You don’t need to have leadership skills or be heading any sort of movement to realize that at one point in life or the other, you will have to speak to a group of people. With all eyes and attention focused on you, facing a crowd of people and speaking to them sounds like a dreadful thing to most people. Even the best public speakers have at one point or the other been nervous about the thought of public speaking. However, mastering how to speak in public is an ability that has the potential of taking you places and giving to control over people, like you may have seen on Ted public speaking.
Though leaders are usually the best public speakers and considered the ones who need this skill the most, it is not in any way limited to them. It is just as important for leaders to learn the following public speaking tips as it is for everyone else (or at least to those who want to make a difference in life and scale heights).
Leaders only speak publicly more frequently than most people do, but the fact is, we all have to do it at one point or the other and be prepared when the occasion presents itself. Because I understand the difficulties most people face with regards to public speaking, I have decided to bring out some of those difficulties and deal with them in a manner that helps you understand the secret of public speaking and makes you a better public speaker than you are.
Why Some people dread public speaking
It even has a name. Glossophobia, which more people prefer calling public speaking anxiety or speech anxiety. It is one of those things people will do anything to avoid. But why? I mean it’s not like people bite or become zombies when you stand before them to say something. It is hard to figure out why people fear public speaking. However, it is most probable that they are too conscious of their own shortcomings and inadequacies that they would not risk making a show of it in front of people. It is enough that one knows how poor they are at expressing themselves publicly, why make it a public show?
Technological advancements and the fact that smart phones, which were once a prestigious commodity have now become a necessity make things even more complicated for those who fear speaking in public. Come to think of it, most of our conversations are with individuals and most times people we are very familiar with. Then that too has been hindered by alternative methods of conversation like texting and chatting on social media. People can’t even express themselves with individuals, one on one anymore, talk less of speaking to a group of people publicly. It is therefore even more crucial that you become more conversant with the secret of public speaking tips.
There are so many people texting about things they could not say if they were physically before the other person. It is a convenient way of escape. Escape from the anxiety of speaking plainly without being considered weird. So how do you and I take the challenge of communicating openly and more so talking to a group of people when we are no longer comfortable talking over everything with those we call friends? Simply by learning how to speak in public and practicing to become better at it like Ted public speaking show encourages people to.
The biggest reason for all that anxiety of talking in public is the fear of failure. The fear of not doing it right, of embarrassment and ridicule. All these also take root from ignorance of the subject matter one is called to talk on, how to present it and uncertainty about how the audience will perceive it. Knowing and applying the various public speaking tips herein will give you an advantage over people who do not have an idea.
Preparing for a public talk will make you more comfortable with it
Like every other thing you intend doing well, you have to practice. Most people don’t think practicing is something good speakers do. They often assume that great public speakers are born that way. However even the best public speakers take out time to practice in order to get better at what they do. They may have been born with a special ability to talk more effectively in public but that means nothing without practice.
No skill or ability amounts to anything if time is not taken to practice. Even people who are not born with a gift can learn with effort to master whatever they desire. The only difference is that it may take a little more effort to get to the point of mastery than it would do for someone who has the gift inherent. Here are some guidelines to help you as you prepare to become a better, more effective public speaker.
- Go over what you have to say
You have the speech or presentation written out, or maybe you simply read and made preparations to deliver off hand. Going over what you have to present is actually one of the most important of all public speaking tips. It helps you do a better job even when you don’t know how to speak in public. Before you start worrying about how you are going to say it or how the audience will feel about your presentation, go over what you want to present. Again and again.
Take time to make sure it sticks to your subconscious, even the best public speakers have to do it too. That way the information will flow naturally when the time comes. You will not have to figure out what to say and when to say it right in the middle of your presentation. Aside from the fact that it builds self - confidence and boldness mastering your presentation prepares you for any unlikely mix up or unexpected questions that may arise.
