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.
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.
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