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How to be impactful speaker

7th December 2023 | 6 Views

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We all need to do public speaking at some point of our lives- whether it be presentations before our team or deliver lectures on some occasion or simply pitch for a cause we care for. Ability to be able to speak effectively before a group of people is one of the most coveted skills in the world, and it certainly helps you stand out and create impact. However it also happens to be a task which creates most nervousness- in fact i read somewhere that the anxiety created when one is asked to do public speaking is even more than what is experienced by a piolet in take off of an aero plane!

So what does it take to be an effortless mesmerizing speaker? If i had to put it in a single word i would say- a regulation of your energy state. In any good public speaking, there are many components- the presenter’s confidence and presentability, the content, the delivery style and but most crucial is the speaker’s mental state and energy level throughout the speech. Let me elaborate on each of these factors.

Lets first talk about the peripheral , collaborative factors first. In any public speaking, since all eyes are on the presenter, the presenter’s  presentability becomes important. It is said that people make up their mind how seriously they want to take the speaker  merely by looking at him or  her. The dress up, the posture , and the body language, eye contact- how one moves in the space available, all matters and must be well planned and rehearsed.  The dress up , obviously needs to be as per the occasion and gathering, while also ensuring that one is completely comfortable. The posture needs to be be confident and celebrating one’s physical being. The body language is the subtlest form of communication and communicates even when we are silent, and directly addresses the subconscious of the audience. If your body language is at ease, confident, open and friendly, audience would be able to immediately connect. The eye contact is the most powerful of all the body language tools- a mature and confident eye contact can make the listener trust you. And off course , remember the power of smiling. A smile can immediately  make friends and change the energy of the room(off course if the occasion is sad and somber, one has to regulate that smile). Taking care of these factors also makes a huge contribution to the confidence level of the speaker , which is the core aspect in success of the lecture.

Next in importance is the content. A good presentation has a clear objective to achieve, around which the presentation is built. A power point presentation may be used to assist you in holding the attention of the audience , remembering the structure, and demonstrating some visuals or figures. However, one must take care never to read from the slides even if you are speaking for the first time on the topic and you have content on the slide to guide you to speak. The audience resent the bored energy of reading from the slide, and quickly lose respect for the speaker, so make sure you rehearse the slides and only need to take the prompt from them, never read from them. Another thing about slides is- make them as simple as possible. This holds the attention of the audience while serving as a aide to your presentation, at the same time not being a distraction from your speech. Your skill at power point has nothing to do with the impact of your message.

The most important aspect in any public speaking is the energy and confidence of the speaker from start to finish. Its mainly the energy you have to regulate and ensure it is high consistently, only then can the audience stay engaged. No matter what happens on stage, your energy must be in a positive high state with ease. To maintain that high energy and state of ease, both physical and mental aspects are involved. Physically, one must be well hydrated , have low fat high energy food , and be  well rested the previous night as well as exercised in the morning to awaken one’s best physical state. Mentally, one must have the understanding and resolve that one has to be the life of the party till the end. The mental attitude should be of being of service to the audience. Even before one enters the stage, one must get into the role of the influencer one is going to be. One has to deploy techniques of rousing oneself into a high energy state. Some speakers literally test the quality of their energy by doing a happy dance in front of the mirror before going on the stage- if they are not able to do that 2 minute  happy dance, they know they need to rouse their energy just as the old war lords did. We are capable to uplifting our energy – each person has his own unique ways- it could be by watching your favorite motivational speaker, it could be by listening to a motivating religious text like gita, or it could be some positive self talk. Whatever way you do it, make sure you rouse that energy into a positive high state.

Even while being high on energy, the best speakers speak easily and effortlessly. The energy throughout the lecture should be serene and one shouldn’t appear dissipated in the process of delivering the lecture. Its pace should be calm so that the content is understandable. The tone and pitch must be varied to emphasize points and to arouse curiosity of the listener. Most importantly, one must remember to engage the audience after every 15 minutes of speaking by asking questions, narrating a joke, or call for an action on part of the audience( like raising their hands etc). A good speech has some anecdotes, some memorable examples, something to make one inspired or something funny to make the audience laugh. Most importantly, a good speaker comes around as a good person,  for it is the natural leader we are hereditarily designed to listen to. If you come across as genuine person with a clear intention of what you have to say, audience are bound to give you their attention.

Humans are hardwired across centuries to look up with awe and respect to anyone speaking with confidence on a public forum. All you have to ensure in public speaking is to hold up true to that honour and speak with the most positive energy you can muster and present most authentically and lucidly , and know what  you have to convey  & how you are going to say it. Preparation is the key. It is said that one must prepare diligently for at least a week on any new topic one has to speak on.

If one takes care of the above factors, one can definitely create a occasion of impact. Public speaking is a powerful art and with practice we all can learn to master it.

Shveta Sharma

@NavinBharat

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