Learn from the best!
Don't be afraid to take best practices from excellent public speakers, and use their mannerisms and techniques to improve your own speaking abilities
You do not become an excellent public speaker overnight; most laurelled speakers have been practicing and honing their skills for several years. You can, of course, try this for yourself, and you should; it never hurts. You can also take a shortcut, and learn from excellent and experienced public speakers, they are all around. YouTube, for example, holds loads of videos filled with tips and tricks, examples of excellent speakers and the techniques and methods they use.
One of the many used models for delivering passionate and motivated speeches are called TED talks. TED stands for Technology, Education and Design, and it has become one of the most famous public speaking events in the world, if not the nr. 1.
TEDx events (which are locally organized versions of the main TED event held annually in Vancouver) are organized by almost every major and minor city in the Netherlands. Eindhoven has its own TEDx event as well, which can be checked out here. Examples of TEDx talks which have been deemed excellent can be found here.
Speakers at TED events are people who are passionate about a certain subject, and will share their experiences and visions on their area of expertise. These orators are already very well practiced public speakers, they are generally trained even more by someone from the TED organization, which adds the mystical TED element, enabling the speakers to utilize the specific TED-style of puiblic speaking.
Experienced TED speaker, coach and author Gina Barnett has written an entire book on how to optimize your way of speaking to a (large) crowd: Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success. Some tips from this book include:
- Psych yourself up, not out
Positive energy reflects on you positively, negative energy reflects negatively on you.
Beware of negative emotions when speaking; the negative will have an effect on your psychology, likely reflecting on your entire performance. Use your body- and mind’s nervous energy to pump yourself full of energy, and not to denounce yourself.
- Be careful with movement
Be wary of repetitive motion. Swaying back and forth will create a metronome effect, and lull your audience. If you move, try to focus on a specific point, and involve the movement in your talk. A tip Barnett gives: ¨Practice moving to a new point. Try coming closer to the audience when the content of your talk calls for it.¨ This will involve and intrigue your audience, and focus their attention whenever the structure your talk calls for it.
- Your voice and speech are major instruments
Do not underestimate the power of your voice or way of speaking. You can use your voice to emphasize certain elements of your talk, by using a different kind of intonation. Speak energetically whenever mentioning something major, and don’t do similarly whenever mentioning something relatively irrelevant. Furthermore, be aware of the fact that you have an accent. The fact that you have an accent is not inherently a bad thing, everyone has an accent. But give your audience the time to adjust their hearing to your accent. For example, speak slowly, and over-enunciate your first words. In this way, their hearing will be more adapted to your way of speaking.
Professional skills are a major asset to your skillset, and it is very important that you hone several skills for your future career. Be sure to enroll in some trainings, provided by the Trainingsdagen, held November 21-25 (organized by the Wervingsdagen Commission). More information about the trainings provided and how to enroll can be found here.