Public speaking is a trait that many must know to get their voices out there. It allows you to form connections, motivate others and influence change and decision making.
We rely on communication so profoundly in our world because it grants us the ability to progress in the workplace and our lives. Whether you are a student, employee or CEO of a big-time company, public speaking is one of the most important communication forms.
1. Avoid Using Too Many Filler Words
Fillers can be described as a pause, hesitation, or word used by a speaker to indicate that they are pausing to think or are not done speaking. A filler word can be detrimental to a speech because of the lack of professionalism and pollution it is causing to your message.
Some examples of filler words are, “hmm, like, uhh, so.” If you find yourself using these fillers, try to replace the word with a dramatic pause. This will keep the audience engaged and allow you to keep your professionalism intact.
2. Avoid The Use Of Uptalking
Can you say a sentence without turning it into a question?
There is a big difference in the statement, "Hi, my name is Ashley?" and "Hi, my name is Ashley."
Uptalking is the process of ending your sentence on a high note -- literally, not metaphorically. This not only makes the reading believe that you are uncertain about what you are talking about, but it also destroys your confidence.
3. Clearly Pronounce Your Words
Ensure each syllable and sound is clear when giving a speech. Ensuring each word is understandable and pronounced properly can really affect your speech.
Picture yourself sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture given by your teacher. She is clearly pronouncing every word, never mumbling and ensuring everything she is saying is clear and understandable. Now picture yourself in the same scenario but with a different teacher. He is mumbling his words and not clearly articulating what he is saying.
Which lecture would you like to be in? -- Of course, the first one.
Pronunciation helps the listener understand what you are saying, and it allows them to gain interest in your speech and fully comprehend the message you are delivering.
4. Avoid Hoarse or Heavy Breathing
A trick to calming your nerves down when public speaking is to breathe. But, sometimes, public speakers tend to breathe too loudly or too heavily, or replicate hoarse breathing.
What some might not know is there is a correct way to breathe when presenting. Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is a deep breathing technique that engages your diaphragm but calmly and avoids loud, harsh sounds.
5. Avoid Being Monotone and Sounding Boring
When listening to someone speak in a monotone voice, how long can you last before you start online shopping, checking emails or sending texts? -- Not very long.
Sounding monotone can lead to a boring and dreadful speech that will leave your audience with nothing but snores.
Fear is the main reason why we sound monotone while giving a speech, but this is avoidable. The solution is to practice your speech. Instead of fearing that you will forget what you have to say, practice your speech and focus on creating a conversation rather than a rehearsal. This will help you become comfortable with your speech and bring emotion and life into your speaking.
And if you find yourself getting anxious and wanting to resort back to your comfortable monotone voice, just breathe and pause.
6. Speak Loudly
Exploring the full potential of your voice will allow you to reach the back of the room. Talking loudly is more than just increasing the volume of your voice. It is about adjusting your pitch, adding tone and emotion, and changing your voice's pace to speak loudly and reach your whole audience.
Pro tip -- Always speak louder and more exaggerated than you normally would.
7. Stay On Topic
It is a great tip to add personality into your speech and create a conversation with your audience, but it is important to note that a little goes a long way.
Often, to increase the emotion in your speech, speakers will create a conversation with their audience, but sometimes they go overboard.
It is essential to focus on reaching your point with your audience instead of going off track because boredom can step in fast. Try to stay in sync with the rhythm of your talk. The trick to staying on track is allowing the connection of your speech to be mind to body and body to mind.
8. Find Your Right Speed
It is common for a speaker to rush through their presentation, especially if their nerves set it. A great tip to counteract this initial reaction is the following term. "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." When you recite your speech slowly and confidently, the presentation is smooth and impacts the audience in a much more powerful way.
As discussed on our website, public speaking can be coached through the help of a speech-language pathologist. Book a free consultation to discover how an SLP can help you gain the confidence you need to prepare for your public speaking.