you, you’re likely going to put it down. The same principle goes for your speech: from the beginning, you need to intrigue your audience.
There’s a good reason that we say, “Practice makes perfect!” You simply cannot be a confident, compelling speaker without practice. To get practice, seek opportunities to speak in front of others. Practice it plenty of times alone, using the resources you’ll rely on at the event, and, as you practice, tweak your words until they flow smoothly and easily.
Then, if appropriate, do a dummy run in front of a small audience: this will help you calm your jitters and make you feel more comfortable with the material.
Engage with Your Audience
When you speak, try to engage your audience. This makes you feel less isolated as a speaker and keeps everyone involved with your message. If appropriate, ask leading questions targeted to individuals or groups, and encourage people to participate and ask questions.
Also, pay attention to how you’re speaking. If you’re nervous, you might talk quickly.
Avoid reading word-for-word from your notes. Instead, make a list of important points on cue cards, or, as you get better at public speaking, try to memorize what you’re going to say – you can still refer to your cue cards when you need them.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Pay attention to your body language: stand up straight, take deep breaths, look people in the eye, and smile. Don’t lean on one leg or use gestures that feel unnatural.
Many people prefer to speak behind a podium when giving presentations. While podiums can be useful for holding notes, they put a barrier between you and the audience. They can also become a “crutch,” giving you a hiding place from the dozens or hundreds of eyes that are on you. Instead of standing behind a podium, walk around and use gestures to engage the audience. This movement and energy will also come through in your voice, making it more active and passionate.
Positive thinking can make a huge difference to the success of your communication, because it helps you feel more confident. Fear makes it all too easy to slip into a cycle of negative self-talk, especially right before you speak, while self-sabotaging thoughts such as “I’ll never be good at this!” or “I’m going to fall flat on my face!” lower your confidence and increase the chances that you won’t achieve what you’re truly capable of.
Cope with Nerves
Many people cite speaking to an audience as their biggest fear, and a fear of failure is often at the root of this. Public speaking can lead your “fight or flight” response to kick in : adrenaline courses through your bloodstream, your heart rate increases, you sweat, and your breath becomes fast and shallow
Try to stop thinking about yourself, your nervousness, and your fear. Instead, focus on your audience: what you’re saying is “about them.” Remember that you’re trying to help or educate them in some way, and your message is more important than your fear. Concentrate on the audience’s wants and needs, instead of your own.
Watch Recordings of Your Speeches
Whenever possible, record your presentations and speeches. You can improve your speaking skills dramatically by watching yourself later, and then working on improving in areas that didn’t go well. Pay attention to your gestures. Do they appear natural or forced? Make sure that people can see them, especially if you’re standing behind a podium.
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