ood communication skills are one of the most essential traits of a civilized society. Everyone wants to be a good orator and a charming speaker. While addressing a group of audience on a topic or an issue, a feeling of nervousness and anxiety is normal, especially if you are an introvert. Someone has rightly said that a group of audience is like a faceless monster that constantly stares upon you. While there is nothing such as a perfect speaker, as public speaking is a continuous learning process, here are some points that will assist you in grooming your public speaking skills effectively.
Prepare and do your homework
Even the best of speakers spend time to prepare their speeches. The beloved American president Abraham Lincoln had rightly pointed out that if one was given 8 hours to chop down a tree, one should invest 6 hours in sharpening the tool. Spend some time and do experiments with your topic. Add some story, proverb, some thoroughly researched data in your content but be cautious while using humor, especially on serious themes, for the former diplomat and foreign minister of India, Shashi Tharoor once stated that the humor resides not in the tongue of the orator but in the ears of the audience. In order to overcome the anxiety of the actual speaking, it is advised that one should do a mock rehearsal, standing in front of the mirror, maintaining eye contact with yourself. One should also study the kind of target audience they are going to connect with. Whether they are highly intellectual or what is their age group or is the function formal, semi-formal or informal, etc. Prepare on the subject in a manner that your listeners find it entertaining and easy to understand.
Listen to the speaker that you admire on youtube or television and try to grasp positive points from them, but don’t try to become them. The best trait of our society is its diversity, so it is very important to maintain your individuality. Ralph Emerson had said that In our society, which perpetually tries to mold you into someone else, maintaining your originality is an achievement. You should even wear attire that makes you feel comfortable and the one that you feel suits you. It will make you feel more sanguine and most importantly do remember to wear an authentic and genuine smile while speaking. Remember, most elegent people are the one with smiles.
Stance and Breathing
Your body posture and the proper way of breathing have many positive aspects associated with it. When you stand straight as a spear, you look slimmer and in better shape which will subtly increase your level of confidence at an exponential rate, while you interact with your audience. I’m sure you remember your parents always telling you to sit straight when you were a child, well you can’t agree with them more. In Europe, it is said that one should stand as if they were balancing a book on their head. Same goes for breathing, when you breathe deep you will feel relaxed and in control of the situation while you speak. On the other hand, shallow and insubstantial breathing is associated with consternation and nervousness. Both of these habits will take a bit of practice to inculcate it in your habit but once you do it, you will be able to engage with your audience is a much more natural and zealful fashion. One should even reach the venue in advance to get adjusted in the environment of the place.
Rule of 30 and 70
Being a motivational speaker myself, I feel that 30% is about what you are speaking and 70% is about how you are speaking. When you speak, your expression should speak along as well. Your tone, the way you pitch the keyword, the swing in your voice at proper points and even the audio, visual assistance, etc. The gesture and the hand movements not only project you in a better way, but it also infuses confidence in you. The starting and ending should be given a special emphasis. While the start of your speech helps you in building up a connection with the crowd, the end assists in leaving a long lasting impression on the mind of the people. You should never keep your body stiff and muscle tense and always try to avoid speaking in a robotic fashion. You should always try to interact as if you are speaking with a friend. To improve your performance, you can record your mock speech or take help of your friends and family members to eliminate your shortcomings.
Feedback & Assessment
Just remember that nobody in this world is perfect and there is always some room for improvements. It is absolutely fine to do mistakes as long as you learn from them. Once you are done with your turn, observe the reaction of the crowd, talk to the organizers or if possible to some of the audience members whenever you get a chance and prepare a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis of yourself. So that you can use your strength to work on your weakness and evolve yourself to become an even better speaker next time. Even during your speech, try to make the session slightly interactive. Doing so will give you some time to compose yourself and to read the level of interest that the crowd has in your speaking and make the required adjustment accordingly.