How to Be an Effective Public Speaker
While it is true that all of us have a capacity to speak before a group of people, not all has the ability to grab everyone’s attention and hold it until the very end of the speech. Communication is a very powerful tool that gets you wherever and whatever you want if you speak with credibility and style. Some people are born speakers. However, it does not necessarily mean that you can be like them if the mere sight of a crowd now makes you want to faint. Practice makes perfect. Here are some tips to help you with that butterflies in your stomach.
Focus on your purpose. Yes, it is understandable that you want to give as many facts as possible to your audience but be very wary not to overwhelm them with too much. Stick to the main purpose and deliver your message briefly and quickly. Feeding them with so many ideas will not make you look smarter. Do not expect your audience to remember everything you are saying so drive home to the point and stop beating around the bushes.
Keep in mind that you cannot please everybody. Trying to please everyone is very unrealistic. Shake this thought off your head because it will never happen. If this is your goal every time you speak up to the public, you will always be frustrated and disappointed. So what if some people started leaving the auditorium halfway through your speech? They might be attending to an emergency. Do not be distracted by a yawn from one of your audience, he probably stayed up too late last night for studying. However, too much of that may mean you do have to make your speech livelier. The next tip is a good way to start.
Injecting some humor will do wonders. Making people laugh is probably the one of the hardest things to do. It is a skill that has been mastered by some people. Learning the art of injecting a little humor in your speeches and talks goes a long way. However, keep in mind everything is all about timing, you wouldn’t want to spill out an untimely joke to the crowd just to look trying hard in the end would you?
Relax, breathe and be calm. Everyone, even the greatest speakers of all time, have speaking jitters and their own share of stage boo boos; so do not fret if you get tongue tied in the middle of your speech or forgot a few lines of your declamation. Good news is, you are still perfectly fine. Almost everyone has been there already. So before the night of your talk, have a good night’s sleep, relax and remember that nothing will go wrong. A few push ups against the wall before your speech also helps you to relax.
Know your subject by heart. This is very important once you step up on that podium. If you know your subject by heart, you will hardly go wrong. No matter how the panelists or your audience bombards you with questions, if you know the ins and outs of your subject then answering their questions is not a problem.
Watch out for that tone of voice. Having a commanding voice gives the impression you know what you are saying even if was an impromptu speech the last minute. A convincing and commanding voice gives you credibility so most likely, they will listen to what you have to say.
Keep the ambiance light and friendly. Keep a light atmosphere so your crowd does not feel awkward voicing out their opinions. A business like tone in all your speeches is a good way to thwart interaction with the crowd and worse, bore your audience. Make them feel at ease and you will get what you want from them.
Be Interactive. Never let your audience get bored. Always keep them entertained. One of the best ways to grab their attention is to facilitate interaction between the speaker and the audience. Asking questions in the crowd or vice versa usually does the trick.