“Do you mean public speaking?” Yes and no. Speaking publicly is not limited to formal presentations, but includes every day conversations with friends, significant others, professors, coworkers… you get the idea. my entire life i’ve done nothing but talk and in doing so, i’ve learned a thing or two about communicating effectively and confidently. here are my tips to rock any form of speaking in public.
> Remember to breathe. When giving speeches, it can become easy to focus solely on spitting out all of the information your audience needs to know as fast as you can. However, while doing that, it’s quite distracting and dramatic to take a huge, loud gasp for air because you forgot to breathe in the middle of your sentence. Outside of a formal public speaking engagement, the same phenomenon can happen when you’re really excited/upset/confused/other emotion while talking to a friend, family member, significant other, etc. While it’s almost impossible to separate emotion from conversation, making a conscious effort to take more breaths while talking will not only slow down the pace at which you are speaking, but also help you better process how you’re feeling during the conversation. (Not to mention it’s also INCREDIBLY easier to understand what someone is saying if they are speaking at a comfortable pace.)
(More on the blog: Book Review: Thresholds by Sherre Hirsh)
> Actively listen. What does listening have to do with talking? Everything. Conversations happen between (at least) two people. How are you supposed to know what you’re talking about with that person/those people if you don’t listen? To actively listen is to nod, give small feedback (“okay,” “oh my,” etc.), and ask questions – basically be attentive throughout the entire conversation.
> Mentally rehearse. Like the best public speakers do before they give a speech, rehearse what you have to say – especially before conversations that you anticipate being stressful and/or confrontational. Doing so can help you iron out what you want to say to the other person and, perhaps most importantly, how you want to say it. The execution of a confrontational initiation (the exact words you use when initiating confrontation) is imperative to how the other person will interpret the magnitude of the situation. This “rehearsal” doesn’t have to take the form of you standing in front of your mirror talking to yourself – talk to yourself inside your head. Not only is this a lot less weird-feeling, but it’s a lot faster to be able to quickly edit your words before they come out of your mouth. Remember: once words come out of your mouth, nothing you can say will take them back.
(More on the blog: What I Learned in October)
How do you gain confidence speaking in public?