Nearly everything you will seek to accomplish as a leader, from building relationships to influencing decisions, is dependent upon effective communication skills. Public speaking is one of the principal forms of communication, and you must master it if you want to lead change in your organisation.
The following tips can help you learn how to conquer stage fright and improve your public speaking.
Relax, Your Audience Won’t Hurt You!
The good news is that even if you suffer from a fear of public speaking, you don’t have to continue to give in to this fear. Relax. No matter how poorly or how well you perform, your audience is unlikely to turn on you. It is safe to be yourself and allow the “real” you to shine through in your speech.
The next time you must make a speech, take a deep breath and slowly let it out before you begin. Try to avoid thinking about the size of the room, and how many people must be there. Instead, choose a few people to make eye contact with and talk to them as though you are having a conversation with a friend.
Whether it’s to break the ice or illustrate a point, stop being afraid of revealing yourself to your audience. It’s okay to be vulnerable and share your personal, authentic stories in your speeches.
When crafting your story, focus on sharing those human-interest elements common to all of us to help you create bonds with your listeners.
Be honest and genuine and share your flaws. Talk about how you overcame obstacles or mistakes to capture the interest of your audience and gain their trust. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself!
Don’t Make It All About You – Share the Limelight!
When you share your story with others, keep in mind that you don’t have to talk solely about yourself. One way to tell others about yourself, and how far you have come, is to talk about others. Place the focus on the people who have helped you along the way.
Telling your story through the lens of how someone else made you a better leader offers depth to your personal story. It’s a detail many others will identify with which will help you establish your rapport with your audience. It also helps you avoid sounding self-centered.
Periodically Take the Temperature in the Room
When you’re giving a speech it’s easy to get so caught up in the process of telling your story that you forget about your audience. To ensure you have your audience’s full attention, and your speech is making the impact you want, take the time to periodically scan the room and look for signs of how your speech is affecting your listeners.
Make certain that you really do have the full attention of your audience while you are speaking. Are the members of your audience making eye contact with you and returning your gaze? Is everyone sitting up in their seat, or, have some begun to nod off based on their posture?
If your message seems to be lacking, you may need to shorten it, change up the details or alter your delivery so that it has the desired effect. There may even be times when your story might unexpectedly be inappropriate for a specific audience because of something unexpected suddenly happening. Have a few backup stories ready to throw into the mix so that you can recover the interest of your listeners if this happens.
Just like any other skill, becoming a great public speaker takes a lot of practice. Executive coaching is a great way to get the guidance that you need to hone your communications and other abilities, so why not get in touch today to learn more about how to boost your leadership skills and take your career to the next level?