Actions speak louder than words, they say. And while that is true, it doesn’t mean the words themselves don’t hold any power. The way a person speaks says a lot about their character. So if you’re trying to sharpen your own speech, here are 5 tips to help you speak well.
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Many people, even those who usually speak well, tend to talk much faster than usual when they’re nervous. It is understandable. You have a lot to say and you want it over and done with as soon as you can. However, put yourself in the shoes of your audience. You need to give them time to comprehend what you have to say. A good rule of thumb is to speak at a pace where people listening could write down what you have to say if they wanted to. That might not be the actual situation but it is good to note when practising how you should pace yourself.
Don’t forget to breathe
Going in-line with pacing yourself, remembering to breathe is also important when trying to speak coherently. Taking full, deep breaths will help maintain the pitch of your voice and ensure you aren’t talking too fast. Breathing at a proper pace will also prevent you from feeling anxious and thus maintain your sense of confidence.
Make eye contact
When you speak to your audience, it is important to remember that you aren’t just speaking to them; you’re speaking with them. Try to look at each person you’re talking to when speaking to a group. Spend some time maintaining eye contact with one person and then move on to the next. Don’t shift your gaze too much or you’ll end up looking anxious. Instead, give each person you look at one sentence or idea from you without shifting your eyes. When you proceed to a new idea, look at another person in the group. It will help your audience connect better with what you’re trying to say and keep them listening.
Ignore signs that people might not agree with you
In most cases, you shouldn’t ignore your critics. If someone looks like they disagree with you, take the time to understand why that is. However, in the midst of you saying something important, paying attention to someone furrowing their brows or displeased faces is only going to make you more unsure of yourself. Try your best to acknowledge those who seem to be accepting your ideas positively. Ignore those who disagree with you for now and work on getting their insights once you’ve composed yourself.
Don’t try to be someone else
Being yourself in any situation is always a good idea. When giving an important talk or speech, trying to sound smart by using big words or faking an accent will not help promote your authenticity. If you focus too much on how you sound, you’re also wasting time on something less important than the actual content of your speech. Communicate with your audience in your own individual style. It will build their trust and help you develop your own personal mode of communication.
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