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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 August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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