5 Mind-Opening Tips for Public Speaking
Here are some not so obvious public speaking tips, which can change your mindset and help you to connect better with your audience.
Take your time to breathe in. It may seem obvious, but allowing yourself an extra second or two to breathe before each new sentence can be a game changer. Whenever you’re presenting to 3-4 people or giving a motivational speech watched by thousands, the mechanism of communication is always the same. As a speaker, you need to give your audience a chance for the ideas and images you’re talking about to “land” in your their heads. Don’t rush, breathe in calmly and your audience will feel relaxed and will be able to focus better. Plus, your brain will get the oxygen it needs to formulate new thoughts and think clearly. A perfect win-win scenario.
Place your focus outside. Although, you’re are standing in the spotlight, you’re not the most important person here. They are! In every public speaking context, you should rather offer than take. Be generous in the way you think and speak and your audience will recognise and value that. Besides, placing your focus outside of yourself can be delightfully liberating. This way of thinking about public speaking can ease the tension, lower your anxiety and make you much more confident when you realise it’s not about you!
Have a strong intention
You need to know WHY. It is the crucial question you need to answer before stepping on the stage. Why are you speaking to your audience? What is the single most important reason you are here? What do you want them to do? What do you want them to feel? What should they understand? Having a core intention, an aim which stays in the centre of your speaking will help you organise your content more efficiently. You can think of the core intention as a solid trunk of a tree. It’s rooted in your beliefs and supports the crow of the tree with examples and facts. Come back to your WHY whenever you feel anxious before speaking. The core intention will “ground” you and will make your speaking more cohesive and distilled.
Don’t use tricks
There are tons of methods, techniques, tricks used to win your audience. Talk to the point above the heads of people, use the steeple hand gesture, stand like this, say it like that, use pauses to create suspense, copy the body language of excellent speakers – to name a few. They may all work, fine, but if you focus on “how” rather then “why”, you’ll miss the core ingredient which is the genuine connection with people.
Warm up before speaking
Public Speaking is a physical action engaging the whole body. Like every other physical activity, it requires a warm up. Voice is a muscle and preparing it for work will give you more ease, range, power etc. Plus, physical activity decreases the level of cortisol in your blood, so it’s a good way of dealing with performance anxiety. You can do some easy breath and voice warm-ups, or do a couple of pushups, jumping jacks, squats or go up and down the stairs before you speak. This may seem awkward, but it’s the easiest way to bring the level of cortisol down. You’ll breathe deeper, you’ll think more clearly, and your voice will sound much more relaxed.