Thursday, July 21, 2011

Speak with Confidence

Find your unique voice….and speak with confidence!
Some people have said they would rather be trampled by humans than talk in front of them. Here are some public speaking tips to help make public speaking less daunting.
There are only 3 areas to remember: 
Let’s look at the first of them - PREPARE YOURSELF
So, Prepare Yourself.  What is it about yourself that you need to prepare?
Prepare and practice
Whether you’re using visual aids or not, prepare the content of your talk and then practise by rehearsing out loud.  No matter how nervous you are, if you’re fully prepared you’re much more likely to perform well.
Visualise your audience
Who is your audience?  Who is in your audience? (VIP’s for example).  What time of day is it?  Where are you on the Agenda? Where have they been? What have they heard immediately before your talk/presentation?  In other words – what is their time and content tolerance?
Your audience wants you to do well.  When you come in to your speaking space – eyeball them and give them a nod or a smile.  Speak to them as if you’re speaking to just one person.  Never underestimate the power of audience participation.   Bring them TO you – you don’t want them to be indifferent or remote.   (When preparing your speech have a look at the content of your talk to see where and how you can interact with the audience)
Be yourself
Find your unique voice.  Be true to your personality. If you’re a naturally serious person, then cracking jokes might sound forced and may not get the response you want.
Be yourself and people will be receptive to what you have to say.
Breathe and Make Noises………………
It’s the body’s natural response to take fast, shallow breaths when you’re nervous. Relax yourself by breathing deeply and slowly from your diaphragm.
Practise standing in the speakers/singers “resting position” – balanced, shoulders back, head straight – and breathe slowly from the diaphragm.  (This recommendation is repeated because of its importance to your self confidence).
Apparently, Jackie French, the Australian author and television presenter, used to make mooing sounds before speaking in public. It might sound funny, but it must have been a great way for Jackie to regulate each breath.  And, to relax.    
Other sounds you can practise, in the shower or travelling in the car are:
KA    HA     GA     - especially to make the voice mellow -   Mmmmmmmmmm and Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn    and the lovely sound of  Mooooooooooooo

Do it more and be confident
Easier said than done, but the only way to get better at public speaking is to take every opportunity to speak and to do it as often as possible. Yes, it might be scary, but with practice it’s possible to build your confidence and enjoy speaking!
Why do you need to LOOK and BE confident?  Because the key factors in your audience paying attention or customers doing business with you are these:
IMPACT –           do they like you?  They won’t buy if they don’t.
APPEARANCE – like it or not they are making critical judgements based on your appearance.
And only then, YOUR MESSAGE.  Your message isn’t really a message until it has been received by your audience in the manner in which you intended.
Whatever your purpose in speaking, instead of being frightening, speaking can be frighteningly beneficial! It can even become addictive.  
Ask me how you can discover the joy of speaking
 and the thrill of presenting! 

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