Love it or hate it, public speaking is an essential skill that not only can be applied to speaking to crowds, but also to your everyday work life. Mastering these techniques will make you a better communicator, perhaps even beyond the workplace.
1. Speak clearly and slowly
Be sure to articulate each of your words so your message comes across clearly the first time. Along with avoiding confusion, you will be viewed as confident and professional. In the long run, speaking clearly will save you and your team time, as repeating yourself may not be necessary and your message was comprehensible from the beginning.
2. Focus on the person you're talking to
Whether it's a fellow employee or a new client in the office, pay attention to the person you're speaking to. In one-on-one conversations especially, it is obvious if one person is not focusing on what the other is saying. Be engaged and attentive, use the person's name in your sentences, make eye contact, these are all ways to make the person you're talking to feel like they matter. Offering a smile when you approach or greet another person in the office releases tension and creates comfortability.
3. Posture makes perfect
Having good posture at your desk, at the conference table or by the water cooler shows your competency, not to mention the health benefits that come with it! Similar to when you're on stage speaking to a crowd, keeping your shoulders back and your head up helps portray confidence, even if it's just at your desk. A healthy posture can lead to less stress, deeper breathing, better circulation and higher productivity.
4. Wear clothes you feel great in
For most, a good outfit can boost courage and certainty. If you're preparing for a big client meeting, consider buying a nice pair of shoes you'll feel tenacious in. Everyone should have one suit in their closet they feel great in, a "power suit" if you will. For women who like to wear makeup, wear enough that you feel confident, but not too much to distract from what you're saying.
5. Omit nervous gestures
When public speaking, you should be intentional with your movements. For example, walking back and forth repeatedly can be distracting and may take away from what you're presenting, so make the effort to plan where you want to stand on stage. If you're leading a meeting at work, be aware of your gestures and where you move around the room. Words like "um" and "so," can also take away from your message, so omit those nervous fillers.
Public speaking and workplace techniques overlap more than some might think, but there's no denying this is a skill set that will add value to any team you play a part on.
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