Better Public Speaking

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Better Public Speaking – 5 Surefire Tips

If you search Google for the term “public speaking fear” you will get not less than 48 million search results. Out of that 48 million search results, these are arguably the best 5 surefire tips to better public speaking. 48 million search results may appear overwhelming, but frankly speaking, when you have to be the one standing in front of the room, suddenly it seems that there isn’t enough information in the world that could get you over your fears.

Well, the good news is most of those fears are self imposed. Remember, anything that does not add to your presence will most likely rob you of your presence. If you radiate the vibes of fear while presenting, it will most likely rob you of your presence. There are of course exceptions to this rule. If you are telling a horror story, you are expected to radiate the vibes of fear.

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Barring such a ‘horrorfying” scenario, here are some suggestions that may appear obvious, but when you implement them, will really make you peaceful and calm, trust yourself.

Presenting Skill #1

Know your subject matter well. As a rule of the thumb, for every one minute that you speak on a particular subject, you must have sufficient material to speak for an additional 10 minutes on the same matter. Explained slightly differently, you need to know the topic like the back of your hand. You must be prepared to handle any question that is thrown at you. You really need to be prepared to reach this level. You need to know your subject almost by heart; you need to be familiar with the products you will be discussing. Do your research well and you will have the confidence to take on the world. This confidence will come with knowledge. Trust yourself!

Presenting Skill #2

Arrive early and befriend as many of the attendees prior to your speech as possible. By doing so, you will have to opportunity to establish common ground with your audience during your speech. Establishing common ground is necessary for you to relate to the audience based on similar life experiences, belief systems and values. In this case, familiarity does not breed contempt, but rather, it promotes confidence. The more friends you have in the room, the more relaxed you will be.

Presenting Skill #3

Animate your speech using your voice, facial expression & hand gestures. Good communication is not necessarily mouth-centric. Professor Albert Mehrabian of UCLA coined a formula that goes like this. Total Liking (of a speaker) = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking. This goes to show how important your non verbal communication is.

To be an effective communicator, you have to use your entire body, vocal variation and words, of course. Gestures and body language add energy and enthusiasm to your speech.

Presenting Skill #4

Ask questions (and for crying out loud, wait for an answer!). Questions will cause your audience to think of an answer. They can’t help it – it is simply the way our brains operate. The important aspect of asking questions is to wait at least 5 seconds for an answer. If nobody answers your question, never mind. At least they will think about your question for a while. That’s exactly what you want them to do anyway. If they do answer your question, very good. You will now have an opportunity to establish common ground with your audience.

Apart from establishing common ground, asking questions also helps to raise the energy level in the room. Don’t worry about losing control of your audience by asking them questions. When you ask questions, you are actually in control of the room.

I personally prefer a set of 3 questions which is:-
“How many of you would like to…,” and then I ask for a show of hands.
“How many of you would like not like to…,” and then I ask for a show of hands. Notice that the second question is the opposite of the first. Finally, the third question will definitely elicit some laughs in the room. Here it goes:-
“How many of you will not raise your hands no matter what I ask?”

These closed-ended questions get your audience involved both mentally and physically.

Presenting Skill #5

Get the audience to finish your sentence. For example, if you said to your audience, “An apple a day keeps the doctor . . .” and did not finish the sentence, what do you think they would say? Most English educated audience would respond with “Away!” This is a jovial way to encourage audience participation. If they know the answer, they will blurt it out. If they don’t, you answer it. Choose something that should be so obvious they will absolutely get it.

Similar to Presenting Skill #4, this suggestion will help build energy in the room, establish common ground with the audience and make your presentations lively.

Today, I’ve presented you with 5 powerful ideas which will elevate your public speaking skills. Now that you have gained some useful pointers on how to electrify your next presentation, I encourage you not to stop here. Keep “sharpening your saw” by getting practical experience on public speaking. Grab the opportunity to speak in public as often as possible. The more stage time you accrue, the higher your self-esteem and confidence will become.

Do purchase my book called Fearless Public Speaking at http://www.betterpublicspeaking.com/fearless-public-speaking-2/ This 11,500+ word book will give you more pointers towards becoming a seasoned orator.

I look forward to that wonderful day in your life when you will become ‘complete’ and you will discover your true purpose in this world. May you discover it through your public speaking endeavors.

I wish you well.

Further Thoughts on “english speech

The topic “english speech” appears to be a favorite area of interest among our fans. Last week we received multiple requests via email to elaborate further on this topic. Rest assured that this point of focus has been sufficiently covered either directly or indirectly at the link above. If you did not find exactly what you were looking for at the link above, it’s most likely because we did not thoroughly understand exactly what you meant by this point of discussion. The other possibility is we may not be qualified to speak on this subject in the first place.

All the best to you in all aspects of your life 🙂

Bringing Speech Presentations To Life

Presentation skills are the tools that enable us to bring a page of written text to spoken life. They are the means by which we animate words, infuse interest and develop rapport with the audience. Master the following 6 presentation techniques and you’ll have your listeners clinging to every word you utter.

