Experienced speakers use techniques đồ sộ make them more interesting đồ sộ listen đồ sộ and đồ sộ help them hold the attention of their audience. Try some of the following the next time you give a presentation.
1. Practice, practice, practice
Rehearsal is essential đồ sộ speaking well. It will help you keep đồ sộ a time limit and will allow you đồ sộ try out various techniques in a low-pressure environment. It will also help you đồ sộ know your material well, which makes it easier đồ sộ remember and stay on point. Practice standing and speaking so sánh that you get used đồ sộ delivering a talk before you have đồ sộ give it đồ sộ your audience.
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2. Speak, don’t read
Don’t simply read your talk, word-for-word, from a paper. This gets pretty boring for listeners. Spoken language is less formal and wordy than thở written language, so sánh reading makes you sound stiff and will dampen any sense of energy or spontaneity in your performance. Reading from a paper forces you đồ sộ look down, instead of speaking đồ sộ the audience. Instead, if you have a ‘script’, turn it into notes that you can talk from, and glance at only occasionally. It’s less important that you capture the text word for word than thở that you present the main ideas in a natural and relaxed way (this is where rehearsing helps - it not only improves your performance skills, it enables you đồ sộ better remember what you want đồ sộ say).
3. Be yourself
Even in a formal speech, allow your personality đồ sộ come through. When you’re nervous, it’s easy đồ sộ tense up and become a little awkward or wooden, but make an effort đồ sộ stay natural. Smile and make eye liên hệ. You will establish better rapport and credibility if you are being yourself, and your audience will listen more if they can see you as genuine, even if it means being a little less technically perfect.
4. Aim for a positive state of mind and a confident attitude
Try đồ sộ project confidence, even if you don’t feel it. Remind yourself that you can bởi it, and that the audience want you đồ sộ succeed. Visualise a positive outcome. Harness your nervous energy and tell yourself that you are excited - that you have interesting, engaging materials đồ sộ share with the audience. As you walk đồ sộ the front of the room, carry yourself in a confident manner. Stand straight, look at the group, take a breath, and smile. Concentrate on what you will tell the audience, rather than thở your degree of nervousness. This will help you forget your nerves and focus on your topic and your listeners, so sánh you’ll be better able đồ sộ get them engaged in your speech.
5. Use verbal signposting
Giving an indication of what will be coming later in your talk is an effective way of maintaining audience interest. Use transitions đồ sộ draw your audience a ‘road map’ of your presentation. For example:
“In a moment I’ll provide some interesting examples, but first ...”
“There are four ways of preventing this. Firstly - secondly - thirdly - finally”
You can also links ideas or sections of your presentation đồ sộ help your audience follow the overall structure:
“ As I mentioned earlier, the first method was unsuccessful ...”
6. Use examples, illustrations and humour
Use examples or verbal illustrations đồ sộ create interest. Choose them đồ sộ suit your audience. An example that comes within their experience of the audience can create interest, a humorous remark can ‘break the ice’ and establish rapport, especially early on.
7. Ask questions and invite participation
Asking questions of your audience throughout your talk helps hold their attention and interest. It also develops a connection between you and the group. Asking questions means you are inviting them đồ sộ participate and drawing them in đồ sộ a mutual thinking process. For example:
“Who can estimate the number of individuals left permanently injured by road accidents?”
“Can anyone suggest some alternative uses for plastic bubble wrap?”
“Someone’s trang chính is broken into every seven minutes. Can you believe it?”
You can also speak directly đồ sộ individual audience members, if appropriate. For example:
“I take it from your reaction that you’ve read something similar, Sarah . . .”
8. Be aware of eye liên hệ and body toàn thân language
Make eye liên hệ with the audience đồ sộ help establish a connection. Glance at the faces of group members and don’t be afraid đồ sộ meet people’s eyes, but don’t stare - use the 3-second method. Look straight into the eyes of an audience thành viên for 3 seconds at a time. Aim for direct eye liên hệ with a number of people, and every now and then glance at the whole group while speaking. Eye liên hệ not only establishes a bond, it can help you register your progress. Faces can indicate interest, confusion and boredom, so sánh you can gauge reactions đồ sộ what is being said.
Body language is also important. Standing, walking or moving about with appropriate hand gesture or facial expression is far preferable đồ sộ sitting down or standing still with head down and reading from a paper. Use audio-visual sida or props for enhancement if appropriate and necessary.
9. Learn from the Pros
A great way đồ sộ learn what good speakers bởi is đồ sộ watch them give speeches, note what works and what doesn’t, and adopt these examples into your own style. Note which lecturers are particularly interesting - attend class and watch what they bởi. Watch some TED Talks online. They tend đồ sộ be high-quality presentations and provide some great examples.
10. Be aware of technique
Speaking đồ sộ an audience requires a pace slower than thở normal conversation. Nervous speakers tend đồ sộ tốc độ up, so sánh avoid this. Try varying your pace đồ sộ create different effects. Try: slow measured speech for a point which is serious or needs emphasising speeding up a little đồ sộ lend excitement or urgency
Aim for a comfortable, medium pitch. High-pitched voices can sound harsh, and a high pitch is often due đồ sộ shallow breathing and nervousness. Deep, steady breathing and a deliberate attempt đồ sộ lower the pitch will help reduce nerves. Variations in pitch can be effective. For example, pitch could be raised đồ sộ add emphasis đồ sộ a question. However, use with care; too frequent use of high pitch can irritate an audience.
Tone is the vocal quality which expresses feeling. It can lend warmth and sincerity đồ sộ your voice or reveal how strongly you feel about a topic. This can evoke a similar response from the audience. In academic presentations, a harshly critical or judgemental tone should be avoided.
Your voice should be loud enough for the listeners in the back rows đồ sộ hear comfortably. You can also vary volume đồ sộ make your talk more lively, but avoid shouting.
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Inexperienced speakers are often afraid đồ sộ pause; they see pausing as a failure in fluency, but experienced speakers use pauses đồ sộ good effect. Pausing can focus attention on what has been said or what is about đồ sộ be said, can also allow the audience đồ sộ digest information, or can be used đồ sộ prepare them for a change in ideas.
* Adapted from: Pitman, 1988, Business Communication.