Anyone can be a public speaker worthy of applause. Just what is it that you are speaking about? Are you Speaking to inform? Speaking Politically? Arguing Persuasively? Speaking on a special occasion? Speaking and deliberating in groups?-
Here is some nonsensical advice on how to improve your speech, and overcome stage fright, and overall the unspoken rules of public speaking (that was a pun, could you tell?).
1) Know Thy Audience- It is the first rule in communication, a rule so critical it can tear down your whole speech- Ex. If you were to give a speech to college graduates, the language would be fundamentally different than if you were speaking to lets say a group of 7th graders- When you know your audience, you know what their expectations are out of you as a speaker. You know your limits, and you know which language to use.
2) Ethos, Pathos, Logos- Take a page out of Aristotle’s Rhetoric
*This is the core concepts of Rhetoric(the art of speaking). Implementing these into your speech will make much more power, power that you can share with your audience.
When you give a speech that you feel a strong passion towards, project that to your audience- don’t just let them hear your words- let them feel them too. Combining Objective and Subjective facts can lead to an awe inspiring message that connects you to your audience. Its giving a speech that will be remembered.
3) Embrace the stage fright-
Yes, it is scary and disorienting- the feeling of stage fright is very familiar and vehement feeling but you can never get to be a better speaker without this horrid feeling.
When you are self conscious when you step on stage, or step up to the podium, it means you know you have allot to work on.
Some of the best speakers may feel the same when they speak in front of a packed auditorium- but they never show it. That is the true way to hit this problem head on, as long as you don’t appear to afraid, you won’t get more afraid-in fact you stop being afraid all together.
Containing your stage fright takes a strict discipline in your speaking regime, its controlling yourself. finding your balance. This in the speaking arena is achieving pure nirvana, it’s believing in your self against all odds that you presume and confidence plays a vital role in the process.
You can’t offer your audience the full experience (of your speaking) without having to put in the work. While Practice makes perfect, it also makes you less nervous- it boosts your confidence that you are well prepared.
*Make sure you practice your enunciation, your body stance- even your hand gestures.
5) When you look Good, You feel Good
Dress for success- it makes you look good and more importantly- it makes you feel good. Use what you got or use what you can get. You want to give an overall good impression because honestly you may not have met everyone in the audience (don’t you want to make good first impressions?) and it adds a professional standard and sets the bar.
When you dress better, you appear more confident- and you seem like you know what you are talking about (or at least give off the impression).
Pauses add emphasis, it makes you look intelligent, but you have to know just when and how to use them. Pause for Two seconds the audience thinks you lost your place, pause for 5 seconds- the audience thinks you lost your wit, but pause for 10 seconds and even the people looking at their phones will look up-
7) Have Something to offer the Audience-
You want to sell an experience to your audience, and give them knowledge of tangible value that they can use whenever where ever- this could be some random fact you found researching, or this could be an emotional story of yours- whatever it is, you want to give your Audience that authenticity they so deserve.
8) Never go on stage empty Handed-
Have a Slideshow of pictures, an artifact, a map- really anything. Props can help your speech, and can bring forth that authenticity that is always in any good speech. Stand out and create your own unique prop or info graph and let your audience see it.
*Make sure your Props themselves don’t Over power your speech itself.
9) Body Movements-
It feels awkward anytime I stand in front of a group of people with my hands to my sides and I’m sure allot people feel the same way. Contrary to that belief, that is the most confident stance around, but you don’t want to fidget (the wrong way). Use your hands to help express your speech, it grabs the audience’s attention and seems more legitimate.
Make sure you stand upright, and don’t shuffle your feet (like at all- its awkward). Never keep your eyes in just one place, let them scan over the heads in the audience- Keep a smile (unless your speaking about something serious) and speak with tenacity its always better to talk too loud than not be heard at all.
*Avoid using monotonous Hand gestures, have some variability.
10) Speak Slowly-
If the rate of your words you speak goes up too fast than you get all jumbled- you get ahead of yourself. You need to allow yourself the time to properly say what you need to. Talking slower also helps you audience it let s them properly hear what your saying.
Nobody is born a public speaker, nor is anyone born a doctor- getting better at this art takes a dedication from you the speaker- it takes practice and most of all it takes guts. One good speech can change the world and in the end the only way things get done is through this communication. It is the threshold of humanity, the only thing that separates us from the beasts of nature.
Let your self be brave, and better than you were yesterday – share something important and share something, something that could very well benefit others.