How to become effective at Public Speaking
Public speaking has become a major requirement practically in every career you can think of. Many people rate speaking in public as their greatest fear. Watching pastors, politicians and motivational speakers going about their business may make you think that only those born with the gift of public speaking can be so eloquent and confident. However, all great public speakers gifted or not, had to train to be so effective. The learning does not stop but it is a lifelong exercise at learning new methods and building on your delivery to be more effective. To start you off, here are the essential principles of public speaking that will help you be confident and effective whenever speaking to a group.
Stop Trying to be a Great Speaker While on Stage
When you get an opportunity to give a speech or presentation, stop trying to come of great as it will put too much pressure on you which will show. Focus on speaking and not on the audience in front of you and proceed as you would in a conversation. Talk directly to the audience and when you are relaxed and at a comfortable pace you will give a great speech.
Do Not Focus on the Mistakes You Make in a Speech
Most of the time you will not be reading word for word so you will be the only one who notices the mistakes more than anyone else. Unless the mistake was grave changing the content of your speech or offensive, do not stop to apologize. Carry on as you would in a natural conversation. The audience are not there to listen to a perfect person but a real human being with interesting content. Fretting over a slip can harm your chances of great delivery.
Have Regular Practice
There is no perfect public speaker. However, with practice you can be an effective public speaker. The idea is to have the message understood by the audience without tiring them but rather having them enjoy the whole delivery session. You will need to practice alone and with people in different circumstances in order to perfect the handling of different audiences and building your confidence.
Make it Personal and Descriptive
Audiences react better to communication that is personalized and drawn or related to personal experiences. Whenever you can put a face to your presentation, use it. Tell stories and even more effective give it a personal touch. There is much to draw from other people’s stories of triumph and tragedy as well as humorous little anecdotes which can liven up your speech.
Always Leave the Audience Anticipating for More
You want your audience to be hanging on to your every word but you can easily lose them with a long winding speech. With public speaking less is more and you do not have to use all the time allocated to you. Get your content into the major points. Talk about them clearly and briefly and even allow yourself to restate some statements. Pace yourself well so that when you are done the audience still anticipates more.
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Dr. Eric Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D. Cert. Developmental and Behavioral Specialist and Associates