WE speak every day, and the need to be a better speaker is indisputable. What we probably remember are days at school when the teacher would call us up front to give a presentation to other classmates and fear paralyzed or froze our bodies.
Each of us has stories to share, but the ability to share those stories needs to be improved. Do you have presence when you go on stage? Do you feel or give off the right image on stage? Are you grabbing your audience’s attention? This article will give you eight tips to help you perfect your speaking skills.
Your body speaks before you say a word. People usually judge us on what they see. If you want to be considered a speaker, you need to improve your body posture.
Keep your head up and stop walking with hunched shoulders. Your posture should inspire confidence because it communicates your inner image. Your posture transmits internal vibrations. Your body language creates the non-verbal movements that complement your voice.
Your face also says something before you say a word. Master your face by loving the mirror. You need to know what to say with your face. Your facial expression is seen through your eyes, lips, forehead and chin. It is generally said that your eyes are the way to the soul.
Learn to express an emotion by practicing in your mirror. Do your eyes show compassion and authenticity? Does your smile reveal the warmth of your heart?
Your breathing when you’re in front of people determines your pace, strike, pose, tone, and power. Master breathing techniques.
Relax and get enough air in your lungs and you can use the words effectively.
Master your voice
Your voice exudes or reveals inner color, creativity or condor. Do not say anything until you are sure of your inner clarity. The best critic of your voice is you. Check in and know the areas that need improvement. Seek out a speech coach or therapist to help you overcome your weakness and hone your speaking skills.
How you push, shape, enunciate and roll your words matters. Take the time to learn new words by reading a lot and your diction will improve.
There is nothing more humiliating in front of a crowd than having a limited choice of words to use and ending up repeating certain words. Let these words come out with clarity, art and exuberance.
Resonance speaks of tonality; how you formulate your words. It’s easy to tell if a speaker is commanding you or trying to reach you. It is easy to tell if the speaker has aggression or empathy.
The best speakers are the best listeners. Listen to things that move or touch people’s hearts. If you can touch the heart, you can move people to action. When talking to a crowd, know what they need and what problems they want to solve.
Communication is a skill we should learn every day. To be in love, you have to communicate. To get this job, you have to communicate. To end this article, I’ll use an acronym from Teri Hart. Hart is a master communicator and television personality. She created an acronym from the word BRIEF:
Belief — Believe what you say and it becomes easy for people to buy into your story. It will also underline your passion for the subject. Think about this; you board a plane and you hear the pilot say over the speakers, “This is the first time I’ve flown a plane after flight school. I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing!”
What do you think people will do? This is what most speakers do; they apologize and lose their audience. Own the stage!
Repeat — They say that champions are not made in the ring, they are simply recognized there. Repeating is repeating the same things until you internalize or master them. The masters are done in secret and then won on stage. Hart says your speech should be done within two days of your speaking engagement.
Interesting — When you are interesting, you engage your audience. No one wants to listen to an uninteresting speaker.
Edit — Delete all irrelevant content and align with time requirements. Be concise and leave important content in your speech.
Fun — having fun while talking. Smile, enjoy the moment and have fun throughout.
- Jonah Nyoni is an author, speaker and leadership trainer. He can be reached on Twitter @jonahnyoni. WhatsApp: +263 772 581 918