In every culture on land as language developed, so did stories, tales, poems, art and communication. Give it a thought! Every inch of progress in human civilization has happened because humans came up with an idea, gave soul to the idea using syllables and sentences, mouthed the words and eventually collaborated with other individuals to weave those ideas into reality.
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From invention of the wheel to landing on moon, everything is an aftermath of shared collective conscience which was made possible by speaking.
Oratory skills never lose relevance in any given scenario. From storytellers to politicians, there is one common tool they possess to stir emotions, brim you with pride, induce temperament, upheave your breath and gently take it away – the art of public speaking. All grace to the internet, now a single dialogue can be amplified to millions of netizens.
Just like the printing press massively gifted powers to authors, the internet does it to the speakers. It is no secret that it becomes ten times more easier to fetch a job if you can articulate your ideas precisely. Most of the jobs demand confident employees who can command and lead a team with the strong words and clear presentations. If anything, it makes oratory a need of the hour.
Now there are many people who reek of confidence and giving a speech is as easy as a pie for them. But a huge part of the crowd lets go of many promising options because it requires them to say a word in a room full of people. The drop of sweat sliding off their temples only indicate nervousness, fright and lack of preparation.
Dr. Sian Beilock, a psychology professor at University of Chicago, believes- “Anticipations of an event, and specifically anticipation of others judging you, is enough to put pressure on before you have even arrived at the performance stage.”
Here are five ways to ace Public Speaking:
1. Heuristic and Systematic Processing of Information
Any individual brain tries to process information in two ways, heuristic and systematic mode. While heuristic processing is more of an automatic way of interpretation, systematic processing involves multiple attempts to give attention to every nuance, intense reasoning and get a thorough understanding of the concept. Heuristic processing is more effective as it doesn’t require to pay undivided attention. Hence, the audience tends to engage heuristically unless the information is necessary or interesting.
To increase your engagement with the spectators, make your content full of facts, data and statistics. It will make your bit spellbinding.
2. Watch your Tongue
Care to think before you speak. As a professional orator, try to stick to the discipline of your expertise. Try not to bring up any controversial topic. Make sure you label your words as an opinion of your own. Branding them as public opinion will always attract a person in the room who would beg to differ at all costs. If such a situation arises, handle it in a calm and composed way. As a speaker, it becomes your responsibility to maintain the decorum. Remember that you have to be polite and subtle in case of a disagreement.
3. Read the Room
Prepare for your speech beforehand. Research about the topic you wish to speak on. Practice makes perfect. Procure every useful information and practice your delivery. Be wise while choosing content. It would make a huge change if you understand the target audience. It will help you to choose what not to include in your speech. It will also help you to decide the level of language to be used. For example – if the audience consists of children below ten years of age, you will need to dial down the complexity of the language. Similarly, if the audience consists of elderly, it would be difficult for them to understand references from today’s media. Keep the content light for them and learn what would make it interesting for them. It will be one step closer towards inclusion.
4. If you are Funny, you won a Jackpot
Nothing beats a person with a good sense of humour. If you possess the ability, make sure to include them in your discourse. It keeps the environment cool and breezy. Add jokes, cool wordplay, some catchy punchlines and you can see the magic for yourself. With jokes, timing and delivery is everything. Limit the boundaries of jokes, don’t go as far as making fun of someone. Always remember your jokes are supposed to be tummy tickling not offensive.
5. Make Eye Contact
You might have heard it a hundred times before and it would not be wrong to say that you’ve to ace making eye contacts for the right amount of time. It doesn’t mean you’ve to mindlessly stare into someone’s eyes, No! Just make sure your eyes interact with the people you are speaking to. Confidence is the key. If you don’t look at your audience while speaking, it would only make you sound rusty and mechanical. No one likes hearing a robot speak unless it’s Siri.
Remember that getting nervous and anxious before a speech or in front a group is only human. Don’t be harsh on yourself! Instead let it make you practice for good. Famous personalities like singers Rhianna and Adele also face stage fright just like the rest of us. But if they can get over it and rock a concert, so can you!