In the first of two blogs on public speaking, Leadership Academy member Hafsa, 18, summarises key tips from a recent masterclass with expert speaker Judith Sheehan.
After an amazing public speaking session with Judith, a strong message that came across was that everything happens for a reason. The best approach to public speaking is to be fearless of the outcomes as you never know what they will lead onto.
1. Be Positive
The first step to successfully speaking in public begins from within. In order to encourage people to be convinced, and engage with what you are saying, you must be confident and comfortable with yourself and passionate about what you say. Most importantly you need to neutralise negativity and nerves by crushing your ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) and replacing them with positive ones.
2. Use Body Language
Through doing this you will already be conquering your external challenges, including the significant communication your eyes and hands convey to your audience.
“I was very inspired, discovering the power of body language and how it contributes to great delivery.” Leadership Academy member Lashan, 21
3. Think of you audience
Tailor your interaction to your specific audience to be able to captivate them and inspire them.
“A pleasant voice multiples friends’. This to me reinforces what Judith was saying about the way you communicate and tell people your story, how important it is to do the research about your subject, and the practice of your delivery.” Leadership Academy member Rahima, 23
4. Know your stuff
Another key lesson learnt is that there is no substitute to knowledge. You must know exactly what is being asked of you – What, Where, Who, Why, When, How – and research it in the way most suitable to you.
“To come out of my comfort zone by challenging my fears really helped my confidence.” Leadership Academy member Angelica, 18
Structure and order your thoughts to help deliver a coherent speech. Make sure you have a beginning, middle and an end and a specific purpose in mind, e.g. to persuade, to educate. Bullet points can be used to prompt you to remember what you already know, but do not script your speech as you will end up reading from the page and lose the connection with your audience.
5. Be yourself
A vital component to presenting a skillful speech is being natural and having the ability to flow. Always leave time for questions at the end, and welcome people to talk about what they know best – themselves.