Public speaking can be considered one of the most practical and useful skills one can have in life. It also happens to be hard to master, and for good reason. It has immense implications in many social scenarios where establishing rapport with the audience is key to achieving attention. In most social interactions, listeners will decide whether you are trustworthy. They will do it based on your body language and vocal attributes.
Public speaking aims to make the best of your body language and speech and attract as much positive attention as possible. However, mastering public speaking is not easy and requires a lot of training, finesse, and most importantly, confidence. You can develop your public speaking abilities with the assistance of companies like Thought-Leader. They are educating people on all aspects of effective public speaking thanks to the former TEDx speakers who are on their staff. If you’re just starting out at public speaking or simply want to understand it, here’s how to gain confidence as a public speaker.
Understanding and connection are the first steps for any good public speaker in any social setting. The first five minutes you spend with your audience is the most important. It’s within this time period they will decide whether they want to engage with you or not. Body language is critical during this phase as most of the audience will gauge you by how you present yourself, even before speaking.
In most instances, trying to dazzle the audience with your knowledge and facts right from the start will disconnect you from the audience. So you need to first build rapport with them by starting off with a joke or personal anecdote. Depending on the presentation, the tone of your introduction will differ according to the situation. However, you should always start off light before diving into the main topic.
Make sure that you know your material inside and out so that you can speak confidently and without hesitation. Second, be aware of your body language and use it to project confidence. Smile, make eye contact, and stand up straight. Third, use your voice effectively by speaking clearly and at a moderate pace. A professional coach for public speaking will help you gain the skills needed for connecting with your audience and make them invested in the main message you’re trying to convey.
Eye contact is very important where public speaking is concerned. This is because it's a macro body language that builds confidence between the speaker and the audience. Eye contact in public speaking can seem a bit difficult as you have to simultaneously look at everyone and make them feel personally connected to you at the same time.
Maintaining eye contact during one-to-one conversations is much easier.
If you have bad eyesight, your eyewear also plays a crucial role in how your audience perceives you when making eye contact. Most people opt for round glasses, but you can also go for square and oval framed glasses as well.
Speaking too fast is one of the most common speech deficiencies that prevent most people from mastering the art of public speaking. Most people are usually very emotional when they speak to an audience in a public setting. This is what makes them stutter. Usually this is caused by nervousness and an urge to rush through your presentation and get off the stage as quickly as possible.
Learning to be calm and speak slowly might seem difficult at first if you’re usually used to speaking fast. But once you learn to speak slowly, you’ll find people will find have an easier time connecting and listening to you. Another benefit of speaking slowly is giving you time to think and make small improvisations as necessary. It also exudes more confidence and gives you a dignified air.
Visualizing your confidence in your mind is very important; you can actually exude it when interacting with others. You need to picture yourself feeling confident and delivering a speech that you feel good about. Shy people often have a tough time doing so. This is what makes it difficult for them to master public speaking in the first place.
If you have trouble visualizing stuff, you should start practicing visualization exercises by consulting with a public speaking trainer.
Just like visualizing a successful outcome before giving a public speech, clearing your mind of unnecessary thoughts is important to build confidence as a public speaker. Clearing your mind before a public speaking event prevents you from making mistakes in the speech. It also decreases the chance of losing your nerve if interrupted during the speech.
The most common and easiest way to clear your mind before going to a public speech is to take deep breaths for a couple of minutes. This will slow down your heartbeat and soothe your agitated mental state. You should also meditate regularly to maintain your calm at all times.
Public speaking is an important skill that is a must for many professions. For example, teaching, law, politics, corporate management, and more. If you want to make headway career-wise in any of these professions, mastering public speaking is important. Hopefully, everything discussed above will help you do just that by getting you started on the basics.