When mastering public speaking, you need to pay special attention to the first few seconds of your presentation:
Get Attention – smile
For maximum effect and to ensure you have the attention of your audience, when you stand up to speak,
1) take just one or two seconds to look around your audience,
2) make sure your facial expression is relaxed – SMILE!
Then your first words will fall on an audience anticipating something rather than on an audience that gradually stops what it’s doing as it becomes aware of the fact you have started speaking.
Here are some introduction ideas which will help in mastering public speaking skills:
- Relate a human interest story
- Use an illustration or anecdote
- Use a visual aid
- Ask a question
- Use a striking quotation
- Start with shocking facts (be sure they are credible and from a trusted authority)
Use Similes And Metaphors
Enrich your presentation by using similes and metaphors. By just comparing two things, the subject under discussion with something that has one or more factors in common, will help you audience grasp the meaning.
Metaphors go even further by speaking as though one thing actually was another. e.g. “All the world’s a stage.”
When thinking of illustrations or examples to include in your material, try and draw from subjects that are familiar to your audience.
If you are making a presentation before work colleagues for example, try and think of an illustration from your workplace or to do with the industry you are associated with.
Likewise, before larger audiences, illustrations relating to the town or city, or history of the area in which you are speaking will find fascinated listeners.
They will immediately feel a rapport with you as you obviously have taken a personal interest in them and their background.
The last two suggestions relate to voice and microphone use. Mastering public speaking means you speak in a way that captures interest. Additionally, you also need to make sure your voice is heard at all times:
Tone And Pitch
Vary the tone and pitch of your voice and you will be interesting to listen to.
A musical instrument playing one note soon becomes an irritation. A speaker with a monotone voice can have the same effect. So learn to:
- Express excitement or enthusiasm with a higher pitch.
- Raise the pitch of your voice at the end of a question.
- When you want to appeal to the sympathy and understanding of your audience use a lower, softer tone.
- The human voice has an amazing range. Learn to explore the highs and lows of your own voice in daily conversation and then employ this range when you speak before an audience.
Microphone Use – handbreadth
If you move your head remember to stop speaking until your mouth is directly in front of the microphone again. And of course, avoid sneezing or coughing into the microphone. Remember to turn your head.
Additionally, when using a microphone, make sure it is positioned about 4 to 6 inches from your mouth to avoid voice distortion.
Mastering public speaking takes time, and much practice. Keeping the above six advice notes in mind will do much to aid your progress.