As a corporate training company, one of the requests we repeatedly receive is to help organizations hone the skills of their employees in effective speaking, making presentations or speeches. Effective public speaking is an art which can be learnt and perfected by consistent efforts. Please read my earlier blog-post “6 Public Speaking Tips You Need To Learn Now ” to learn the broad contours of speech-making . AWhile it is not possible to guarantee that every speech we give will earn a standing ovation, it is indeed possible to imbibe our speaking with effective and powerful behaviors. Using effective speaking behaviors increase the likelihood of a better connect with our audience, improved response, enhanced understanding... and yes, those standing ovations. Our trainers that conduct corporate training sessions, recommend these behaviors and needless to say, demonstrate them as well! Here are some effective behaviors of powerful speakers:
1. Adopt A Friendly Posture
Audience always prefers a warm, happy looking speaker; always begin with a smile, as it will enable you to connect with your audience instantaneously. A warm and open approach works wonders. A quick mental trick you can play to achieve this is - Imagine that the audience is actually an old friend, whom you are meeting after many years. If you don't know the audience members, remind yourself
There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met
2. Confidence is Key
An audience always prefers a relaxed, poised, speaker rather than a panic – stricken one. Even if you are a bit nervous, don’t show it. Maintain your composure by inhaling deeply, holding your breath and exhaling slowly.
Research also indicates that behaving 'as if' you are confident helps you actually feel more confident. When it comes to confidence, the adage that works is
Fake it till you make it
3. Deserve the attention
Show your audience, who is holding the floor and deserves full attention?
Hint: It's you.
Very often, speakers are guilty of making the slides the star of the presentation, or the handouts or the flip-chart board - escaping to these options to avoid the audience. The slides, the board, the written material - they are just props. You are the main act.
4. Move, but with purpose
A simple adage to remember for any 'performance' (a speech, a skit or even dance) is this -
Movement should have a purpose.
You should not walk up and down, unless it has a meaning and a reason. Unnecessary hand – gestures or mannerisms should be avoided. Ripples Learning may help you in improving your body language through its behavioral corporate training programs.
5. Plan The Full Speech
A powerful speech must be thought out before hand, please refer to my earlier blog “6 Public Speaking Tips You Need To Learn Now“ for more details, regarding “what to say “and how to arrange it. Our corporate training programs on 'Presentation Skills' and 'Public Speaking' help you prepare for the same.
6. Don’t Make The Speech Complex, Keep It Simple
Don’t crowd your speech with multiple points, micro-technicalities and too much of details. A productive speech consists of up to 4 main points at the most, leading to one main conclusion. It should be such that people are able to grasp it.
7. Be Spontaneous
Always try to be spontaneous. You should give your speech in such a manner as you are talking to your friends. Be observant of people attending and their immediate experience and concerns. Can you connect it to your topic?
8. Be heard
Project your voice so that you are heard clearly. It wouldn't matter if you gave the best and wittiest speech in the world, if nobody could hear it.Use vocal variety to draw your audience in. For example: excited speech imparts a sense of urgency, while pausing well prepares the audience for an upcoming revelation. You can also choose your base-voice (the speech-making 'normal' volume, tone, pitch, speed etc.) for making speeches. It is advisable to adopt a voice technique, suitable to your speech – content and personality.
9. Look at the audience
A common mistake speakers make is to look at a person whose opinion they care about rather than the whole audience (this could be a friend who they find comforting or a authority-figure they are trying to impress) . The speaker who avoids looking at the audience almost always looses them. While speaking, let your gaze sweep back and forth across the audience. It will help you to connect with them. Remember
Eyes are where the attention is
10. Keep Time
The best way to make your audience happy is to finish on time and help them keep their schedules. Incredibly hard for speakers, but equally important for the audience. Finishing on time also shows that you are in control - that you haven't left out important information and there is no panic rush to finish it in the last minute.