There is no doubt that public speaking is a battle, a battle often lost because the speaker is trying to be something or someone he is not. What is interesting about public speaking is that you stand a much better chance of winning the battle if you would stop trying to impress your audience. Instead, you should express to your audience.
Good public speakers talk to their audience, not at them. They treat their audience just as if they were having a conversation in their living room. For some, however, that is the battle. Being able to acknowledge your entire audience is one of the secrets of good public speaking. I have heard some ‘professional’ speakers advising their clients to find a focal point in the room and address their talk to that particular spot. I could not disagree more.
If you focus on only one thing or even just one person in the room, you are not acknowledging your audience: you are also not talking to them. And, after a brief amount of time, they will be fully aware of your discomfort, your nervousness, your angst.
Your objective should not be to impress your audience with your words, your delivery, your personality or whatever. Your objective should be to speak from your heart as well as your head. In doing so, you will be expressing yourself.
Public speaking is the art of communicating with your audience. The important word in that statement is with. Their reaction to you is the two-way part of the conversation. They could be nodding their heads in agreement, or shaking their heads in disagreement. They might be laughing, smiling or frowning. Even the movement of their bodies is part of that communication. If you have their rapt attention, then there will be very little movement on their part because you have them on the edge of their seats. If, on the other hand, they are restless, fidgeting, checking their iPods, or even talking amongst themselves, then you have an audience that is bored.
Impressive public speaking results from expressive public speaking which can only be achieved when you:
1. know your material;
2. make eye contact with those throughout your audience;
3. speak with color, with life, with emotion;
4. believe in yourself; and, most importantly,
5. breathe throughout your entire delivery thereby controlling your nerves, your voice, your breathlessness, and your words.
If you can accomplish the above 5 steps, you will be expressing yourself. And that is what impresses an audience.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, visit Voice Dynamic or watch a brief video as The Voice Lady describes The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speaking.
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