Public Speaking Tips For Non – Public Speakers
Public speaking ranks as one of the top fears of Americans. Understandably so: all eyes are fixed on you and your every word is scrutinized. This can be a daunting task which sends tremors through the bodies of even seemingly confident people.
No matter how much you hate public speaking, you are going to have to do it at some point. Whether as a student, an employee, or a manager. Even as a relative or friend you may be called upon to bestow some insights or wisdom about a particular person or subject. When you do, here are some tips to help you conquer your fears, and excel as a public speaker.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Knowing your audience is key. It helps you determine the approach, tone, and language to use in communicating your message. Speaking to adults is very different than speaking to children who lack your maturity, experience, and education. The same is true of speaking to groups that are comprised of people from different cultures, industries, and social groups. Your number one consideration, and most important assignment, is to know who you are speaking to.
KNOW THEIR EMOTIONAL STATE: People connect through emotions. President Obama won his campaign based upon this premise. His message of hope and optimism was chosen to appeal to the emotions of voters who were experiencing strife resulting from financial hardships. By knowing what emotional state your audience is in, your message can be designed to appeal to those emotions.
HAVE A SIMPLE MESSAGE: The more elaborate your message, the more likely people will forget it. You want your message to be clear, concise, and memorable. As a public speaker, I actually tell my audience the message I came to deliver by packaging it as the most important thing I want them to leave with (e.g., preparation is the key to success…your network improves your net worth…talent is not enough, etc.). This way they can recall and process the message.
SPEAK TO BE UNDERSTOOD: When speakers start thinking (or fearing) that they are going to be judged by others, they put the satisfaction of their ego ahead of their message. The result is a disconnection from their audience. Get over it!. Your message, not the messenger, is the real focal point of every audience. Speaking publicly is not a platform to show how smart you are, but an opportunity to show you care about and understand the problems, concerns, and desires of the people in your audience. Don’t speak to impress; speak to be understood.
SPEAK FROM THE HEART: When you speak from a place of truth and honesty, your message resonates with others. Studies show that people rank honesty and sincerity as the number one trait they value in public speakers (or anyone who speaks publicly). Speaking from the heart is what public speaking is all about; having the courage to use your voice and to share your truth in an effort to meet others on some common ground. As long as you don’t lie to yourself about who you are, what you think, how you feel, or what you believe in, you can be effective at public speaking, even if you are not a public speaker.