Whether you believe that public speakers are born, or whether you relate more to the notion that they are made, there is always room for improvement especially when it comes to closing important deals in the business world, and therefore it is a must for business leaders to excel in public speaking.
Fear of public speaking is not so much related to the quality of a speech as it is to how the speaker feels, thinks, or acts when faced with speaking in public. Here are five tips to help business leaders appear and feel more confident.
Remember that fear is a negative emotion, whereas excitement is a positive one. Whenever you have a speech prepared, try to focus on realities rather than intangible fears, for example, rather than focusing on the notions of “What if I forget?”, turn the angle of your thought towards the idea that you have practised your speech many times.
People better relate to stories rather than speeches. This is being taken on board quite seriously in the business world, starting from marketing strategies to business plans. Everything is storified, which is how your speech should be approached. When you turn a proposal, that could potentially be quite long, into a story, you are automatically giving it logic and a timeline, hence making it easier for you to remember.
One of the main challenges of public speaking is to look and engage with your audience, without getting too distracted by it. An effective approach is to look at an imaginary point behind your audience’s heads. From a distance, this would make you appear as if you are looking at them (hence making you appear much more confident), without allowing you to get distracted by too much eye contact.
Some of the worst public speeches or presentations are those in which the speaker speaks in monotone. It is vital that you vary your tone of voice, without making it sound fake. One rule of thumb is to remember that if you are getting bored delivering your speech, your audience must be crying on the inside!
Before giving your speech, make sure that you have plenty of time to practise, and when practising, make sure that you have an audience and that you speak out loud. There is a big difference between delivering a speech in your head, and actually delivering it in front of an audience. In order to train, it is advisable to do so in front of a mirror, or to record yourself on camera and then watch the video afterwards to find out what needs to be improved.
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