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3 Brain Hacks For Becoming An Eloquent Public Speaker

3 Brain Hacks For Becoming An Eloquent Public Speaker

No matter what industry we work in, we can all benefit from being more eloquent public speakers. It’s important to always look to improve our communication and interpersonal skills. Whether it’s giving a speech to an auditorium of thousands or simply addressing a few dozen co-workers, the basic principle is the same: when addressing multiple people at once, getting our message across accurately and memorably is vital to success.

There’s a word that does a great job of summing up public speaking: eloquence. Merriam-Webster defines eloquence as: “the ability to speak or write well and in an effective way.” It goes on to say: “[eloquence is] discourse marked by force and persuasiveness; also: the art or power of using such discourse.”

How can you improve your public speaking skills and become an eloquent speaker? Thankfully, there are plenty of brain hacks to help you master the art. Let’s look at five of these:

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1. Learn (And Use) A New Word Each Day

Our first brain hack is deceptively simple: learn, and then use, a new word each day. Though it’s easy to imagine yourself succeeding at this seemingly simple task, it does take a bit of effort.

For one, you may rarely be in a social situation that facilitates the use of the word esurient. Also, it’s often a struggle to remember what you had for breakfast in the morning, so remembering to use a word you just learned can be tricky.

Stick with it and keep making the effort, however, and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying the daily challenge. It will pay off in dividends when you find yourself in a public speaking situation and must find the right words to use on the fly.

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2. Train Yourself To Speak Without Preparation

Public speaking doesn’t have to involve writing a speech. In many instances, there’s no time to prepare. Even when you have plenty of time beforehand, it’s important not to over-plan your speech. Audiences don’t want to be read to — they want to be engaged with. It’s important to view public speaking more as a conversation and less as a poetry reading.

Martha Ebeling, a debate expert, wrote up a list of Ten Commandments for extemporaneous speaking. The most pertinent of the ten are the first two: exude confidence and relax. It’s good advice.

Getting nervous is the biggest hurdle in becoming a truly eloquent speaker. To get there, you must have confidence in yourself, confidence in your knowledge, and most importantly you must learn to relax and be comfortable with your situation. A great brain hack for doing this is to use positive self-talk.

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3. Keep It Simple, Stupid

This principle, known affectionately as KISS, is commonly taught to anyone working in a communication-heavy field. Writers, salespeople, and public speakers swear by it, and for good reason.

Simple speech makes a bigger impression in the listener’s mind. While it’s tempting to assume flowery language is the key to eloquent speaking, all too often it is the opposite case: superfluous adjectives amidst prose only serve to distract from your point, and the only impression you’ll leave with your audience is that you’re a bit of a windbag.

That’s not to say flowery language can’t enhance your speech — it absolutely can. This is the difference between effective public speaking and truly eloquent public speaking. It exists to add an enchanting sophistication to your speech, and should be surprising, memorable, and most of all infrequent.

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So, what’s the brain hack here? It’s the simple knowledge that you don’t have to overdo it. Worrying about every word in every sentence adds an unnecessary layer of stress to your thought process, and your ability as a speaker will suffer for it. Therefore, be free of this burden. Speak simply, and let your flourishes come naturally.

Featured photo credit: Gratisography via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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