In the 21st century, everywhere we go there is cut-throat competition to stand out from a crowd. While idea is king, having the idea is just not enough. What will make it possible is “Communication”. You need to sell the idea by convincing people about how this idea works. And the best way to do this is by speaking- clearly and effectively. This is what we call public speaking.
In reality, many of us dread to speak out in public. We are afraid because much like a stage performance, here there are people who are paying attention to every word you will say. This stage fright comes filled with pounding heartbeats and sweaty palms and a lot of nervousness. If we can’t control this we start fumbling for words. Sounds all too familiar? Don’t worry we have all been there. And in time we have devised ways to get out of this vicious circle.
First things first- we are all public speakers and we don’t know it until we see an audience. How you ask? We interact with people daily. Starting from parents, friends, teachers and colleagues to even auto drivers and shopkeepers the list of people is endless. But do we fumble in these conversations? Not really. Now that you have found some confidence let us give you a few tips to conquer the social anxiety to become an effective public speaker.
# 1- Practice and Preparation
Confidence is the key attribute of a public speaker. This confidence comes with being conversant with the topic very well. Thus preparation is a very important aspect which means
- study your subject with good clarity,
- have a list of probable questions that might arise from the audience and
- be prepared with brief and to the point explanations
#2- Make it Engaging
Let’s face it- one-way communication is boring. Audience often loses interest in the session and go back to browsing their phones or chatting with fellow audience members. When this happens your confidence goes for a toss. Avoid this by
- engaging the audience in your speech with humour or
- by involving their inputs in the middle of your speech.
This will not only keep them interested but also give you a breather. This involvement will help you walk through the key points again therefore summarising the entire speech.
#3- Make it Interesting
We are in a tech ruled world. And interactive use of technology is bound to make your sessions interesting. Add a wow factor with
- interesting audio-visual clips,
- digital posters and
- various visual graphics content.
This help aide your speech towards something far more entertaining and gripping.
If you feel a bit nervous about the speaking sessions, before going to the stage, start rehearsing. The best way to rehearse is to stand in front of a mirror, maintain eye contact and start speaking. This is an efficient and proven trick. Alternatively, you can also rehearse in front of your friend or family and ask them to evaluate your performance. Good feedback always improves one’s performance.
#5- Rest well
Before any big presentation or interactive session, it is essential to rest your body and mind. A rested and calm mind will give you better perspective and help you function well. The freshness acts as an added bonus to help you perform better.
#6- Stay hydrated
Always keep a glass of water handy. A dry throat can make your voice sound a bit shaky. Also when you are really nervous your mouth often dries out in anticipation. This will trouble your thoughts and can distract your train of thoughts too. Taking a few sips in between speech also gives you a breather in between.
#7- Be a good listener
Time and again you will hear your teachers stress upon the importance of being a good listener to become a good speaker. This one conscious change will keep you alert and keep your ears open to catch some interesting words which you can incorporate in your speech.
#8 – Take feedback constructively
We know it’s hard to take critics whole heartedly. But to be a good speaker you have to take it positively. A critic is your best friend towards proper self development.
#9- Understand your audience
A good speaker will know his target audience and understand their pulse. Before the session, have a brief idea about who you are addressing. A corporate meet will differ from an extempore performance. Try to know some basics about your audience like age, their choice of words, preferences etc. This will help you to prepare yourself properly.
#10- Proper pronunciations
By proper pronunciations we mean
- avoid replicating some famous accent
- use simpler words
- be clear in your speech
Just be your natural self. Use your own accent but make sure your accent goes well with your audience’s ear. They should be able to understand it properly.
Master these basic tips and you will see your public speaking skills improve by leaps and bounds.