Tips for Better Speaking Skills

I found the following on Virgin.com by By Simon de Cintra 

1. Breathe and believe

Self-confidence really is key to speaking as clearly as you think – there are people in business that others listen to intently, buy into their ideas and act upon them. We all want to be one of those people. If you feel like you are not getting that reaction when you speak, or that you do not have anything to say worth listening to, then you are likely to be suffering from a lack of self-belief. How can you expect anyone to listen to you and take in your ideas if you don’t buy into them yourself? Self-belief in your own potential is what sets you apart from colleagues, so next time you are starting to feel the panic rising, practice some deep breathing. Take a moment to re-focus on all the skills and experience you have and show your team exactly why you are worth listening to.

2. Get used to ‘being present’ in your space

Are you having sleepless nights due to a big presentation coming up? Forget all of the other tips and tricks you might hear, the number one most effective way to beat public speaking anxiety is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Everything else comes secondary to this. It’s absolutely vital to get used to the space you will be giving the presentation in BEFORE it is time to speak. Get to the venue early, find three or four distinct places, including the stage, at each take a deep diaphragmatic breath (in and out!) and make yourself physically big by stretching your arms and legs. This ten-second ‘timeout’ will slow down your heart rate, refuel your voice and switch your consciousness back on. It works because it resets your breathing and calms everything else down.

3. Follow the ‘voice’ methodology

Here is the good news: I have developed a process you can follow to help you feel more confident in delivering your message, whether it is in presentations, meetings or more commonly nowadays via online voice and video conferencing. My simple five-step VOICE process reveals a practical and simple approach to achieving sounding as good as you think, whether it is a one-to-one conversation or speaking to hundreds at an industry conference.

  • Vocation: it is important to prioritize in your mind, that being understood by others is actually more important than being an expert in your own head. Adapting to this mindset will mean you are much more likely to invest time and effort in the process improving your communication skills.
  • Observe: we learn almost everything we know through observation and effective communication is no different. There is no need to research communication excessively as we learn most easily from watching others at work. Taking the time to observe others and establishing what is effective and what does not work for them could aid your communication skills significantly.              
  • Intention: words cannot drive your message on their own. To increase the chances of conveying your desired message, deliberate choices have to be made about the effect you have on others when you speak, think of what you want to achieve and the tone required as well as your wording before taking the plunge.
  • Casting: adapt your style not your personality – you communicate most effectively as your authentic ‘best self’. Add skills and techniques to make this version of you more compelling to others such as utilising authentic eye contact or daring to smile.   
  • Experiment: finding an effective communication style is trial and error. Have the courage to get things wrong, reflect, improve and move on.                     

Stop self-sabotaging yourself. A positive mindset and following these three tips will ensure you unlock your business voice and will guarantee you sound as good as you think!


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