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10 subtle tips to help you become a more attractive speaker
Growing up, I was always terrified of speaking in groups and in public.
I was awkward in a one-to-one conversation, let alone being able to lead a group effectively.
But in my fear, I learned of my passion for communication.
Because how could fear not point toward my taking it seriously?
Through coaching hundreds and running live group workshops over the years, I've learned much about communicating in a way that attracts interest.
Here are a few:
Focus on listening.
Most of us are scared because we sense this ginormous spotlight on us and it makes us self-conscious.
Forget that, and just listen.
Two things happen:
1) You become a better communicator because you're actually listening.
2) You relax, because the pressure on what to say and how you look is decreased.
Use visual aids.
You might use visuals to add variety to your lessons or speeches if you're presenting something.
It gives you something on which to direct your attention and breaks things up.
People remember images, especially when you attach meaning or stories to them. This makes the talk more memorable.
Emphasise your quirks.
You won't stand out if you're just like every other Derek and Jane.
Figure out what makes you different.
This includes your speaking style, personal stories, and things about which you enjoy teaching or speaking.
For example, you might have a personal fascination with science fiction.
Bring it into your talks and lessons.
Go deeper into the weird. Don't run from it.
Play with pauses.
You will struggle if you rush your words and can't bear the idea of sitting through uncomfortable silences.
I certainly did, until I realised the power of the pause.
Be ok with silences. Quietly enforce them.
Your speaking partners are also anxious, so encourage calm, by speaking more slowly and allowing gaps to arise.
Use rhetorical devices.
An underused speaking or writing tool are devices that create a clearer vision of what you're portraying.
I often use metaphors in my coaching so people can better see what I'm saying.
I can tell someone that breaking down tasks will help you achieve your goals.
Or I can say that we get overwhelmed when we envision climbing Everest, but it gets easier when we just put one foot in front of the other.
You can also use devices like analogies, anecdotes and more examples.
Vary your tone, pitch and pace.
Play around with varying your speaking volume, pace and tone.
This is the exact opposite of being monotone, which sends people to sleep.
People will pay attention when you mix it up, especially when the subject matter warrants a shift.
Your talk will come across far better because people will have retained the information.
Be painfully honest.
I say painful because most of us avoid being totally honest out of fear.
We are afraid to look imperfect, unaware or ignorant. But when there is something you don't know or don't understand, say it.
Be honest about how you aren't always right. Tell us about your mistakes.
This will bring people closer to you rather than the often misconstrued belief you will lose them.
Do five minutes of audience research.
It doesn't take much.
Spend some time learning about the goals, achievements, dreams, hobbies, and traits of the people you're about to speak with.
Most do not, which is why this will set you apart when you reference something you could only have found with some extra research.
Run, cold shower or sauna beforehand.
The endorphins and pleasant chemicals that flow after some exercise or a spa session are notable.
Your more relaxed and creative state will directly inform your performance as a speaker, whether speaking one-on-one or with a group.
Model genuinely giving an f.
Most inexperienced speakers are self-conscious and concerned about how they are coming across.
It's understandable, but it's also selfish. That's fine.
The script must be flipped, and this comes with practice.
Caring about who you're speaking to and communicating from a place of love isn't a personality thing. It's who you are when you think less about yourself.
This compassion is our default when we're less in our heads, and it will benefit both the recipient and make for a far more enjoyable experience.
The most critical element in all this is practice. Absorb these insights, but then go out and do.
Doing is the exact opposite of overthinking.
The more you do, the more automatic these things become.
And the more automatic, the more in flow, creative and uniquely YOU you will be.
P.S - I’m running a live group cohort on powerful and creative writing that will grow your online personal brand in the next few weeks. Join the waiting list to stay updated and get early bird bonuses.
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