Public Speaking: The Essential Student Guide
‘Errrr. Ummm. Pheww’ Recall these three phrases you used whilst giving your last presentation? Somehow you wished that you used less of them. But then you look around amongst your classmates and realize that most of your classmates are having a rather similar delivery style. Reading out from slides, messing up the content and most probably rushing through the slides to finally get done over with. A few minutes after you are done with your presentation, retrospection, ‘Oh Man! I wish I could have delivered my content in a better, more engaging format! I wish I could be better at public speaking!’ But thereafter, you see your classmate demonstrate the same misery while delivering his content, and you are like well, Public speaking might just be this. But then you come home, open YouTube and see this array of fantastic public speakers who deliver great content, which makes you want to listen to them. You look at yourself and ask yourself the same question, will I be able to be as good a public speaker?
Of all the phobias that exist, the fear of Public speaking is the highest! 3 out of 4 people suffer from speech anxiety. It also accounts for 19% of the phobias in the world. Interestingly enough the fear of being on a stage speaking to people accounts more than fear of death. In simple words, you would rather prefer to die than go up on stage and give a speech! They have a fancy word for that; Glossophobia. Now some people are gifted speakers while some work themselves to the top! If you belong to the latter half, who know that they can work themselves to the top, be better at public speaking, read along!
We have put together 6 ways where you can shed your inhibitions and get better at your public speaking approach:
> The 7 X rule:
If you are expecting to go up on stage and deliver that fantastic speech or a presentation in the first shot, then you are being naïve or overconfident! If you are nervous going up on the stage the first time and giving your presentation, tell yourself that you are 6 times away from losing all your nervousness. It takes almost 7 times for you to go upstage, feel nervous and make a fool of yourself. But from the 8th time, it becomes easier. Way easier! The idea is to stick around for 7 times and just battle through that shame and nervousness. Subconsciously, you are getting better as well delivering that speech as you move up the times of delivering a speech.
> Invest in those strategic pauses:
Want to come across as a stellar public speaker? Invest in those strategic pauses which can develop enough curiosity in your audience to hear the latter half of the part. It is also called rhythmic speaking where you shuffle your statements into long and short ones. Always follow up with a long sentence with a short sentence. It makes it not sound like a monologue. Pause after that short sentence. Allow the audience to absorb the knowledge that they have just heard and then continue with your statement.
> Modulate your voice:
You might have heard this, to ensure that your voice doesn’t have the same frequency throughout the speech. Start with a low pitch, mix it up with a high pitch and then return to the normal pitch is the thumb of the rule. You don’t have to be singing on stage though, but ensure that you have practiced at least 5 times before on the places you wish to raise your pitch and reduce it. This is the most simple and the most effective hack to ensure that your audience doesn’t doze off while you are up to their stage.
> Tell a Story, every time!
Even if you think you have the most boring content, try including a story. The best type of story is a personal anecdote. It works every time! According to world-leading public speaking trainer, Conor Neil, the best way to start a speech is by starting with ‘Once upon a time’. It is our natural human tendency to pay more attention when someone is telling a story. We have grown up listening to stories and this has conditioned our brains to inherently pay attention when someone tells you a story.
> Deploy ‘What do you think?’ :
Want to speak less, ensure people are paying attention and also come across as a confident speaker? Deploy the ‘What do you think?’ technique. Make a statement, or deliver a chunk of content, pause and ask someone from the audience about ‘What do you think about it?’ It might catch a few audiences a bit off guard, but ensure that there is attention throughout your session. It will also make you speak less, as the audience member you have asked about ‘what do you think about?’ also has the opportunity to agree or disagree with you. This makes your speech memorable, interactive and has a long-lasting impression.
You can start investing in sharpening your public speaking skills by following these 5 simple rules. And always remember, to become a successful public speaker, you have to embarrass yourself to the top! At least 7 times for sure.
At ISME School of Management and Entrepreneurship, we provide you with the best mentors and trainers who can polish your skillsets and be a partner in your evolution towards becoming a better public speaker.
Check out www.isme.co.in to know more about our programs!