Photo by Tim Napier on Unsplash
Google “most common fears” and it is likely that public speaking will rank pretty high on the list. But fear aside, public speaking is an important skill to pick up for a working adult. From speaking up at meetings to presentations at management meetings or townhalls, being an effective speaker allows us to explain our work, influence decisions and motivate change!
SingHealth Toastmasters Club President and SGH Nurse Clinician, Ye Lizhen, shares with us five tips to get you speaking confidently in no time.
1. Be organised
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Research the topic thoroughly, organise your thoughts and deliver a speech with key messages that the audience can ‘take home’. Ensure that your content is accurate and up to date. Always draft what you want to say beforehand but don’t memorise it word for word as this will create anxiety during the delivery.
2. Get to the point
Most instances of public speaking aim to do one of three things – to inform, to persuade or to commemorate. Ensure that your key messages meet your overall purpose. Think about the flow of what you want to say and arrange them such that they help with your audience’s retention and clarity.
3. Engage your audience
Holding your audience’s attention is crucial and there are many ways you can do so – personal stories, questions, humour or the use of visual aids. Allowing your charisma to shine through will help increase engagement with the audience too.
4. Pace yourself
It is tempting to speak quickly so as to get your speech or presentation over with but doing so may cause shortness of breath and you may experience a bout of panic attack. Calm yourself by taking deep breaths. Speak slowly and don’t be afraid of mistakes. It’s likely that the audience did not notice and it’s important to quickly move on and capture their attention about your next point.
5. Practise, practise and more practise!
Practising in front of the mirror or your family and friends helps, as being familiar with what you want to communicate will give you that extra confidence boost. Or you can record yourself with your mobile phone and look out for where you can improve. Another great way to find success is to visualise yourself speaking. Imagine making the valid points with appropriate gestures that will emotionally connect with the audience.
If you are keen to ace your presentations or to overcome your fear of public speaking, join the SingHealth Toastmaster Club! Formed in 2004, the club has over 20 members, who come together every second Monday of the month to hone their public speaking skills. Contact Lizhen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!