We are in a world now where communication skills are the most important competency that will make or break your career. And public speaking is part of this competency. For some public speaking can be a nightmare. Preeyan gives invaluable tips to improve the art of speaking in public, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Public speaking is an art, anyone can learn, practice, and be good at it. In this write-up, I would like to share ways of how we could become good public speakers. Public speaking is an art that is very important to become a successful professional in any stream of our choice. This is plainly on the basis of my experiences and what has worked for me well.
We are in a world now where communication skills are the most important competency that will make or break your career. And public speaking is part of this competency. For some public speaking can be a nightmare and I would like to through some light on this in a way that will help us get over this nightmarish situation to a calmer and composed one.
Here are some tips that will help.
Getting rid of the Jitters
Catch the bull by the horn is the only way you can get rid of the jitters is by actually facing it. The first time will be difficult but as time goes you will realise that you get more comfortable. I get the jitters every time even now so I don’t think anyone can be without it. But most of the good speakers generally don’t seem to have any, its because they get into a comfortable position as soon as they take the stage. Getting into a comfortable position is important. When you notice the great speakers we know, they will stand with their feet apart in a comfortably balanced position. They do not meddle around with their hands. The hands are held together or just used for gestures that complement the body language. And when they speak they usually start with some kind of an icebreaker. This makes you get the attention of the audience. If you are the very nervous types just clasp your hands tight and then start soon you will feel the comfort setting in. ‘Try to avoid putting your hands in your pocket’
Preparation for your Speech
Most times we are expected to be spontaneous on the topic of choice and sometimes we do not have much time to prepare. But a quick rundown in your head on what you want to talk about and keep some key points in mind. And if you can have the order right in your mind, your delivery becomes that much better. If you have ample time to prepare, always prepare your script, not verbatim, a directional script will help because it allows you flexibility for using words and language of your own. Write down on a small piece of paper like a ‘cheat sheet’ the main points you would want to cover. This cheat sheet will help you condition the flow of your speech and not start talking like those politicians who speak about some initiative they have taken for the industry in a school gathering.
It is important that you do something good and looks good doing it. I remember my high school correspondent and headmistress, who once told me to deliver a speech in their room looking at myself in the mirror. That day I realised that practicing speaking in front of the mirror, though looks like an act of lunacy is actually the best way to improve your body language whilst speaking in public. The delivery has to be engaging and clear. Keep time while delivering your speech anything longer than the interest of the audience will become too boring. Three aspects make a perfect delivery clarity, subject and time. Stick to it and you will get a good delivery going.
Anecdotes and Quotes
Try to use only as much required otherwise you will sound like pompous. This brings in some finesse in your speech. Usage of the right anecdotes actually improves the attention your audience is giving you. Use it to hold the attention of the audience.
Maintain Eye Contact
How do you maintain eye contact with the whole audience? Someone once told me that you just generally look at the direction of the audience and focus on some random point or a pleasant face in the audience and deliver, the audience will feel that your eye contact is with them and it helps hold the attention of the audience.
Think of a way to conclude in an effective manner. The conclusion of the talk has to be as strong if not stronger than your start. This simple rule will help you.
Maybe what I have said here will help and will help you practice. And please use every opportunity you get for public speaking. Don’t hesitate to participate. The more you get exposure the better you get. Practice is the only way you can improve.
Photos from the Internet
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Preeyan Abraham is a HR professional. He loves travelling and all the little intricacies that it brings. A foodie, he enjoys cooking for relaxation. A movie buff and music lover, he appreciates simple things in life. He comes from a mix of religious backgrounds that has helped him appreciate all the good things of what all religions have to see. He looks at life as a platform created to perform and give the best.