Make 2016 Your Best Year As A Public Speaker
Date: January 13, 2016
Whilst everyone is making New Year Resolutions to lose weight, eat healthier and whatever else, you’re in the corner silently dreaming of a happier life – one that’s consumed with everything you love.
2016 is your year to improve your public speaking to get your audience to like you and make the most of your moment on stage.
The most common mistake speakers make is not preparing a speech thoroughly and thinking they can just throw together some main ideas and it’ll all work out on the day.
But this very often isn’t the case and speakers are faced with confusion and embarrassment when they hit the stage.
We’ve created a list of 7 tips to work on this year to improve your speaking technique.
Most people rehearse until they get something wrong, but you should keep practicing until you get it right and there are no more mistakes.
When running through your script, speak slower than you usually would. This is because when people get nervous, they tend to speak quicker than usual and people miss out on important information.
Don’t over-exaggerate so it sounds unnatural, but do make the effort to make sure you’re heard clearly. It’s feel strange at first, but if you spent so long writing the speech, you want people to hear it, don’t you?
You won’t be speaking to an empty room on the day, so avoid putting off the confrontation with people and rehearse in front of a similar-sized audience.
Become More Confident
The difference between someone who does and doesn’t mess up on stage is confidence. Don’t you wish you could consider yourself a success? That way you wouldn’t be so nervous and timid to honest comments.
Spend time making conversations with a stranger every day. Neighbours, customers in shops, pedestrians, someone at the gym… it doesn’t matter who it is, as long as you’ve not spoken to them before.
Hold a conversation for more than two minutes; the subject matter doesn’t matter, but maintaining eye contact, clear diction and open body language does.
If you’re thinking ‘how will this help me be a better speaker?’, it’s because to be confident you have to put yourself in different situations and not just live comfortably every day.
Watch Other Speakers Perform
You can improve your techniques by watching a master in action. Feel their energy in the room, how many pauses they use or if they ask the audience questions.
Is their introduction short? Do they tell stories, stick to facts or perhaps tell jokes? Take a notepad and make notes of the sections you enjoyed most and explain why.
If you get the chance to speak with them afterwards, ask how they produced their content or what their goals were.
Learn To Relax
Nerves are the main reason why people mess up on stage. The body’s natural adrenaline that floods through our body as a protection mechanism can make you go from a success to a disaster in a minute flat.
Practice meditation, listen to calm music, read books and sleep well. See how much happier and calmer you can be once you eliminate stress from your life.
That way, when you’re facing the audience on the day, your palms won’t be as sweaty and you won’t stumble your speech as much.
If you want to be taken seriously, you have to put yourself out there as a professional individual. Invest in some smart clothes and get comfortable being seen in public in a different light.
Dressing well isn’t enough though. This also means acting appropriately in public and using your manners. Be polite to strangers by holding the door open and making small talk when suitable.
You don’t have to wear a suit around the house, but make the effort to improve your appearance and you will feel 100 percent better for it.
Do you want people to listen and take in what you’re saying to them? You can’t expect them to do that if you’re not articulating properly.
From a teenager, we’ve all reached our natural way of speaking and we develop bad habits through watching too much TV and only talking to close friends.
Do people often ask you to repeat yourself because they can’t understand or hear what you’re saying? Reset your speech and be conscious of how clear you speak.
Firstly, record yourself speaking your speech and listen back to it. If your audio is good quality, you should be able to hear every word.
Then, record yourself again, but this time by exaggerating how you say each word. Start each word strong and don’t lower your volume too much at the end of an utterance.
By practicing speaking each consonant and vowel clearly, you’ll develop good habits so that you don’t have to over-think how you speak and it’ll still be clear.
Say What You Really Mean
If you can say what you need to say in 20 minutes, then don’t stretch it out to an hour. Keep your content in bitesize chunks so people can digest your ideas easier than lengthy points.
Less is more when it comes to speaking. Read through your script and see if you often repeat yourself. Do you often say the same word over and over again?
This can become particularly annoying as bad habits distract the audience from your content. Proofread to see if you are repeating phrases or not being clear on your ideas.
Don’t over-complicate your speech by using sophisticated words and lengthy sentences to fill the empty time with words.
If you want to change, you have to do things differently. The tips above are designed for you to try on their own for a few weeks first, before you move onto the next new technique.
Don’t worry if you don’t see any difference straight away, as it’ll take time to adjust to the new ideas. Remain patient and don’t give up.
If there’s any one idea you take away from this blog, it’s to articulate your ideas clearly. Otherwise, there’s not even a point to you speaking if nobody can understand what you’re saying.
The best of luck for 2016!