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9 Awesome Speaking Tricks You Haven’t Tried

9 Awesome Speaking Tricks You Haven’t Tried
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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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