The ability to articulate your thoughts and communicate them effectively is an essential skill in our current world, and research has shown that those who are good communicators excel and do better in their chosen careers. It goes without saying that if you can get your ideas across in a way that edifies not only you but also the person you are communicating with, you are more likely to get your proposal approved or your views heard and be taken seriously.
A great way to develop confidence and good communication skills is to take up Public Speaking. Public Speaking, whether it is through joining a speaker’s club such as Toastmasters International, enrolling for a speaking workshop or engaging the services of a Professional Speaker to coach you, will boost your confidence and equip you with good speaking skills. Whether you are dealing with individuals, panels, groups, or large audiences the basic rules of speaking or communicating are the same and I would like to share a few tips with you.
MY TOP TIPS:
Maintain Eye contact – This is an important part of communicating as it establishes a connection and shows that you are interested in the individual or group you are addressing. You are also more believable and less likely to be perceived as shifty or nervous. Work out a system where you can maintain eye contact for 1-2 seconds with different individuals, and please don’t focus on just 1 or 2 people. Get your eyes around the room.
Use Effective Body Language – Your body language is also key to the message that you are putting across. Always think – Open Body Language and Appropriate Gestures. Simply put – Let your gestures match your message and environment.
Vocal Impact – Voice projection and vocal variety (such as tone, pitch & pace) will make you more interesting and will keep your audience engaged. Do not rush and use pauses.
Be Yourself – Always be true to yourself and sincere in your delivery. Speak from the heart and be enthusiastic about your message or idea. Do not get caught out like some in the ‘Dragon’s Den’ who have great ideas but cannot get them across.
Structure Your Presentation or Idea – If you have a presentation to make or a speech to give, make sure you structure it in a way that will make it easy for your audience to follow. An introduction (to hook them), the body of the speech with your main message or presentation (ideally with 3 key points), and a strong conclusion so that your message or point will be remembered.
The art of Public Speaking is one that can be developed but requires many of us to step out of our comfort zones. The first step might be hard but with regular practice at a Speaking Club, School Assemblies or at work (giving presentations) for example, it will become easier and enjoyable. I love public speaking and it has changed my life around, but I had to take my destiny into my own hands. I hope that if nothing else happens as a result of this article that you will take on board the tips I have shared if ever you find yourself in the situation where you have to give a speech, as you never know your best friend might decide to get married and ask you to be his best man or woman.