In the world of business and education it is quite a common practice to give a speech in front of colleagues or contemporaries. Either while climbing the business ladder or as part of the learning curve in these situations, giving a speech and expressing a point of view is a necessary part of life. To some it comes quite naturally and they enjoy the limelight, but to others being the focus of everyone’s attention is a living hell.
Effective communication during a speech can depend on quite a few factors, of course knowing your subject matter helps a great deal with confidence but knowing how to control your voice in these situations while maintaining good posture and body language can certainly set you ahead of the rest.
When speaking in public it is easy to feel like everyone is judging every word, but they are probably not. You have to remember the audience has probably heard people speaking in public a lot – you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary. Although some say you should imagine everyone is naked to overcome your fear, or might help to look at the back of the room, not at the faces looking at you this isn’t always a good practice and what works for one person might not for another.
Always try and sound up beat about what you are saying – don’t mumble or ramble. Be clear and positive, without using terms like “and erm” or “you know what I mean” and don’t apologize for what you’re saying.
If you have done your research, or perhaps you are talking about your own work then you can rehearse your presentation several times beforehand so you know what you’re going to say, how and when.
Speech giving techniques to remember.
1) Stand Tall
It is best for voice projection to stand up while speaking feet hip distance apart, with your weight equally distributed.try to avoid rocking, swaying, tapping, or pacing. Movements such as this distract listeners from your message and it is a sign of nervousness.
Stand tall and mighty as if you are in command now, excellent posture conveys confidence before a single word is spoken.
2) Project Your Voice
Fill the room with your voice project your voice by speaking from the diaphragm and not the throat. This ensures that your voice is on the low end of its natural range and is grounded. A grounded voice allows you to project without straining or becoming hoarse.
It is a good idea to speak quite loudly, in fact speak louder than you think you should. It’s nearly impossible to be too loud. A booming commanding voice is difficult to ignore and in the situation of listening in large groups or meeting it is all too easy for your audience to switch off after a while.
Show your teeth and let them know you are not afraid. Smiling not only makes your voice more pleasing to listen to, it also conveys confidence. Even if you are anxious and terrified of public speaking, no one will realize if you have a smile on your face. You will appear friendly, approachable, and composed.
4) And… Breath
Use… long… pauses. A lot of people turn sentences into run-ons and fill time with junk words, such as “um,” “ah,” “you know,” “kind of,” “like,” “so,” and “well.” These habits make speakers sound unprofessional. Its as if their brain cannot keep up with their mouth. If you suffer from this, you should start correcting yourself in all conversations and ask the help of friends, family members to point out when you slip up.
If you do lose your train of thought, don’t apologize, this will only draw attention to your mistake. A brief pause to find your place in your notes or taking a sip of water to regain composure can often just add more conviction to what your saying if you do it confidently. The Actor Christopher Walken is well known for his charismatic pauses while acting, he has turned it into an art form.
5) Focus your attention
Make lasting eye contact with an audience member for five to seven seconds-perhaps longer than you think you should. Then move on and hold your gaze on someone else in a different part of the room. Lingering eye contact builds rapport by giving audience members the feeling that they are engaged in an intimate one-on-one conversation.
Avoid scanning the audience without stopping to look directly at anyone and don’t make selective eye contact with the two or three people in the room who are paying close attention. Ignore the suggestion of looking at the back of the room rather than your audience to reduce nervousness; it might make it the easiest speech you ever delivered, but it also will make it the least engaging. Audiences want you to speak to them, not at them.
Remember these five tips for confidence and delivery. Master these and you’ll have the confidence to speak up and stand out in any situation.