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10 Tips For Public Speaking

Why is public speaking regarded as one of the things that people dread most? Children begin to communicate at a very early stage of their lives. Why is it then that people hate to get up on stage even to deliver a short speech? Why is public speaking regarded as one of the things that people dread most? The answer, my friend, is simple: our inhibitions. We condition our subconscious into believing that we are bound to fail when we step up to speak. Nervousness, sweat, dread in the pit of the stomach and weakness in the knees are common feelings. The question that arises is, “how do we un-condition ourselves?” How do we get ourselves to go on that stage and deliver without worrying?

When a child learns to walk, he stretches his arms out and starts taking one step at a time. Often he falls, but gets up again. Public speaking is similar. There will be times when we fall or fail to deliver. The secret is to get up one more time and keep working at it. Keeping that in mind, here are 10 tips for public speaking.

1. Keep it short and simple: For the message to reach all audiences uniformly, it is necessary that we use simple words that are easy to understand, remember and recall.
2. Know your material: If you have to talk about something, be sure you know the subject. Do your homework.
3. Know your audience: Who are the people you are going to deliver to? What are their interests, backgrounds, qualifications? What is the occasion? This will help you keep your material on track.
4. Vocal variation adds variety: It is meaningless telling people in a monotone that you are delighted to be with them. Vary the pitch, volume, cadence, rate and rhythm and you will have people engaged with every word.
5. Eye contact and facial expressions: Frowning, shrugging or smirking never helps. Feel what you say and let the expressions say it all. And remember to maintain eye-contact with a large audience to make everyone feel included.
6. Body language and movement: Have you ever come across speakers who have a brilliant presence on stage? Such people seemingly own the stage. Know the size of your stage and position yourself at different places, shift during transitions in your speech to bring about that effect of effortless gliding.
7. It’s only words: Or is it? Facts tell, stories sell. Telling someone repeatedly not to be greedy may or may not work. Quoting the example of the goose that laid the golden egg worked wonders in my case.
8. How did you make them feel? People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Are your talks centered on yourself or on them?
9. Personalize: Trainers all over the world swear by the fact that the audience responds better if they can relate to you. Start with a personal story they can relate to. Once they are hooked, you can have them eating out of your hand.
10.Practice, practice, practice: When we rest, we rust. Get out there and start practising. Speaking is like driving. Reading alone will not help until you start putting it into practice. So get behind the wheel and enjoy the ride. The road may be bumpy at times, and you may face minor hiccups, but in the end, the journey will be worth it.