Public speaking scares some people to death. For others, it is scarier than death. Three-quarters of the population suffer from a fear of public speaking.
One reason why this fear is so prominent is that communication skills are not well-known. Many people assume that effective communication requires advanced training. That is far from the case.
How should you listen, and how does listening help you be a better speaker? What are some nonverbal communication tips you can follow? How should you organize your thoughts while you are speaking?
Answer these questions and you can master how to speak well in little time. Here is your quick guide.
Communication tips apply even when you are not speaking. Listening will allow you to learn other people’s perspectives and integrate their information into your speech.
It also creates a transactional effect. After you have listened to someone else, they feel the need to listen to you.
Take note of the tone and inflection of a person’s voice. This will clue you into their emotions and what they want out of your conversation.
You should pay attention to what the other person is saying. Many people listen with biased intent, cherry-picking the details that appeal to them. You should try to listen to the big picture while finding small details that help you get a sense of what the other person wants.
You should then listen with sympathy. Let the person get out their emotions. When you speak, offer therapeutic comments that help you understand the person’s point of view.
Empathy is one crucial aspect of emotional intelligence. If someone is feeling sad, you should try to understand their feeling and offer support.
But this does not mean that you should disregard your own emotions. Whenever you are communicating with someone else, you should express what you are feeling.
You do not have to be extreme about it, raising your voice or bursting into tears. But use precise diction to say what is on your mind. “I am feeling distressed” is better than “I am feeling upset” because being upset can mean a lot of things.
Pick the right time to express your emotions. It may not be appropriate to say your feelings toward the beginning of your speech. You may want to wait to reveal a little of your vulnerability.
Comforting someone does not have to mean being humorless. A great skill of emotional intelligence is finding a good time for humor.
Pick a moment where a joke will come across as satisfying or appropriate. Being funny toward the beginning of a speech is a good way of breaking the ice.
It is important to seem confident while you are talking. But it is also important to acknowledge your mistakes or lack of knowledge.
A good way of remaining confident while recognizing your mistakes is to ask questions. This lets you gain the information you need to overcome your deficit. It also lets another person speak about something they know, which builds trust between the two of you.
If you don’t know the answer to something, acknowledge you don’t know it. Explain why you don’t know it, and give a solution to how you will learn more. This leaves your audience with a more positive impression of yourself.
Nonverbal communication may be just as important as the words you say. Use your eyes to reflect something about yourself.
Whenever someone else is speaking, make eye contact with them. This cues the person in that you are listening to them.
If you are speaking in front of a crowd, you should try making eye contact with the audience. You should not stare into a person’s eyes for a few seconds. Scan across a room look in the general direction of people.
You should stand while you are speaking. Your neck and back should be straight, though you can bend down to pick something off the floor.
Try to use hand gestures when you need to make a particular point. Hold your hands out with palms facing forward when you talk about a group. Count off with your fingers when you are making a list.
When in doubt, use fewer words. Put your verbs in the active voice instead of the passive voice. Try using the present tense instead of past tenses.
Adverbs can be useful under certain circumstances. But nouns and verbs are integral to your sentence structures, and you can use them to add subtle details to your speech. Try to study new nouns and verbs and mix them into your material.
Practice conversations and speeches so you can remove speech fillers like “like” and “um.” These make your speech longer and they make you seem unprepared. Visit a communication coach and find out more ways you can reduce the length of your speech.
It can be hard for an audience to digest a lot of information at once. Giving your audience a narrative to focus on will help them process your material.
Think of a theme you can hit on in your speech. Then describe that theme while removing all extraneous details.
It may be helpful to tell some small anecdotes to flesh out your theme. Make sure your anecdotes have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Tell your audience what the meanings of your stories are.
The Communication Skills You Should Know
Communication skills are simple yet profound. When you are conversing with others, you must listen to them. Figure out the big picture and remain as sympathetic as possible.
Hone in on your emotional intelligence. Use humor and humility whenever appropriate. Nonverbal cues like counting off with your fingers make you seem confident and attentive.
As you speak, use as few words as possible and avoid speech fillers. Organize your speech with a broad narrative and use anecdotes to flesh it out.
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