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6 Ways to Excel in Public Speaking

6 Ways to Excel in Public Speaking

Imagine what it would be like if you knew that the moment you entered a room, people would immediately take notice, want to hear what you have to say, and be eager to earn your approval.

For effective public speakers, this is a way of life. Everyone is impacted by their presence. People are magnetically drawn to them and feel strangely compelled by their every word.

An effective speaker is seen as a leader. People like you, trust you and want to be led by you. However, contrary to popular belief, people are not born public speakers. If public speaking were an inherent attribute, all public speakers would be captivating, and that’s just not the case.

1. Practice Public Mindfulness 

If you are not fully present in your public performance, there is a good chance your eyes will wander or that your facial reactions will be a split-second delayed. Since the human mind can read facial expressions in as little as seventeen milliseconds, your audience will likely notice even the tiniest delays in your reactions.

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Presence is a learnable skill. You can increase it with practice and patience. And being mindful of your audience means simply having a moment-to-moment awareness of what’s happening. Mindfulness also sets a pace at which the words flow from you. This prevents you from speaking too fast and getting lost in your message.

2. Express Power And Warmth To Your Audience 

To be considered a powerful speaker, you must be able to affect the people to whom you are speaking. We look for clues of power in someone’s appearance, in others reactions to this person, and most of all, in the persons body language.

Our reaction to power and warmth is deeply wired. We react to these qualities more than we do to intelligence and kindness, as our ancestors survived by having a strong reaction to those who displayed power and warmth in critical moments.Through the combination of warmth and power, you will be able to play powerfully on other peoples instincts

Warmth tells us whether or not people care, and are willing to impact the world in a positive way. Warmth is assed through body language and behaviour. Power can be expressed through clothing, and having a confident posture. Posture leads to assume the person has something to be confident about. In essence, people will accept whatever you project.

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3. Accept Feelings Of Negativity And Discomfort 

Feeling internal discomfort and negativity is a natural part of life. Everyone experiences it. When it comes to public speaking, these feelings often arise without warning and can hinder our performance if we dwell on them.

We all feel the whole spectrum of emotions, no matter how good we think we are at public speaking. But somehow, we’ve gotten into the habit of viewing our physical or mental discomfort as a sign of something gone wrong.

When you experience unwanted feelings of negativity and discomfort, it is good to remind yourself that you are not alone, and that your favourite public speakers feel the same as you before making their speech. Rather than seeing negativity as one big emotion felt by one person, instead, see it as community of people struggling with it – a burden shared by many.

4. Stop Imitating Your Favorite Speakers 

Because we have deep admiration for great public speakers, we sometimes wish we could be more like them. We can quite happily spend time viewing their public performances, learning to imitate their movements, tonality and words.

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Excellent speakers have an authenticity about them that cannot be imitated. Their words, movements and tonality represent who they are at the core. If we try to imitate someone else, we lose ourselves in the process. We spend more time trying to be like them at the risk of our own personal development.

Instead, seek to learn from your favourite speakers, and not model their performances. Expect to learn and fail at the process of becoming the best you can. Read this article for more on Talent And Self-Mastery : Unleash The Power Of Greatness – Talent Revealed 

5. Make Your Speech A Conversation

If you can easily talk about your subject to a friend for many hours, and discuss confidently about it, then your message has a natural flow. If, however, you feel the need to deliver your message by a formulated structure, you risk making errors live.

Instead, you should treat your speech more like a conversation, as if you were talking to a friend or family member. This will also lower the intensity of your performance, giving you a more natural flow. Your audience will feel more relaxed, if you feel more relaxed.

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6. Remember Points. Not The Whole Speech.

We access information swiftly by association. Simple words have the power to help you access information that you would normally keep locked away. Instead of trying to remember your speech word-for-word, create a list of points you wish to discuss related to your talk.

Using this simple approach of making points will allow you access the information easily, and will prevent you from making mistakes during your performance. You can quite simply keep a small card in your hand, and take a quick glance when needed.

Final Note

Like all skills in life. If you wish to be truly great speaker,  it will require your time and patience. Public speaking is considered an art, and should be treated as such, especially if you choose to make a career out of it. The best way to become a great speaker is to practice. Join the local toastmasters and take every opportunity you can to speak in public, whether for a local club, library programs or other venues.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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