The top three things that people fear the most are death, spiders and public speaking. While many young professionals can avoid the first two, perfecting your public speaking is a task that must be tackled if you want to be well respected among your peers. Instead of just winging it the next time you speak in front of a group, take some advice from the Jaycees.
1. Connect with your audience. Speaking in front of a group of your peers can be approached differently than making a pitch for potential clients – but don’t forget to connect with any group to which you are speaking. If you really want to earn the attention you deserve, be honest and real – and even add a little bit humorous in the appropriate situations. Your audience will sense your confidence and they won’t be able to help but hang on your every word. If you’ve already earned the privilege of addressing them, they know you’re smart – but are you relatable?
2. Start with an end in mind. While preparing – whether it’s five minutes before your weekly meeting or over the weekend before the biggest presentation of your career – it’s often helpful to prepare for a speech by starting with your closing message. What is it exactly that you are trying to express? It’s much easier to remain composed when you know exactly what message you’re sending and you know what it takes to make that point.
3. Remember your body language. One thing that the Jaycees have noticed is that while a speech can be well planned and thought out, it is often poorly executed due to a lack of passion that is mostly expressed in the way you present. Did you know that more than 90 percent of communication is nonverbal? What kind of nonverbal cues are you sending your audience? Remember to smile, consider your posture, know what you are doing with your hands, don’t forget to move and keep your tone upbeat.
You’ll note that we didn’t mention confidence as a key to earning the attention and respect from your audience. The Jaycees believe that once you perfect the skills that we have outlined, your confidence will soon follow. Do you have any other tips to help advance your public speaking game? Visit out Facebook and Twitter to let us know what helps you!