While the prospect public speaking rattles some people’s nerves and confidence, all it really takes is paying attention to a few little things that make a big difference when talking in front of a group of people.
Here are 7 tips you can implement immediately from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Ohio that will instantly and dramatically improve your public speaking:
1. Talk slowly — Most speakers (including professional ones) talk too fast. Have you ever listened carefully to professional speakers on TV? They talk slower than they would in normal conversational speech. Slow down. Take your time. Don’t rush through individual words. Even linger on them. It may feel unnatural, but just listen to a tape recording of yourself. It will undoubtedly sound a lot better.
2. Talk twice as loud — Most speakers talk too softly. Speak up and attempt to talk twice as loud as you normally do. It may seem to you that you are screaming, but in a large room your voice will sound perfectly normal.
3. Enunciate the consonant sound clearly — When we listen, we hear clearly because of the consonant sounds (the “hard” sounds – sss, t, d, p, m, and so forth), not the vowels (a, e, i, o, and u). Pay attention to those hard sounds. Make sure they are clear and distinct. Exaggerate them.
4. Use short sentences — You may like speaking in long sentences, but your audience doesn’t. Break up your ideas into short sentences. “Once idea per sentence” is as good a rule for speaking as it is for writing.
5. Pause often — Forget the ummmms and the aaahhhhs. Dead silence for a few seconds may seem like an eternity to you, but an audience doesn’t mind it at all. Take your time. Pausing creates interest and anticipation.
6. Organize your talk around 3 – 5 bullet points — No matter what you may think of off-the-cuff speeches and how entertaining they may be, nobody likes rambling on and on. Whatever you have to say, put it in the form of 3 to 5 bullet points. You’ll make listeners out of your audience.
7. Save the best for last — What is the most important, the most dramatic, the most impactful thing you have to say in your talk? Figure out what it is, and PUT IT LAST. That’s the most effective way to end a talk and keep your audience engaged in the subject matter.
Bonus: For more information on public speaking join us for an upcoming Dale Carnegie Training course on “High Impact Presentations.” The experience in this presentations skills training seminar is as close as you can get to having a personal, public speaking coach.
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