There is so much to know about conversation that anyone could ever realize. You can watch talk shows, listen to radio programs, and join clubs dedicated to public speaking. With ordinary conversations, certain understood 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 has to work twice as hard to churn out the 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.
1. What do you know?
Education is all about learning the basics, but to be an effective speaker is to practice what you’ve learned. We all have our limitations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to keep up and share what we know. Think about what you know the most about, and why you’re interested in those things.
2. Listen to yourself.
Listening is just as important as asking questions. Practice speaking on a few topics out loud, and read aloud when it’s convenient. Sometimes listening to the sound of your own voice can teach you to be a little bit more confident and to say the things you believe in with conviction.
3. Be nice to yourself.
We all make mistakes, and sometimes we tend to slur our words, stutter, and probably misuse certain words even though we know what they mean. So 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. Being at ease with yourself helps you be more at ease with others.
4. Make eye contact.
When speaking to an audience, make eye contact a few times with different members. This helps you connect with them and strengthens your statements. Don’t stare anyone down, though. You don’t want to go to the extreme of being aggressive. Slowly scan the group, landing on a few folks for a few extra seconds, between glances at your notes.
5. Humor has it.
A little bit of humor can do wonders to alleviate tension, or worse, boredom when giving your presentation. That way, you win (back) the attention of the majority of the crowd and they’ll feel that you’re approachable and human.
6. Mix & mingle.
Interaction is all about connecting with other people. Take the time to have casual conversations before, during, and after your talks. You’ll get a lot of ideas, as well as learning what makes your audience tick.
7. Say it with a smile.
Much like eye contact, your smile can show people who you are and enhance your authority. It’s easier to express yourself positively when you’re wearing a smile, and your audience is more likely to view you favorably.
We’ve all been there – working on our presentation up to the time they announce our name as the speaker. When you agree to speak and estimate how long it will take you to prepare – add an extra week. Trust us, while your audience may not know what’s missing from your talk, you’ll present much better when you give yourself time to practice thoroughly. Give yourself the time to be comfortable with what you know since you enjoy your work (we hope).
And that about wraps it up.
Many of the women who enroll in Woman University have never spoken before an audience before. That means their first shot at public speaking is presenting to our Dream Tank panel! But they make it, and they leave as winners.
Are you ready to start your journey? Apply now!