The fear and anxiety of public speaking is a common experience. Developing new public speaking skills can help in facing the fear confidently.
Developing your public speaking skills can increase your confidence and help you overcome speech-oriented anxiety.
People who survive with social anxiety disorder(SAD) tend to become more confident public speakers by working on public speaking skill development.
How to improve your public speaking skills
Voice is the most important tool to use as a public speaker. Learn to breath fully and deeply from your diaphragm to improve your voice.
Belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing is essential for bringing out your most powerful voice. Professional singers use this technique to make their voice sound great, it enables them to hold their voice for long where most people would be out of breath.
Following diaphragmatic breathing also reduces feelings of breathlessness caused by speech anxiety. This type of breathing will improve the following aspects of voice:
- Pitch (Low or High)
Right before the speech, place one hand on the abdomen, breathe into your hand. Count to 10 as you inhale and then count to 10 again as you exhale. Do not forget to breath from your diaphragm as you deliver your speech.
Body language is a non verbal way of communication. It is when you communicate without using words. It is the combination of facial expressions, movements that convey things running in your mind and gestures. Strong and confident body language acts as the fuel to your presentation.
Stand up straight:
If you are physically capable of standing up straight, then make sure you stand tall and straight while you speak in public.
Practice the power-position:
If you are stressed before your presentation, stand in a powerful position for a minute. Doing this for a while will raise your testosterone and it will increase your self-confidence while reducing stress and anxiety. You can try the most popular power poses like, Sakthiman pose or any “Superhero” pose: Hands on your hips, your chest out and keep your chin up.
Make sure your facial expressions match the message you are delivering. If you are giving an upbeat speech, try to have a joyful and relaxed look on your face.
Tall and firm
Do not shift your weight from side to side which will push your audience into a sleep-state. Stand tall and firm.
Watch more clips of speakers you admire. Aim and try to imitate parts of their style that you feel could work for you. Act confident until you feel confident(Fake it until you make it).
Delivery is the soul when it comes to public speaking. Though you have a good voice, good body language, your message will not reach the audience if you do not deliver it properly.
Follow these tips to improve the way you deliver the message:
Do not give your audience a hard time by talking too fast. Do not make them sleep by talking too slow. Take a safe and slow pace. Conversational pace is the best safest pace to follow when it comes to public speaking.
Do not use fillers
“ummm, aaaaaahhh, you know, like”, words like these brings down your credibility and take you in a different path far from what you want to convey. Replace these fillers with a pause.
Pausing in between your talk is a very good thing. Pause two or three seconds in between major contents in your talk. A well-placed pause gives the audience time to grasp what you are saying. It makes you sound more confident and in control.
Do not rush through your words and do not use hard words to search for meaning from google or a dictionary. A mumbling speaker is hard to understand. Always use simple words such that each one in the audience understands your message.
Relationship with Audience
A good public speaker are in tune with their audience. You need to engage your audience. It is not just standing in front of a group and talk and leave.
Keep a conversational tone and acknowledge your audience
Acknowledge your audience as soon as you take the stage, this helps to make you seem more like a “real” person.
Find a friendly face in the audience. There will be a handful of friendly faced people in the audience. Identify those people and pretend that you are speaking only to them.
Grab their attention
Take maximum 60 seconds from the moment you start your speech to capture your audience’s attention. You can do this by asking them a provoking question or telling them a short story or a shocking statistic-anything that keeps them curious to listen.
Make eye contact
No matter how huge the crowd is, try to make eye contact with as many people as possible. It will make them feel like you are speaking to them directly.
The fuel of public speaking in the initial stages to become a fearless and confident speaker is by practicing. As the quote says, “Practice makes a man perfect”.If you are going to be delivering a prepared speech or a presentation, create your content at the earliest and gain more time to practice.
Practice it a lot of times alone and as you practice it will make you speech flow smoothly and easily. Then, do a dummy run in front of a small audience, may be your team mates or your family. This will make you feel more comfortable with the content and crowd.
Now go and create the content and start practicing. Happy public speaking !
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