If you lack public speaking confidence or simply wish to finesse your existing skills, then remember it all boils down to three attributes essential to becoming an impactful speaker.
1) How to impact your audience.
2) Seem effortless while doing so.
3) Spend more time on saying things that people would listen to.
Mastering these skills demands time and consistency, and, most importantly, learning to conquer your fears while facing an audience and perfecting the mindset imperative for a public speaker.
Whilst giving a talk or presenting publicly, one of the courteous things to do is to value other people’s time. Here, succinct communication is the key, besides finding your authentic style of speaking and not imitating your favourite speakers. The more you do it, the better you will get.
It is vital to pay attention to the human factor to connect better with your audiences. Pay heed to whether your audience is bored or are you keeping them engaged, as they will bond with you and not your presentation.
Today, communication has simply become a string of empty words lacking meaning. Imagine you’re sitting in the audience for an event, chances are, you may or may not feel inspired by the speaker’s speech. But what if you got a chance to go backstage and have an in-person conversation with the same speaker? Wouldn’t that conversation mean so much more than just hearing someone speak at you rather than speak to you?
The reason is:
A) They would show direct interest.
B) You would both speak, as much as you’d listen.
C) You would say things and look for reactions.
D) You would make space for each other to express ideas.
E) The language itself would be more relaxed and less rehearsed.
The takeaway here is that our best speaking style should always be conversational, and this is one of the big secrets to becoming a successful public speaker. People confuse public speaking with delivering a speech. Never engage in a presentation that is pre-written as it will certainly fail to connect with your audience.
But what if you are addressing a room with a large audience, where connecting with each person is impossible? The secret here is to make your audience a part of the conversation by responding to reactions, looking them in the eye, smiling, making the presentation personal by using conversational language. That’s what sets the best speakers around the world apart!
Think about how to speak to people during interactions, even if they can’t give you the answer. You are giving them something to think about. If you can make it feel like a conversation, people would feel more involved.
For instance, you might say, “You can’t guess what happened to me last week!” This does not mean you expect your audience to answer the question, but by posing such a question, you’re seeking participation from your audience. This will make them curious and keep them engaged.
Another important facet of public speaking is to pause more and say less. This does not mean long intervals of silence but to learn the power of taking a pause. Instead of using fillers like “umm, hmm”, which distract the audience, simply pause, think and then speak the next sentence.
Most importantly, your story and interaction should have a gist. Think about who your audience is and what their expectations are. Bring home important points on the topic that your audience might not know, and think about how you can persuade them. Merely informing people can get mundane.