In the business world, speaking effectively is a must. Whether you are going for an interview, asking your boss for a raise (or a bigger budget), selling your product to bidders/ purchasers, speaking with clients, giving a presentation, or rallying the troops for a long- haul network upgrade, you will need to be at your best with public speaking. Problem is, most schools don’t really give you much in the way of training for public speaking. Most people don’t also realize that nerves also have a serious effect on how you speak in front of people. In this article, you will learn how to improve on your public speaking.
Most would think this a crazy thing to do before speaking. But you know why so many speakers keep water with them when they speak? Nerves dry up your mouth. And when your mouth dries up, you will have a harder time articulating your thoughts. To that end, make sure you drink plenty of water before and during your speech.
Now this doesn’t mean you drink it like you’ve not had water to your lips in days. If you do that, you’ll most certainly need to pause in the middle of your speech to visit the bathroom. Either that or you’ll really embarrass yourself.
When you relax before you go on stage, your nerves just ease away. But how does one relax? It is by not obsessing over what you are about to do. If you go over and over your speech before you go on, you will be in a constant state of reminding yourself that you are about to make yourself nervous. Instead, do something to get your mind off what you are about to do.
The night before giving your speech, don’t go out and paint the town the color of the hangover you’ll have the next morning. Instead, relax, go to the gym, catch a movie, read, or anything that is going to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Dress to Impress
Choose a speaking, interviewing, rallying outfit that makes you look good (both to yourself and others) — and when you feel like you look good, your confidence will soar. So don’t just settle on your usual khakis and oxford. Bring in the help of that significant other to help you find just the right look that makes you KNOW you look good. The confidence you gain by this will greatly improve your speaking.
Embrace the Short and Sweet Talking
Talking too long is a common problem with public speakers, says Sinett. “Since the average listening attention span is just 20 minutes, speakers need to embrace ‘less is more’ and learn how to make those 20 minutes memorable.”
Have you ever listened to someone speak who was hard to understand? What do you do after a while? You tune them out. You find them uninteresting and assume they’re not really knowledgeable about their subject. You can be the most brilliant person alive, but if your audience can’t understand you, you will lose them. Speakers who articulate are thought of much more highly than those who don’t.
If you can’t be heard, you won’t be heard. If you have a softer voice, you know you’re going to have trouble. And most people tend to speak more softly when they’re speaking in front of a crowd. Being nervous can cause this.
Here’s a way to help you out with this: When you rehearse your speech, do it in front of someone but have them stand in the back of the room. Make sure they let you know if you can’t be heard.
Your voice is like any other muscle in your body. You use it cold and it won’t work well. If you roll out of bed, get dressed, drink your coffee, and go give your speech just like that, you’re going to have issues. Instead, make sure your vocal muscles are ready to work. When you give speeches, you are speaking for much longer periods at a time than you normally do. If you don’t prepare yourself you can wind up with a sore throat (or sounding like you just smoked a carton). Two of the best ways to warm your voice up are by humming (single low- to midrange tones are best or simple melodies or scales) and also by doing tongue twisters. If you need a good tongue twister to really get yourself ready try “The big black bug bled blue-black blood.” Repeat that for a while and you’ll be ready to knock ’em over!
Don’t Fill the Void
How many times have you heard a speaker or interviewed someone for a job only to turn them off because they filled the space between thoughts with sounds or words? such as ”… You know what, I’m… ummmm… talking… ummmm… about….” Right? This sounds horribly unprofessional. Instead of filling your voids with grunts, groans, and signs of weakness, fill them with thought- filled, connected silence. Believe it or not, those pauses aren’t as long as you think. And when your audience (be it a single person or a crowd) sees that you are still connected to them, even between thoughts, you will keep their rapt attention. In other words, don’t drift off with “ummmm… errrr… uhhhh… eeeee…” sounds or words between your thoughts. Hold your listeners’ attention with silence as you continue to press forward.
If you can make good use of these few tips, it will greatly enhance your public speaking ability and you will give people the willingness to hear you out while communicating those mind-blowing ideas inherent in you.
Source – www.techrepublic.com