5 Principles To Improve Your Public Speaking
Over a year ago I decided to join Toastmasters in an effort to improve my public speaking skills. I was never a terrible public speaker to begin with, but I wasn’t terrific either. I understood that being an effective public speaker was an important part of being a man and a leader. After all, if you can’t string together coherent sentences in front of a large group of people, how will you ever be able to lead them? So I took action and decided to join a local Toastmasters group.
In my experience with Toastmasters, I have learned a lot of different things that make someone an effective public speaker. The following are five principles that I think will make anyone a better public speaker and communicator:
1. Avoid the use of filler words when speaking
I would say this is the most common error people make when speaking in front of a crowd. When people are speaking there is a tendency for them to use filler words (e.g. uhh, umm, like, so etc.) in an effort to buy their brains enough time to come up with another thought. Cut this out to immediately sound more polished. Next time you feel like saying “uhh”, pause instead. Wait until you get your next thought in your head and then continue speaking. This will create natural pregnant pauses in your speech that will make you seem more intelligent, poignant, and confident.
2. Maintain solid eye contact
When you are speaking in front of an audience, it is important that you make and maintain eye contact. Making and maintaining eye contact shows people that you are confident in what you are saying. Excessively nervous individuals will have a tendency to avoid eye contact (usually they will look straight ahead or to the side). Make sure to let your gaze linger just a bit longer than you feel is comfortable. Eye contact is very powerful in creating an intimate, seductive environment, and the best speakers know how to use this to their advantage.
3. Use your body
We all know the importance of body language in pick up. The same is true when we speak in front of a group of people. Next time you have to do a presentation or a speech, move around the room. Pace a little. Use the space. This will convey to the audience that you are relaxed and comfortable in your environment. Use your hands and body to make controlled, open gestures, which is another sign of high confidence. Just about the worst thing you can do is stand there like a stiff board with your hands in your pockets.
4. Alter your voice
This principle is a bit more advanced but it really separates the great speakers from merely the good ones. The ability to use your voice by altering its pitch and tone can dramatically improve your speaking. In fact, without this ability you will come off as flat and monotone (sort of like the teacher in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). People will tune you out. Furthermore, it’s important that your voice inflects to complement the emotion you are trying to convey. So when you are speaking about something sad your tone becomes more sombre, compared to when you are speaking about something exciting when your voices raises a few octaves.
5. Rehearse Your Material
This principle is a bit different from the others but is just as important. In order to be a good speaker, you need to practice. For example, think of the last time you watched a funny comedian on stage. Do you think he just thought up a bunch of jokes and jumped on stage to deliver them? Of course he didn’t—he practiced that material over and over again. He refined his delivery and honed his craft until he came up with something funny. You should treat your presentations and speeches the same way. Rehearse your material enough so that you feel comfortable with it. Once you get there, delivering it in front of your audience will be that much easier.
So there you have it, five principles that will immediately make you an effective public speaker. But take another look at those principles; do you notice anything about them? If you realized that these principles will also make you better at attracting women you would be correct. If you apply these principles to your game I guarantee you will also be more successful with women.
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