The relationship between listener and speaker can apply to any sort of communication – one-on-one chat, phone call, meeting, or sales presentation.
Mere talking is a world away from communicating effectively in sharing ideas and thoughts, conveying emotions, and offering persuasive arguments. Our communication skills differ for a number of reasons, including our childhood exposure as people interacted around us. Yet, regardless of circumstances, anyone can learn effective communication skills. I often train corporate clients to help them liven up their presentations and become more comfortable with public speaking. Here are four secrets I can share about communicating more confidently and competently.
1. People react positively to interesting people
People crave beneficial information, and they want to listen to interesting people. When it comes to speakers, audiences definitely want someone to engage and inspire them. The people in your audience have taken time out of their day to listen to you – they don’t want you to experience failure; they are on your side and they want you to succeed in your endeavor. Knowing your audience supports you should boost confidence and further inspire you to speak your best.
2. Fear and excitement share a space
Amateur speakers are not the only ones who feel in knots before a performance. Many a seasoned actor – as well as other types of performers – admit to having stage fright. Do you wonder how you can cope with performance anxiety?
One important fact to remember about anxiety is that, despite its physical manifestations (even painful sensations), this feeling is a product of the mind – not the body. You have the power within you to control these anxious feelings. Breathing from the diaphragm is one of the major ways in which to redirect our nervous energy for a positive outcome. Also, our posture, eye contact, and getting present with our audience will help mitigate the anxiety. Even such a simple relaxation exercise as counting out 1… 2… 3 breaths can help you talk down anxious feelings.
3. Confidence has value
Confidence is one of the necessary components for becoming a better public speaker. It is also one of the best side effects of achieving that success. When learning how to improve speaking skills, fair and constructive criticism can aid your progress. Yes, we all speak every day. Yet the question is – do we communicate well each day?
Needing help in this area is not a sign of weakness; seeking help throughout the process will have a definite positive impact on your success. And, when you learn how to become a better public speaker, you gain the satisfaction of accomplishing a milestone and the proficiency to put it into practice.
4. Rehearsal matters
Great performances do not just happen – they come about through effort and practice. Recently, an acquaintance of mine asked a musician who played the accordion how his fingers could move so quickly over the keys. The answer: 38 years of practice. Therein lies the secret to a great performance. Practice as much as you can before a public speaking engagement. You will tremendously increase the odds of delivering a successful presentation.
Rehearsal time is the period to work out the kinks – not in front of the audience during a performance. Practice diligently and you will be more familiar with your material. That, in turn, translates to the audience. Ask for feedback from a trusted source – or videotape your rehearsal. Rehearse out loud. It is difficult to see the intricacies of content through silent reading, and rehearsing out loud allows you to find a need for a transitional thought to aid the flow, locate redundancies to cut, or shorten sentences if you need more breath.
A prepared performer is a competent player who can handle any situation. Productive rehearsal periods generate extra confidence, which results in a win for both the performer and the audience.