9 tips to mastering the skill of public speaking
Ahh, to master the skill of public speaking overnight would be totally awesome and completely unrealistic. The truth is, public speaking mastery comes with practice. The more you get yourself in front of people (classroom, colleagues, local chamber members, etc.), the more engaging and eloquent you’ll be. Don’t let the fear of public speaking keep you from making a difference and spreading your ideas. Volunteer for opportunities and put yourself out there. With practice and some solid tips, you’ll soon see progress.
1. Show off your passion
If you're passionate and educated about the topic or message you're trying to share, you'll naturally be more comfortable and confident getting in front of people.
2. Jump in head first
The only way to face your fear is to commit and jump in head first. Volunteer to speak in larger group settings. Look for opportunities where you bring value to the group or topic at hand.
3. Make eye contact and be aware of your body language
Focus on your audience and connect with them through one-on-one eye contact. This not only re-engages them if they're nodding off, but is also a genuine gesture to let them know you're observing their reactions. Pacing, fidgeting, darting your eyes, and tapering off your sentences are all signs of nerves.
4. Talk slowly
Speed talking creates a greater chance for error in your message and makes it hard for your audience to follow along. Slow it down and think before you speak. There is nothing worse than saying something inappropriate or irrelevant and not being able to take it back. (Insert foot in mouth).
5. Engage your audience
Ask the audience questions, ask for feedback, and let them tell their stories. When your audience is involved, you'll see much more interest in the topic at hand.
6. Leave room for pauses
When you pause, it gives you the ability to collect your thoughts. If you happen to find yourself going down the wrong path, take a minute to think about your next point and move on. You can also use a pause if you want to reinforce a point you just made or create a sense of importance. The pause often can take the place of an exclamation point without raising your voice or jumping up and down.
7. Remember to breathe
Deep breaths are good for the soul. If you find your nerves getting the best of you, take a minute and count to ten.
If you're happy and you know it, show it.
9. Practice, practice, practice
You know the saying “practice makes perfect”? Practice is essential to mastering the skill of public speaking. Take every chance you get to jump in front of a crowd and share your passion.
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