Public Speaking 3956908 640

Public Speaking: Connect in Any Setting

On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you with public speaking? Whether you rank yourself high or low, most of us will have to give a presentation, speech, or proposal at some point in our lives. You may even someday have a moment where you are in an elevator with someone who can help execute your vision, and you only have fifteen seconds to share your most innovative idea with them! Whether you are speaking to a large group of people or sitting across the table from a colleague, your ability to speak to and in front of others plays a major part in the way your message is received. In all of these scenarios, your choice of words can make or break the way your audience perceives your ideas.

Being a successful public speaker is not as difficult as it sounds. But effective speech does not happen overnight; it takes practice.

To begin improving your public speaking skills today, incorporate these four basic tips the next time you need to speak to someone in a professional, informative, or persuasive setting:

Streamline: Keep your message focused and to the point. Strive to use as few words as possible, while still expressing the information required to support your claim. Speak as slowly as time allows. Your listener’s brain needs this time to absorb your message. If we say too much, or speak too quickly, we can make it harder for our audience to understand what information they should focus on.

Know Your Audience: Tailor your message to the needs and wants of the listener. Will you be presenting to a room of knowledgeable professionals or to someone new on the topic? If you are a professional trying to sell a service to a small family, you will need to make different points than if you are trying to make a suggestion to other professionals. You may need to educate your audience on a topic. Or if they are well-versed in the subject, then you can save the explanations. If you can entertain your audience, as well as convince them your message helps them specifically, you are more likely to get your audience to agree with you.

Know Your Goals: Speak with purpose. Once you have a clear idea of what you want your audience to do, you can focus on guiding your listener toward your desired outcome. You may want your audience to buy, to fund, or to change something or to vote one way or another. Identify the points that will most likely convince your audience to take the action you want them to.

Be True to You!: Authenticity goes a long way when speaking to someone. An audience can sense if a speaker does not believe their own words. In order to speak as authentically as possible, we need to feel comfortable and have a clear sense of our own ideas. Part of becoming an effective speaker is taking the time to become comfortable with the act. If you are someone who does not feel at ease speaking in public, there are ways you can transition into speaking as yourself, genuinely and confidently. Practice makes perfect! Give your speech to your friends or simply record yourself. If you are someone who is especially hesitant to speak in front of people, a few private lessons with a speech coach or a mentor with public speaking experience can go a long way!

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