Controlling your nerves is probably the most important aspect of public speaking. Take deep breaths between sentences as well as before you start speaking; breathing techniques are recommended by almost all psychiatrists and religious gurus as well as yoga instructors. They all use it to relax people – so put that to work!
2. Believe in yourself
If you were on Jimmy Kimmel’s show being interviewed and you know the audience will laugh at even the lamest jokes you make, you will feel more assured of yourself and be confident to say everything you want to say right? Or assume you are the President of your country and you are being aired on TV; you know millions of people are watching you and what you say matters. Why not just assume this in everyday life? Simply imagine that whenever you talk, people give you that much importance as in the above scenarios, and you will start to speak with way more confidence. Don’t do the opposite, which would be thinking you will get interrupted or that your speech is insignificant.
3. Predict what you are going to say
This is a hard one but can be learned. Imagine if you had a prepared speech that you had memorized, you would speak flawlessly there, right? Similarly, if you were to predict the next sentence in your mind (roughly) and then sound it, imagine how nice the flow of that will be compared to talking and thinking of each idea word by word. It is definitely hard to think and talk at the same time but if you have an idea of what will come out next, it will come out beautifully. Multitasking is key here!
All famous toastmasters clubs say this… SLOW DOWN! Many people think speaking slow is a sign of doubt but it is completely the opposite. All top-notch public speakers agree that speaking slow shows:
a. Confidence in what you are saying
b. Experience – in whatever topic you are talking about. Think of the old CEOs in your company… they speak slow right? Compare them to a hungry 20-year old looking to apply for a job; he/she speaks much faster. It’s just human nature. Slow speech and seniority in a certain area are co-related.
c. Clarity. When you speak slow, people can easily follow
5. Use pauses and connectors
Pausing is related to the point above. When you speak slowly, pause more between sentences. When you give pauses, people take that time to listen to what you are saying and it shows them that you have the confidence to take pauses without the fear of being interrupted. Also, use good connectors between sentences. Try researching on conjunctions and use them instead of using “and/but/so”. Keep a variety to keep your speech versatile.
For points 4 and 5, real life examples of exceptional public speakers using these tools are Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Martin Luther King. Notice a common pattern? THEY ALL SPEAK SLOW AND USE PAUSES!
Pretty simple one. Practice with native speakers or just someone around you who would like to speak in English with you. If you don’t have anyone, talk to yourself on a sound recorder and play your voice again – self-evaluate how you sound and repeat.
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It’s about them and not you. People don’t want to hear your personal stories. They are listening to you because they feel they will learn something that will help them in their lives. You want to research your audience and understand what topics are interesting to THEM. Speak on those areas and provide value to them so they in return value what you have to say.
8. Strong start and finish
This is more on delivering a speech and not on informal conversations. Think about an attention grabber or a quote when you start your speech. Start with that and start with a loud voice. Remember people make an impression of you in the first 5 seconds! Use them wisely to capture the audience’s interest. Finally, the ending impression should not only summarize your whole speech in brief points but should end with a powerful statement. This could be a call to action, a suggestion, a saying or words of encouragement and empowerment.
9. Don’t look at everyone
No matter who your target audience is, there is always someone who will be yawning or rolling their eyes over at everything you say. DON’T FOCUS ON THAT ONE PERSON! Only focus on the positive faces you see because that will encourage you to keep on going and may eventually convince the detractors in the crowd. Conversely, if you focus on the negative person(s), it will affect your tone and soon you will have all your audience feeling the negative vibes coming from you! Remember only you are observing that 1-5% negative crowd. The 95% crowd is still glued to everything you are saying. Don’t let them or yourself be affected by unhealthy vibes!
10. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
Whether you get your first speech wrong, there will always be the next speech. Whether you stutter in one sentence, there will be another sentence. You get the point! There will always be a second chance to correct yourself and you should look forward to that. The only thing you should think about in regards to your old mistake is how you can learn from that and speak better the next time.
HZad Education Inc. provides CELPIP speaking classes for people from all races and all ages. Whether you are an immigrant learning English, a nervous introvert, an employee in the office who wants to have better meetings, a student who wants to deliver better presentations, a salesperson trying to learn how to pitch better, a job applicant looking to learn interview skills, we have world-class teachers with the best rates and flexible schedules who would love to assist you with your learning goals.
Contact us now at [email protected] and we will show you how we can help you achieve your optimum speaking goals!