Public speaking is slowly becoming one of the most desirable soft skills on the market. Every profession requires it in some form. Be it the conference room for a presentation or the TEDx stage to spread an idea, public speaking is an important facet of life. Having been a national level debater, given more than a dozen motivational talks and two TEDx talks, I’ve realized that while different settings require different approaches, some aspects are common to all forms of public speaking.
The first rule of public speaking is confidence. That confidence can be built up with a little bit of help. And here’s 5 tips on how to be more confident in public speaking –
- Wait before you speak – Starting to speak as soon as you stand on the stage can seem as though you are fumbling or nervous. As soon as you get onto the stage, take a moment of silence before you begin your talk. While it may seem awkward to you, the audience will often perceive it as confidence.
- Close your mouth fully – Every time you take a pause, even if it is to breathe, close your mouth fully. If you leave it open, it seems as though you have forgotten something, or are trying to remember something.
- Speak Slowly – Whatever your usual speed, try to speak slower than that (unless you’re really slow already!). It’s hard to resist the temptation to speak fast, but on stage, when one is nervous, one often tends to speak faster than when one is not nervous. Hence, on stage speak slower than you usually would.
- Pause – People take time to understand and digest what you’re saying, so take pauses in between new ideas.
- Ignore the frowns – Many times people look serious or frown or shake their heads. Ignore them completely. You don’t know what’s going on in their minds. So, instead of thinking negatively, ignore them.
Public speaking isn’t a talent, it’s a skill that can be worked on. Practice your speech and rehearse the above steps for your next talk!
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