- Posted on:
- March 12, 2015
Public Speaking is one of the top fears in the United States. While it is scary for most Americans, the skills are essential to develop. As a healthcare professional, you may find yourself presenting in front of a large audience, however it is a virtual certainty you will need to effectively communicate with fellow colleagues, management, or patients. Speaking techniques used to address a large audience can be adapted to effectively communicate with a smaller audience. Here are eight tips on improving your next speech in front of any group size:
- Know your subject – No one wants to speak about an unfamiliar topic. By researching your topic in detail, you will be more prepared to give an effective presentation. As a direct result of your research, you will find yourself delivering the speech more confidently and comfortably.
- Know your environment – You should know your audience when speaking. Knowing beforehand the demographics of your audience will help you to tailor and deliver a stronger speech. Before presenting it is important keep in mind the stage set up. It is essential to know whether you will be speaking behind a podium to hundreds of people or in a conference room setting giving you the opportunity to deliver your speech while walking around the room. It is goes without saying you must dress for the occasion. You can make your speech more effective by paying attention to detail.
- Visualize – Always picture yourself giving a great speech with the audience cheering for your success. Studies have shown that by visualizing, you psychologically create neural patterns in your brain. You know what they say, if you can dream it, you can do it!
- Practice – Practice makes perfect! The more you practice, the more confident you will be when delivering your speech and the more natural you will sound when speaking in front of a group of people.
- Relax – It’s ok to get nervous before a speech but that should not hinder you from delivering a great speech. Let go of the fact that you will not be able to deliver a perfect speech. Doing your best in the moment will relieve the unnecessary anxiety associated with trying to deliver the perfect speech. Even professional speakers make mistakes. Most of the time, your audience is unlikely to know if you make changes during a speech or partially mess up. After all, the audience is unaware of the content you planned to present. As long as you take some deep breaths and practice your speech, you will be fine.
- Never apologize – There are times you make mistakes during your speech and it okay. Occasionally a speaker begins her speech apologetically by saying her voice is gone or they are sick. Although the candor can be laudable it can sound as an excuse to the audience for a poor performance and loss of credibility.
- Show confidence through your voice and body language – The words you say during a speech is a small percentage of how strong your speech is going to be. Professor Albert Mehrabian who is a pioneer researcher in the 1950’s said verbal takes up 7%, vocal takes up 38%, and non-verbal takes up 55% of the message of the speech. Make sure to have vocal variety when speaking andprojectyour voice for the audience to appreciate your message. Keep your hands out of your pocket and have hand gestures to convey your message. Maintain an upright body stance unless you are giving a speech requiring you to slouch or sit.
- Keep the audience engaged – It can be challenging to keep the audience’s attention. Start off with something catchy and end strong. Make sure to maintain constant eye contact with everyone to ensure an engaging speech. Depending on your speech topic, try to include visuals, stories, humor, and a deep message. A classroom setting speech requires the presenter to walk the room to engage the audience. If you are giving a speech on stage without a podium a trick to charming the audience is to use the entire space. Walking from side of the stage to other achieves this goal.
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