The Australian Small Business Blog

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What to do with the voices in your head when you speak?

When you get up to speak to promote your business, do you find that you sometimes go blank? Or do you start thinking thoughts that don’t help you, like, “Are they listening to me?” “I am boring them.” “I hate the way they are all staring at me.”

If any of these and other negative thoughts are in you head you need to get rid of them as they are spoiling your speech and probably making you forget where you are up to in your speech.
Here are some tips to minimize the voices in your head and make you more powerful:

1 Practise! The more you can practice visualizing yourself in front of the audience, the better you will be.

2 Really look at your audience. The more you look at them the more they will be interested in you, especially f you smile. You MUST look at them or you cannot tell if they are getting your message. So, tell that voice that says, ”I hate them looking at me that it needs them to look at you so you can concentrate on them.

3 Focus on what you are communicating out. If your brain allows thoughts of what the audience thinks of you to come in, you may become self conscious. You won’t be able to give it all your energy. So, turn the ego around. Speaking is not about you but what are you trying to communicate to them! Change the focus and the voices will lessen if not disappear.

4 Keep the words simple. If you include difficult to pronounce words and stumble on them, you can lose confidence and the voices in your head can start to yell. But if you make the words one or two syllables only, you will find them easier to say and the audience can take them in more easily.

5 The more you speak, the easier it becomes! Presenting and speaking is only scary if it is occasional. Nerves are normal. Even competent speakers and actors become nervous. Harness that energy positively and it will become easier the more you do it!

6 Breathe deeply. Most speakers speak too fast and run ideas into each other. If your voices in your head tell you to go fast so you can sit down quicker, you speech is likely to be difficult to understand and follow. Also taking a breath allows you to PAUSE, one of the most important aspects of speaking. Remember, only 120 words per minute.

7 Attend a public speaking course. Many people think the skills of confident communication are impossible to teach. There are many tricks to be learned and the best way to learn them is through a course.

So, go out there. Put up your hand, rehearse, look at them, smile and “fake it till you make it”. Speak often and keep it simple. Focus on them and the rest is techniques!

Over to You. What do You Think? Post Your Comments Below.

Judith Field is the director of Direct Speech and is a professional public speaking trainer.

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