10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills | Harvard Professional Development
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Nervousness is normal. But don't associate these feelings with the sense that you will perform poorly or make a fool of yourself.
The best way to overcome this nervousness is to prepare." Go over your notes several times, practice a lot and get feedback from someone close to you for your performance.
Your speech is about them, not you. Learn as much about your listeners as you can. This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, organization pattern, and motivational statement.
And do it in the most effective manner. Write down the topic, the general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and main points. Make sure to grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.
Keep your focus on your audience. Observe their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.
You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through, and your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.
Insert a funny anecdote in your presentation, and you will certainly grab your audience’s attention. Audiences generally like a personal touch in a speech. A story can provide that.
... unless you have to. Outline the main ideas just in case. Reading from a script or slide fractures the interpersonal connection. By maintaining eye contact with the audience, you keep the focus on yourself and your message.
Nonverbal communication carries most of the message. Good delivery does not call attention to itself but instead conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly and without distraction. Omit nervous gestures.
Grab attention at the beginning, and close with a dynamic end.
When you start, use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or a concise quotation. Conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.
Too many can break the direct connection to the audience, so use them sparingly. They should enhance or clarify your content, or capture and maintain your audience’s attention.
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