With so much in life revolving around communication and speaking it’s hard to believe that it’s not always as cut and dried as it may seem. Specific rules still apply when it comes to interaction through words. It may sound tedious but, even though it’s your mouth that’s doing the work, your brain works twice as hard to edit through a lot of things you know. So what better way to start learning to be an effective communicator than to get to know the very person closest to you: yourself.
What It’s All About
It’s all about learning the basics, to be an effective speaker by practicing what you’ve learned. As a guest at every meeting I go to I know that we all have our limitations, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to share what we know.
It’s even more important than asking questions. A good listener will know what the audience wants and requires. Sometimes listening to the sound of our own voice can teach us to be a little bit confident with ourselves and to say the things we believe in with true conviction.
We all make mistakes, and sometimes we tend to mince our words, stutter, and mispronounce certain words even though we know exactly what we mean. When you’re in a group, don’t be afraid to ask if you’re saying the right word properly and if they’re unsure about it then make a joke out of it. Everyone is going to laugh right along with you and the bonus is that you just got away with a blooper in your speech.
Making eye contact with your audience draws in the listeners attention. “Was she speaking directly to me?” is a frequent thought passing through the audiences mind when you’re looking directly at them.
Sense of Humor
Have you ever been to a conference and suddenly everyone is laughing and you don’t know why? Chances are the speaker threw some humor into their speech to keep everyone’s attention. Unfortunately, you missed it and may never know what was so funny but you are now paying closer attention to what is being said. Humor works to break up the monotony of a boring subject so use it to your advantage.
Take advantage before and after a meeting to interact with one another. This is a great way to glean some ideas and also know what people are looking for in information. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Me, Myself, and I
Let’s be honest here, there are simply times when you talk to yourself, sing to yourself or practice your speech in front of a mirror or your child’s stuffed animal collection. Perhaps you even give your speech to the dog. This is also a great time to practice those affirmations, you know the ones….”I can do this” “I am capable” and of course, “I’m not that bad looking”.
Remember in school when the English teacher always had a scowl? Don’t be that teacher, your smile will lift the mood of even the most boring speech. Unless you’re at a funeral giving the eulogy, put that frown or sad face away and paste on a smile.
Think back through your life to the most memorable speeches you’ve heard. Now use those speakers as your role model. Whether it be the pastor at your church, your favorite teacher in school, emulate how they delivered their speech. Why did it hold your attention?
Don’t just scrawl your notes on the nearest piece of scrap paper, take a few minutes to organize them, carry a notebook or electronic device to keep your notes neat and handy. Taking time to prepare will give you the confidence you need before delivering your speech.
Following these simple suggestions has helped me to deliver speeches more confidently and without fail. Besides, if I mess up no one really knows I’ve messed up besides me as long as I keep my cool and continue smiling. By utilizing these ideas I’ve gained immeasurable confidence at my speaking engagements and kept my audiences attention until my speech was over.