Strong Public Speaking skills can make you more effective during everyday business communications, meetings and presentations which can translate into greater business success. The better you are at speaking clearly and persuasively, the greater your potential results. Business guru and multi-millionaire Sir Richard Branson had an intense fear of public speaking but he knew that he needed to be the face of the Virgin brand to expand his company so he hired a coach to help him overcome his fear.
How do you become an effective public speaker?
1. Look the part
If you want to create a powerful first impression as an effective public speaker, you need to be well-presented and come across as calm and composed. Good posture is vital as the correct body language makes you look more confident while helping regulate your breathing patterns. Signs of nervousness like excessive fidgeting and hesitation are distracting so ensure that your speech is well-prepared so that you feel as relaxed as you can.
2. Practice but don't learn 'off by heart'
Ensure that you are familiar with the key points and structure your presentation around these. If you over-rehearse your speech, it can end up sounding unnatural and robotic which in turn makes for a dull speech while making you seem less credible.
3. Engage your audience
Don't just talk at your audience; find ways to get them actively engaged with your subject matter. If it is appropriate, humour is an effective way to maintain attention as is storytelling. Try to have audience participation and interaction if possible to keep things interesting.
4. Look audience members in the eye
The thought of this may seem uncomfortable to you or even intimidating however it can be a powerful technique to demonstrate your confidence. As you speak, look various audience members in the eye, one by one. This will help engage each member and will seem more personal.
5. Avoid 'umm'-ing and 'ah'-ing
This can be distracting and can cause listeners to lose focus. A silence is much better than a meaningless 'filler' word. Try to eliminate these filler words from your daily vernacular first and once you get used to it, it will prove much easier to do whilst giving a presentation.
6. Gesticulation can be effective
Exposing your palms in a controlled, deliberate way emphasises key points and helps the audience to retain this information in the memory of listeners. Speakers who gesticulate deliberately are generally seen as more powerful and persuasive although don't go overboard or it can descend into farce! There are a few prominent figures in our society at the moment who have become parodies of themselves because of their exaggerated gesticulation!
7. Pace is so important
It is natural of course to be nervous whilst speaking in public and this is in fact is a positive thing as it releases adrenaline and maximises energy levels to enable you to perform better. It is common to rush through your speech just to 'get it over with' however this makes you appear less confident and compromises the ability of your audience to hear you and retain your key information. Speak at a rate that is slower than you would normally speak and articulate each word clearly and loudly.
8. Book a place in our adult class
Sinead Lunny Speech and Drama is putting together an adult class which will have a strong focus on Public Speaking with the opportunity to undertake New Era Academy exams in Public Speaking and a plethora of other areas!