Preparing for a big day at the office? As compiled from Reader’s Digest, here are some tips that’ll help you deliver your presentation better.
Listen to yourself speak
This may be weird but nothing squashes those verbal ticks like listening to yourself speak. Record yourself in a natural conversation; for example, replay a conference call or have a friend interview you on tape. Listen for technical issues, such as filler words, up talk, monotone, and run-on sentences, as well as any habits that sound awkward or uncomfortable. Identifying the problem is the first step toward tackling it.
Monitor your speed
Try this: Copy and paste a 160-word passage and read it aloud (at your standard conversational speed) while recording yourself. How long did it take you? It should be near the minute mark, says Carol A Fleming, author of It’s the Way You Say It. “Aim for about 155 to 175 words per minute for normal conversation,” she writes.
If you’re reciting background information or summarising something, pick up the pace. If you’re explaining something technical, slow it down.
Eliminate filler words
Words such as “um,” “like,” and “uhh,” can make you sound unsure and inarticulate. Replace them with more eloquent transitions, suggests Forbes contributor Selena Rezvani. “One of the functions of “Um” is to tell your audience that you’re not done talking yet and need to gather your thoughts,” she writes. ‘Let’s move on to…’, ‘Another important consideration is…’, and ‘Let’s transition to talking about…’ are great replacements.
Focus on the final sound
Avoid trailing off or mumbling by making a conscious effort to fully pronounce each syllable. Pay special attention to the Ts in contractions and the final words of sentences. This is how to join a conversation at a party.
Study other speakers
Articulate orators learn from other articulate orators. Find a radio show or podcast you enjoy, and analyse the host’s speech. He or she has likely squashed any verbal ticks, and can help you identify effective patterns of speech.
Speak with confidence
Even if you’re talking on the phone, the way you hold yourself impacts the way people perceive your ideas. Extend your vocal cords by keeping your chin parallel to the floor and sitting up straight. Also, avoid moving your hands too much (studies show keeping them folded on the table projects trustworthiness.)
Think before you speak
Most importantly, know what you’re talking about. Having a clear idea of what you want to say will allow you to organise your thoughts into a coherent structure and make everything you say more believable.
Address your weaknesses
Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, create a plan for rectifying them. One way is to tackle a specific issue each day. For example, focus on eliminating filler words on Monday, and completing your sentences on Tuesday. Repeat the process each week until speaking clearly becomes second nature.
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Source: Tribune News | 8 ways to become a better speaker