Speak To Their Ears

Generally, people are taught to write for the eyes. For example, when writing a book you are writing for the eyes. However, when writing a speech the writing style has to change. Remember, your listeners will receive your words through their ears. As such you should continually ask yourself, “how will this sound to my listeners?”

Specifically speaking, check for:

  • The usage of technical jargon. Avoid them. Technical jargon is best avoided when speaking to a general crowd consisting of people from different walks of life. When your audience does not understand a particular jargon, they will dwell on that word for a few seconds trying to understand its meaning. As such, you would have “lost” your audience for a few seconds. If you “lose” your audience once too often, your speech would be deemed ineffective. On the flip side, when speaking to people of a specific industry, the usage of technical jargon is important to help them understand your subject matter better. It also helps to impress them with your knowledge on the subject.
  • Long sentences. Long sentences is another killer. As you keep joining your sentences with conjunctions such as “and”, “or”, “so”, “however”, “but”, etc, the sentence loses its power. By the time your audience grasp the last part of your sentence, they would have forgotten the first part. Therefore, KISS (keep it short & simple). In the case of a book, you can afford to have some long sentences because your readers can always re-read your sentences a few times if they don’t understand it. However, in a speech, they only have one chance to understand your sentence. You are not going to repeat your sentences over & over again, are you?
  • Be specific. “Next Monday” is better than “soon”. “Flowing white beard” is better than “old man.” Specific words have the power to paint a vivid image in the minds of your audience. The clearer the image, the longer your audience will remember your speech. The longer your audience remember it, the more impactful it will be to them.

Use Conversational Language

A dead giveaway of a speaker who lacks confidence is someone who depends heavily on their prepared text. Strive to speak directly to your audience. Trying to memorize your speech word for word based on your prepared text will make your speech artificial & stilted. Conversational language on the contrary is natural and flowing. By instilling the feeling of a heart-to-heart chat, the conversational style will help to enhance audience rapport.

Conversational language is clearly different from written language. It allows for a sporadic ungrammatical and incorrect use of a word and sentence, as long as the meaning is not confusing and sounds correct. For example, it is perfectly okay to say the grammatically-correct “For whom is it?” if you want to. However, it would easy on the ears of the audience if you say “Who’s it for?”

Make Sense of Everything

A pertinent point to remember about a speech is that written language does not always make the same sense to a listener as spoken language. When we read written text we go at our preferred speed. We can pause, “reverse” or “fast forward” as we like. However, when we are listening, we are dependent on the speaker to interpret the meaning for us. Let’s look at the example below on how to express the same sentence in two different ways.

Written version: “As the rays hit his raised eyebrows, he rose from his seat with a rose in his hand.” In this case, though there are a few homonyms (rays, raised; rose, rose) in the sentence, the reader will be able to figure things out themselves based on the spelling of the words.

Spoken version: “Rays of sunlight hit his eyes. He raised his eyebrows in surprise to see a red rose on his table. He clutched the red flower and rose from his seat.” In this case, the listeners are totally dependent on the pronunciation & enunciation of the public speaker. Therefore, it’s best that the sentence be re-written for the ears to avoid confusion.

Signpost Where You Are Heading

The concept of signposting comes from the yesteryears when we used to rely on signposts to drive from one place to another. Signposting, like the signs on a road, is a technique of letting your listeners know in advance what is coming next in your speech. It is used to inform the audience in advance what you want them to understand from it.

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You can signpost your presentation before you start by saying “Today we are going to discuss three things. Firstly… Secondly… and finally…” You can also signpost your speech by giving it a non-confusing title. For example “Confront Your Fears” would make a better speech title as compared to “Take the Bull by Its Horns.” Another method of signposting is to give an example to reinforce a point. For example, saying “Let me share a story with you emphasize what I mean…” is a form of signposting as it reinforces a point using a story. At the end of your speech, summarizing your points also serves as a final signpost to help your audience remember and understand your speech better.

Your audience will appreciate signposting because it helps them follow your presentation easily without getting lost.

Use Humor To Create Rapport

Jokes can be used to amuse an audience while simultaneously slipping in the message you want to impart. The common ground is the shared laughter. If the joke works it gets you together; on the other hand, if the joke fails, it drives a wedge between you. As such, your humorous speech need to be befitting the occasion, tastefully presented and, of course, hilarious. Steer clear of jokes related to sex, politics, religion, gender & ethnicity.

Use Pauses Appropriately

Just like there are speed breakers on the road to slow a driver down, pauses serve as a speed breaker for public speakers. Some of the best moments in a presentation are, interestingly, those instances when you pause. Pausing slightly longer than you need to is a technique used to show you’re in total control of the audience.

Knowing when to pause is important. Pause prior to an important point to build suspense and catch the attention of the audience. For example, “Today’s price for this product is…”. Pauses are also useful before the punchline of a joke to build tension. Immediately after you have delivered the punchline, pause again to wait for the audience to settle after laughing.

Pause after an important point to let them to absorb, comprehend or reflect on your message.

Master these useful skills and you’ll take your presentation expertise to unimaginable heights!

I wish you well.