Practice alone (simulate the event)
While you go over what you have to present, remember to keep it as real and as close to what will happen as possible. You may want to stay alone in a room or office talking to chairs. If you are to speak to an audience in a theatre for example, you can go to the venue and spend some time there talking to the chairs and being as serious as you will want to be if people were seated in those seats. This also prepares you psychologically to deal with the pressure that comes from haven to talk to a crowd.
- Master your breath and pace
You don’t need to talk fast to be a great public speaker. You just need to develop a pace you are comfortable with. Let it not be too slow (and boring) or too fast (and hard to grasp). Learn to talk as you would when you are with friends or a few people, just with a little more passion added to your voice. One way to know if you are talking at the right pace is watching your breath. Make sure you do not run out of breath while talking and that you don’t seem to be lacking words.
- Plan your talk
Don’t just decide on what you are going to say. Plan how you are going to say it. That means the information you are going to present should come in a chronological manner. If you have the information written out, differentiate each idea by putting it in its own paragraph and if possible placing a subtopic over it. If your presentation is written down, it helps you to better remember what next you have to say without necessarily looking closely or reading what is written. When you carefully and orderly write out what you have to say, especially if you had taken time to master the subject, talking about it to a group of people will flow more naturally.
Breaking the barrier between yourself and your audience
When all necessary preparations have been made and you have to finally stand before a group of people to talk, remember that they have to feel relaxed listening to you talk, especially if you are talking to them for the first time. Don’t allow your audience to look so tired or bored while you address them.
- Be funny: Add a few jokes to make them laugh. Laughter relaxes an audience and makes them more willing to listen to you attentively. It also breaks the air of formality and causes people to relax. When things are tense, people get tired of listening easily. That is to say their attention span is reduced. You can even begin by making a joke about how nervous you are. You will not only sound funny but will also make them less strict in judging you.
- Let them participate if possible: Bring your audience into the presentation in one way or the other. Ask questions, let them make comments or contributions. This keeps them focused on what you are saying and makes it easier for you to keep the anxiety away.
- Use words and phrases that even a child could grasp
Public speaking is not about impressing but communicating effectively. If you are too concerned about impressing the people you are talking to, you only add unnecessary pressure and anxiety on yourself and that makes things even more difficult to deal with. Don’t always try to impress, just be concerned about communicating effectively. Feel free to express whatever you have to say in the simplest vocabulary possible.
Read the cues from your audience and make appropriate adjustments
When you speak to an audience, watch their facial expressions and body language carefully to make sure they are actually following up. You cannot be more effective at public speaking if you do not master this principle. You may notice that a few people are not following or have lost interest in what you are saying simply by looking at them. Then you can throw in a joke or say something interesting to get back their attention. You can know if you are talking for too long just by looking at the facial expressions of the people.
Don’t talk past the specified time
Whenever you have to give a public talk, determine beforehand how long you are going to be talking. Don’t just get on with it expecting to finish whenever you can. This is one other thing you should take note of during your planning and practice to know how to speak in public. Practice and plan to say everything you have to within a specific period. Time yourself and make sure you can talk within specified time frame. People obviously have short attention span, which may increase when the topic or person talking is interesting. In any case, you don’t want to stand the chance of people losing focus before you have said what is really important. Those who watch or may have talked on Ted public speaking shows know just how important this point is.
This brings us to another point. People commonly talk using a pyramid style. That is starting with some trivial issue and building tension from there to close it all up with a big applause. However, if you suspect that your audience may not hold up with you till the end of whatever it is you have to say, invert the pyramid. Present your ideas from the most important to the least important. Start out smart and exciting so that by the time the people begin losing interest in what you have to say, you will be rounding up.
Finally remember not to belabor the point. Talking more does not help build your case, nor does it make you sound smart. It instead gives people the impression that you are not really prepared to talk about the subject. It is best to speak briefly but concisely.
The Power of Public speaking
Most great men who have left footprints in the sands of time and have influenced humanity in immeasurable terms were people who understood and wielded the secret of public speaking. Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther K, and even the negatively famous Hitler all knew the power of being able to speak publicly.
