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9 Awesome Speaking Tricks You Haven’t Tried

9 Awesome Speaking Tricks You Haven’t Tried

A couple of years ago, I decided to do something about my fear of public speaking. Like any fear, it was a self-limiting belief that was a constant burden.

I joined a Toastmasters club, researched best practices and found interesting research from fields like psychology, sociology and business.

Armed with this experience and knowledge, I was able to hack my speaking skills and get better at a fast pace.

Speaking in public is a challenge. But it can definitely be overcome–and even become something you enjoy–by following some awesome speaking tricks that I will share with you today.

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I have them listed by tricks for You and tricks for Them.

Speaking tricks for you are hacks that will help you become more confident, relaxed, and at ease when speaking.

Speaking tricks for them are hacks that will help make you a more effective and entertaining speaker.

FOR YOU:

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Find your idol

I can’t speak like Tony Robbins or like Martin Luther King. Their speaking styles are different from mine. So when I am trying to become a better speaker, I don’t see them as my idols. Instead, I look for great speakers that are like me. People like Malcom Gladwell and Alain de Botton are perfect idols for me to learn from. They are more pensive and light-hearted, like me. Look for speakers who are more like you and learn from them.

Meet the strangers

Before I speak, I always try to meet as many people in the audience as I can. By doing this, I have turned a bunch of strangers into familiar faces. I am also able to find the “friendly face”. This is someone who is naturally supportive and enthusiastic. They are the person you can go back to whenever you’re speaking and feeling nervous or need a morale boost. There’s always at least one in the group — another reason to meet your audience!

Touchy touchy

Think of pictures taken of the aftermath of a disaster. You’ll see a lot of people hugging and embracing each other. When going through a challenging situation, we crave human touch, and standing in front of a crowd to say a few words is definitely challenging. If you feel overwhelmed or scared, use this speaking trick: gently press your thumb and ring finger together and rub them together. You can also clasp your hands every now and then. It’s a subtle, but effective, way to make yourself feel safer.

Move!

Your audience is listening to every word you are saying (hopefully!). This is when you need your wits. Research shows that when our bodies are on the move, our brains gets more oxygen, which helps increase mental sharpness. (Yet another reason to add some physical activity to your day). Find ways of moving around during your speech. Walk from one end of the stage to the other. Use your body language to deliver your message. Ditch the podium and expand your space. Whatever you can do to get oxygen flowing to your noggin.

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FOR THEM:

Keep it simple

You may be telling people a guaranteed way to making one million dollars, but if that message is too elaborate, you will lose them to Angry Birds. Use the rule of three when building your speeches. All speeches must have no more than three key messages you want you audience to learn. Think of those three things and build your speech around them.

Say it again and again and again

The Big Lie is a sociological phenomenon that describes how anything, even a lie, can become true in your head by pure repetition. Business leaders say they need to deliver a message at least seven times for it to be well known. This tells you that anything important must be repeated as much as possible. Find ways of delivering the same message in different ways so that it sticks.

Tell me a story

We love stories. Storytelling is as old as writing and drawing. Mythology and religion have thrived in part because they use many stories to describe truths and beliefs. Most if not all great speakers are also fantastic storytellers. And telling a story is not hard. It’s quite easy, just follow this method: talk about the past, then about the present, and finally about the future. It sounds simplistic, but this is how all good stories are built.

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Time is subjective

Tempo is how fast you speak, and it’s crucial for delivering your message with clarity. One day I rehearsed a speech for my fiancee. At one point I cringed at the extra long pause I took. Afterwards, I asked her for feedback she didn’t even mention it. She said there was no such pause in the speech, and that I should slow down, as I was going too fast. When you are speaking and have the spotlight, and so time feels a lot faster because of this heightened sense of awareness. Consider that when you are speaking. Aim for speaking a bit slower than usual.

Boo!

Human attention is short. This has even been quantified by John Medina, a cognitive scientist and writer of Brain Rules. After 10 minutes, people’s attention starts to drop when they are in a passive role, like being in a meeting, a classroom, or listening to your mom talk to you about multivitamins. To prevent this from happening when you have the floor, add something intriguing every now and then. A stunning visual, a controversial question, or a funny story. Do as much as you can to defy your audience’s expectations, and you’ll keep their attention throughout.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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