If you’re like most professionals, speaking in front of a group is a regular part of your career. But how confident are you in your public speaking skills? Being able to deliver a clear, confident message to a group in a business setting is an essential skill, and can often make or break your professional success. Recently, I was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal discussing ways you can improve your public speaking prowess. Take a look at these additional four strategies for taking your public speaking to the next level. Our goal is to help you not just look good at your next presentation but to deliver it like a rock star and look forward to your next presentation!
- Project with a clear, strong voice: Remember: your breath is the power behind your voice. Take deep breaths from your abdomen, not your chest, as you speak. Pause at appropriate moments in your presentation to take additional breaths. Having a bottle of water at hand is also crucial for staying hydrated and keeping your voice strong and clear. Good breath support creates a strong voice and a strong voice exudes confidence.
- Warm-up before you start: Speaking is like any other physical activity: it takes a little while to get warmed up. If you jump into your presentation cold, the first few minutes of your speech will likely suffer. Before you begin, take two minutes to do some vocal warm-up exercises. They’ll help to relax you and make your speech more fluid. Lip flutters, tongue rolls and humming are all great ways to warm up your voice.
- Memorize the opening and closing of your speech: People usually remember the first and last things they heard the most clearly, so make sure these parts of your presentation are strong and memorable. Also, since nerves are often the worst at the beginning of a presentation, having your opening memorized allows you to present in a confident way and focus on your delivery instead of worrying about what you’re saying.
- Use eye contact to connect with the audience: During a presentation, nerves often make people avoid eye contact with their audience. Some people look at the ceiling or inanimate objects, and others will focus only one or two people in the crowd that they’re comfortable with. Use eye contact to establish a connection with the entire audience. Make eye contact for a short period of time (3-5 seconds) with individual members of the audience, moving your gaze to different parts of the room to keep everyone engaged. For more tips on how to use eye contact to your advantage, check out this recent blog!
If you have questions or are interested in improving your communication skills, give me a call at 212-308-7725 or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
© 2015, Corporate Speech Solutions of New York City and Long Island – All Rights Reserved