The skill of public speaking is critical to leaders but not limited to them. Knowing how to speak in public is something we all should get interested in. Public speaking has a way of rallying people for a common purpose and empowering them to take action. No one can truly lead or influence people if they do not develop the skill of public speaking.
Makes you a better communicator
Leaders and managers especially know how important public speaking tips are. They will do better and be more effective if they can communicate with a group of people. Holding seminars and workshops are an important part of management and these cannot be done without engaging public speaking. It is also more convenient and important to talk to a group of people than giving information personally in an organizational setting. Managers and company department leaders often have to make presentations to a group of people. Public relation officers for example have to speak to the public often as part of their jobs. If you can master the art of public you it will be easier to communicate effectively to individuals.
Increases Self confidence
Public speaking is one of the most effective ways to boost self - confidence. Actually most people who are timid will come out of it and often tend out to be the most extroverted when they become more comfortable and skilled at public speaking. Constantly speaking in public makes a person bold and this is one of the main aims of Ted public speaking. You automatically feel comfortable talking with individual when you practice and get better at public speaking. As you develop public speaking skills and get approval from those who listen to you, you realize that what once use to be a nightmare just becomes something you want to do very often.
Gives you the power to get a job or advance your career
When it comes to getting a job, and especially promotion in most corporate environments, public speaking is of major importance. Companies usually consider those who are good at public speaking as more competent to handle higher managerial positions. Better public speaking means you can handle responsibilities and influence those who will be working under you. There are leadership positions in society which a person cannot engage or advance in without the skill of public speaking. You may want to get into politics for example and have the ambition of walking up the political ladder. Without mastery of public speaking skills, one cannot be successful in the field of politics and most other fields.
You will be surprised at how far and fast you will make progress when you become more familiar with the secret of public speaking. Public speaking is one of those skills that make employers love and favor particular employees over others. Summarily, it is easier to get a job and advance in it when you can speak publicly than when you can’t.
Holds the ability to boost performance in different areas of life
Generally, public speakers perform better at their jobs and are more loved and appreciated than people who are not good public speakers. We have already stated that public speaking means better communication skills. Communication in itself is the foundation of society and relationships. This implies that if you can get better at public speaking, you will have even better relationships with family, friends, colleagues and other individuals because you can communicate better with them.
In the family for example, being a public speaker makes it easier to improve your relationship with family members. If a man or woman knows the secret of public speaking, it is very likely that they would be better communicators with their families and relatives. Being a good public speaker gives you an advantage when it comes to private speaking.
Gives you the power to influence people
No one can really influence people, especially on a group level without mastering the art of public speaking. It has always been the force and sword of great men. Public speaking allows one to transmit their ideas on a large scale and such ideas are usually accepted by a large number of people without much effort. If you can put people together and speak to them powerfully, you can make a difference and influence those people for whatever course it may be.
People like to follow the leading of someone who can communicate effectively. Even Adolf Hitler could accomplish the great wickedness he did in Germany and abroad because of his ability to speak publicly. You may not be well known, you may not even be liked in your community, but if you can speak publicly, people would not be able to resist you. That is the power of public speaking. It unites unlikely fellows to pursue a common goal.
Makes you a role model
Stars and icons who are not good at public speaking have very little influence over their fans, no matter how great the number is. On the other hand, a person can attract a large fan base to support what they do if they can develop the skill of public speaking and use it wisely. So many people who have featured on Ted public speaking shows have influenced their audience in ways they may not have even imagined possible.
Summarily, I would say the course of events have changed often times in the past, nations have gotten presidents and leaders, and several other such phenomenal things have happened simply because we have had a set of geniuses at public speaking amongst us. Generally, those who have been the most dynamic leaders have been the best public speakers.
The irony about the power of public speaking is that when a man or woman wields it, it seems they have a magic wand. They can make people do the most terrible things and not even think about. That is how powerful public speaking is and a reason why you too have to take it seriously and have some nerve to talk to a crowd whenever the occasion arises. Who knows, it may just be your Golden opportunity to be the star you have always wanted to be.