7 Speech Blemishes that Wreck Confidence

x281283132863125698

Speech was never as important as it is now. Today, it’s necessary that business leaders must be able to speak clearly and effectively. There are a number of speech blemishes which cause embarrassment while making presentations. Sometimes an executive in an important conversation finds himself/herself less than ‘up to the mark’. This is best avoided. I list below 7 of the blemishes which need to be addressed.

  1. Lack of clarity in speech: Often times we find that the speech of a person is not as articulate as it should be. Sometime they speak too fast; sometimes they mumble some words in a sentence. Though overall message is communicated but listener finds it’s difficult to assimilate. Each and every word, therefore, should be spoken clearly. The problem arises due to improper/inadequate use of speech organs. While the sound is produced by the vocal cord, the words are created by the speech organs.
  1. Inability to hold the attention of the listener: If the speaker does not modulate the voice, it is difficult to hold the attention of the listener. Modulation is the speaker’s ability to bring in variance in pace, pause, pitch, emphasis on the keyword and the tone. This can be corrected with the help of appropriate speech exercises.
  1. Use of filler words: At times, one finds that the speaker repetitively uses filler words which are: ‘like’, ‘you know’, ‘actually’, ‘basically’ etc. The filler words could also be just sounds uh…uh……and uh…. plus other such fillers. Since they are used as a matter of habit, so it requires focused attention to bring in change of such habit.
  1. Improper breathing: It is breath which creates the sound. We have to have sufficient amount of breath in our lungs. This requires practice of deep breathing. The best practice is to take breath at the time when you pause, and consciously, until it is a part of your speech habit.
  1. Improper pause: Pause if not taken at a right spot mitigates the efficacy of the speech. Pause must be taken at the end of a clause or at the end of the sentence. It should not happen that we have to take a pause because of the lack of breath.
  1. Body language: The speaker must be aware and maintain proper body language. Business etiquette demand that he/she must maintain just right kind of eye contact- neither more nor less. It helps in bringing about a rapport between the speaker and the listener.
  1. Last but not the least; I must talk about the stage fright. Even experienced speakers suffer from stage fright, primarily due to the speech blemishes detailed above. Further, stage fright also inflicts the speaker due to lack of preparation and not understanding the needs and the profile of the audience.

Thanks for reading.

Stage Fright

Stage Fright is a much used term these days. In fact, almost every professional is required to design and deliver powerful presentations while confidently facing the audience. The basic question remains – What is Stage Fright? And how does one overcome it?

Stage Fright begins with certain overt and physical symptoms. These include trembling of the hands, quavering of the legs, dryness of the throat, or just a feeling of the mind going completely blank. One needs to understand that these are only early signs of stage fright. If stage fright is controlled in its early stage it can be prevented from transforming itself into a strong and very real fear of the audience. In fact the speaker must take positive steps to overcome this situation.  Here is what can be done:

  1. Prepare: This is the first and most important way to overcome stage fright. Inadequate preparation is in fact an invitation to stage fright. Never make a presentation without full preparation. 
  2. Practice: It is said practice makes perfect. Practice is that part of preparation, where the presenter not only creates a beautiful PowerPoint – but he also well rehearses it before an imaginary audience. In fact, good presenters anticipate and answer all sorts of questions to fully prepare themselves.
  3. Focus on the opening:  Well begun is half done. Since stage fright is generally at its maximum in the beginning, a good opening will ensure that you catch the audience interest and attention.  That will do work wonders with your confidence.
  4. Interest in the subject matter: A speaker must have strong interest in his subject. Any speaker who is disinterested or half-hearted, can hardly expect his audience to listen to him intently.
  5. Shift focus of attention: Some presenters are always worried about doing a good job at the presentation. Rather the speaker should focus on the audience’s requirements. What do they need? Why have they gathered to hear him speak? How are they responding to his communication? A positive focus on these questions will enable him to gain greater confidence as the presentation rolls along.

Someone has said that stage fright and confidence are two sides of the same coin. You turn one and the other appears. So the next time you are feeling a little nervous, tell yourself your feeling confident, and believe me you may quite be able to work things out. Remember, it only takes one really good presentation to take your communication skills to the level of a public speaker.

Seven Secrets of Public Speaking

Great leaders are great speakers. Public Speaking is an Art as well as a Science. One needs to understand what goes into making of a great public speaker. Today, I will talk to you about the seven secrets of Public Speaking.

Secret No. 1: Confidence
You must have confidence in yourself. You must respect yourself and value your opinions. You can only achieve this if you are not judgmental. It can be achieved if you have an open mind. Once you realise that like any other human being you can also make mistakes, you become confident. Again you become confident because you have nothing to hide and nothing to fear!

Secret No. 2: Overcoming Stage Fright.
Public Speaking dates back to the origin of history. Likewise stage fright has been felt by the Public Speakers from the time immemorial. There is no short cut for overcoming stage fright. We must realise that when we speak to audience it is not stage fright but it is heightened feeling. This is also a feeling we get whenever we are about to do something important. The more we find opportunities to address the audience, the faster we will overcome stage fright.

Secret No. 3: Body Language
This refers to the way you stand; the way you walk – it refers to your posture while speaking and your dress must also be cool!

Secret No. 4: Eye Contact
While speaking it is necessary that you make eye contact with you audience. It should appear that you are talking to the people. Each person of the audience should feel that you are talking to him or her. This can be achieved by practice along.

Secret No. 5: Articulation
Articulation for a Public Speaking refers to the clarity in his ideas, and the clarity of each and every word that he/she speaks. This is more of a Science. It can be achieved by understanding the principles and with lots of practice.

Secret No. 6: Ability to hold the attention of the audience
You have to develop modulation in your speech. This can be practiced by memorising and repeating dramatic monologues of Shakespeare and others. A lot of hard work has to get into building talent to modulate.

Secret No. 7: The Structure of the Speech
Every Speech must have a clear cut beginning. The various points that you want to communicate to the audience form the body. You need to be clear about these points which should not be more than three or four. In conclusion you must summarize what you have talked about and your speech on a happy note.