Public speaking skills are important for any professional, whether you’re pursuing a career full of speaking engagements, or you simply make the occasional team presentation. There is a wealth of advice for those seeking to improve their public speaking skills. But some speakers may be seeking not just improvement, but a complete transformation of their public speaking skills. The following are five public speaking techniques that will transform your public speaking.
The sky is the limit
Individuals have conquered much more awful situations than public speaking. For speakers whose nerves often get to them, it can be helpful to remember that public speaking is not the worst possible situation they could be in. Public speaking may be uncomfortable, but the discomfort is limited to a very specific time period, and the necessary techniques are incredibly direct. The nerves won’t go away inside and out. However, you can ace them. You simply need to follow your speech’s outline and remember that the sky is the limit. This will help you develop a readiness to go up against your inner demons to ooze confidence while speaking in public.
There is a wide range of exceptionally qualified speech mentors who share practical techniques which overlook a simple truth: your content is key. If you are not ready with your content, you won’t ever deliver your talking points with great confidence. So don’t stress over delivery unless and until you have extraordinary speech content. You can find tips everywhere online on the best way to create incredible content and they are absolutely essential. Being content-ready will shift your nervousness and allow you to deliver a successful speech.
When you have prepared an incredible speech, take a moment to visualize your audience’s response. Try not to think of yourself right now. Instead, imagine their gestures of understanding, with applause and even smiles at your lighter points. Feel relaxed. It will allow you to perceive that your content is applicable and unique, and that all you need to do is simply speak about it.
Avoid the urge to speak faster and louder in order to seem powerful or enthusiastic. The recommended speaking pace is 120 words in a minute. In an under pressure case, your heart rate can really increase, and your audience will pick up on your discomfort. An idealapproach to holding back is to relax and slowly take a few deep breaths. Build a habit to breathe slowly and deeply as you are walking up to the podium.
There’s no otherworldly cure for anxiousness, which should be discharged in some way or another. When you stand still, your tone of voice gets affected from the burn of “keeping it in,” and you may sound squeaky and cough. Surprisingly more terrible, you may begin swaying while speaking – a typical response to nerves which can make your listeners feeling seasick. However, if you manage to fix your feet to the floor, you may end up discharging your nervous energy through your arms. Your arms are critical because they are most visible to the audience. The correct arm gestures can make you look comfortable and confident, while still discharging any anxious energy. Take caution — when you begin attempting this you’ll feel awkward and totally mindful of your gestures. Ask somebody to record a video of your speech so you can observe how deliberate arm gestures transform your public speaking.
Whether you try one or all five of these techniques, taking the time to try various ways to transform your public speaking is important. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or routine when it comes to public speaking, and actively trying out ways to transform your process is a helpful exercise that will ultimately make you a better speaker.
Olga V. Mack is a blockchain strategist, public speaker, and adjunct professor at Berkeley Law. She is Vice President of Strategy at Quantstamp, the first decentralized security auditing blockchain platform. Most recently, she served as General Counsel at ClearSlide and she has held legal and operational roles at Visa, Zoosk, Pacific Art League, Wilson Sonsini, and Yahoo. Olga founded the Women Serve on Boards movement that advocates for women to serve on the corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies. You can email Olga at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @olgavmack.