Experienced speakers use techniques to tát make them more interesting to tát listen to tát and to tát 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 to tát speaking well. It will help you keep to tát a time limit and will allow you to tát try out various techniques in a low-pressure environment. It will also help you to tát know your material well, which makes it easier to tát remember and stay on point. Practice standing and speaking so sánh that you get used to tát delivering a talk before you have to tát give it to tát 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 to tát look down, instead of speaking to tát 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 to tát better remember what you want to tát say).
3. Be yourself
Even in a formal speech, allow your personality to tát come through. When you’re nervous, it’s easy to tát tense up and become a little awkward or wooden, but make an effort to tát stay natural. Smile and make eye tương tác. 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 to tát project confidence, even if you don’t feel it. Remind yourself that you can tự it, and that the audience want you to tát succeed. Visualise a positive outcome. Harness your nervous energy and tell yourself that you are excited - that you have interesting, engaging materials to tát share with the audience. As you walk to tát 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 to tát 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 to tát 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 to tát 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 to tát create interest. Choose them to tát 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 to tát participate and drawing them in to tát 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 chủ is broken into every seven minutes. Can you believe it?”
You can also speak directly to tát individual audience members, if appropriate. For example:
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“I take it from your reaction that you’ve read something similar, Sarah . . .”
8. Be aware of eye tương tác and toàn thân language
Make eye tương tác with the audience to tát help establish a connection. Glance at the faces of group members and don’t be afraid to tát 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 tương tác with a number of people, and every now and then glance at the whole group while speaking. Eye tương tác 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 to tát what is being said.
Body language is also important. Standing, walking or moving about with appropriate hand gesture or facial expression is far preferable to tát 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 to tát learn what good speakers tự is to tát 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 tự. Watch some TED Talks online. They tend to tát be high-quality presentations and provide some great examples.
10. Be aware of technique
Speaking to tát an audience requires a pace slower than thở normal conversation. Nervous speakers tend to tát tốc độ up, so sánh avoid this. Try varying your pace to tát create different effects. Try: slow measured speech for a point which is serious or needs emphasising speeding up a little to tát lend excitement or urgency
Aim for a comfortable, medium pitch. High-pitched voices can sound harsh, and a high pitch is often due to tát shallow breathing and nervousness. Deep, steady breathing and a deliberate attempt to tát lower the pitch will help reduce nerves. Variations in pitch can be effective. For example, pitch could be raised to tát add emphasis to tát 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 to tát 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 to tát hear comfortably. You can also vary volume to tát make your talk more lively, but avoid shouting.
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Inexperienced speakers are often afraid to tát pause; they see pausing as a failure in fluency, but experienced speakers use pauses to tát good effect. Pausing can focus attention on what has been said or what is about to tát be said, can also allow the audience to tát digest information, or can be used to tát prepare them for a change in ideas.
* Adapted from: Pitman, 1988, Business Communication.