Whether for a crowd of 5000 or a crowd of 50, fear and embarrassment about speaking in public can be overcome. Public speaking is a learned skill that everyone can master with practice. Learn how to speak with confidence and add punch to your presentation by using the power tools below.
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Eight Communication Power Tools
1. Eye contact
- Good eye contact helps your audience feel more relaxed and builds confidence in your speaking knowledge and ability. Maintain eye contact by knowing your speech well enough that you need only an occasional glance at your notes.
- Find a few friendly faces in the audience that react to your message and concentrate on delivering your speech to them. Keen eye contact for four to five seconds at a time, and then move to someone else.
2. Stance and Body Movements
- Good posture portrays. confidence. Square your feet shoulder-width apart and plant flat on the ground. Swaying or too much movement can be distracting to your listeners.
- Your arms should be relaxed by your sides. To emphasize strong points you’ll want to use movements that are deliberate and precise but look natural and spontaneous.
- Be aware of habits you might have like crossing your arms, leaning against a wall or the podium or tapping a pen. This might also be distracting to your audience or tell them that you are uninterested or unconfident.
- Practice your speech in front of a mirror to evaluate your presentation style and body movements and adjust accordingly. Try many different ways to find a comfortable balance of gestures to use in front of an audience.
3. Facial Expressions
- Pleasant facial expressions help to establish a warm and positive relationship with your audience. A smile lets them know that you are human and trustworthy, giving them more reason to accept your ideas.
- An expression in your face captures the mood of your speech and keeps the audience involved.
4. Appropriate Dress
Good choice of attire helps establish respect with your audience. Before you arrive to give your presentation, ask others for their opinion on your choice of clothing and appropriateness for the occasion.
5. Voice Projection
- Sometimes the tone of voice can have more impact than the message. Put feelings and energy into your voice by practicing vocal skills. You can add interest and variety to your speech by.
- Varying the pitch throughout sentences to convey emotion (high and low).
- Change the speed of your words to dramatize the audience.
- Use pauses and silences instead of uhs, umms and you know.
- Increase and decrease the volume of your voice to emphasize main points and draw in the listeners (soft and loud).
- Add vitality so your voice never sounds monotonous or emotionless.
- Practice vocal variety every day and soon it will become automatic. Tape your voice and evaluate where changes may need to occur.
6. Audience Involvement
- Involve your audience by asking questions, talking to them directly (not to your material) and sparking their interest. This helps establish a relaxed rapport with your audience.
- Use the content of your speech to involve the audience. Consider strong, catchy openings, visuals or demonstration or ask for a volunteer’s assistance.
- The objective is not to be a comedian but for you to establish a comfortable atmosphere and have fun with your audience. Humour can make the difference between an average and an outstanding presentation.
- A little humor in your speech lets the audience know you are human, and people actually learn more if they are having fun. Try to incorporate personal stories or current events to add fun to your speech.
8. Controlling the Butterflies
The number one fear of people is speaking in public. Most people fear this even more than death. Everyone has a certain amount of nervousness when talking to a group but the trick is not to get rid of the nervousness – learn to control it.
- Just before your speech do some deep breathing exercises to
- Use your nervousness to add excitement to your personality.
- Remember you’re the expert-you were asked to talk because you had something worthwhile to say to the audience.
Everyone wants you to succeed. Speaking in public is a skill you can learn with practice. Controlling your fear and practicing the above skills in public speaking can give you that winning the edge.