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How can you be an effective public speaker?

Have you dreaded the day when you would be required to speak to a fairly large audience? Has the fear of public speaking stood in your way to your dream career? If so do not worry, you are not alone, as stage fright is a very common fear faced by many people. According to Guinness Book of Records, among life’s major fears 54% of adults rank public speaking ahead of the fear of death.

(Source: http://joyfulpublicspeaking.blogspot.in/2012/08/surveys-show-that-public-speaking-isnt.html)

Although we live in an era where most of the communication happens via digital tools, the effectiveness of verbal communication cannot be replaced by any other forms. History has given us great orators like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Adolf Hitler whose speeches have been reasons to ignite change and influence people’sthoughts. Similar results can be brought in your professional circle too if effective public speaking is practised.

Why is Public Speaking important?

Most of us have been in situations where we had to deliver speeches to a large audience - whether it was your office presentation or your debate competition at your school. If you are a working individual, there are chances of coming across this situation again at workplace. Before you prepare yourself with effective public speaking skills, it is important to know the benefits of being a great speaker:

(1) Boosts your self-confidence:

Fear of seeing a large audience, fear of making mistakes while speaking, and fear of not being able to answer their questions are the most common fears that people have about public speaking. The more you face this situation the faster your fears will fade thereby boosting your confidence in talking to people.

(2) Makes you more sociable:

Public speaking makes you more comfortable in a crowd and also helps you to strike conversations with people better.

(3) Differentiates you in the workforce:

If you are a good public speaker, then that is an additional attribute to your personality that can make you stand out from the rest. There are greater chances for your employer to consider you for better opportunities that require representing the company.

(4) Improves your knowledge:

the preparation required to make a speech helps you to improve your knowledge about the topic.

“All speaking is public speaking, whether it’s to one person or a thousand.”–Roger Love
Some tips for effective public speaking:

1. Prepare your speech:Make a thorough research on the topic you would be speaking about. Ensure that the speech you prepare isn’t too long. Practise your speech and monitor your body language in front of a mirror before you deliver the final speech.

2. Understand your audience: Your speech should be prepared keeping in mind the kind of audience you would be addressing to. If your audience is school children, bring in some fun element occasionally so that their attention doesn’t get deviated with serious topics.

3. Your appearance makes a difference: A well dressed speaker is more confident while delivering their speech. So ensure that you are comfortable in your attire.

4. Keep the communication going: Make the session interactive by asking questions to the audience. This helps you connect better with your audience.

5. Prepare Q&A: Prepare a list of questions you anticipate the audience might ask you and their answers in advance. This would boost your confidence level up while delivering your speech.

6. Talk slowly: A good speaker should never hasten his speech. Pace of your speech show be slow and well articulated as it helps the audience understand you better.

7. Listen to famous speeches: Listen to the videos of some great speakers. Observe and learn some of their public speaking skills - TedTalks is a great channel for this.

8. General Reading: Practise as a routine to read aloud a paragraph or two, preferably from your Daily’s editorial, in private. This will help you work on your pauses, inflections and voice modulations..

It is quite normal to be nervous about public-speaking. However, if you need to harness your full potential in the business world, it is important to overcome this fear and sharpen your communication skills. Expressing your views eloquently at meetings and developing your presentation skills would work in favour of making extraordinary career moves. Always remember, “Learning how to become an effective public speaker can be the key difference between success and failure in your life at home, at work and in your own community!”

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