A to Z of Soft Skills: S for Speaking Skills
The ability to speak well can become the power to inspire, inform, motivate, persuade, teach, make an impact, transform a career, start a revolution, change the course of a start up, enlighten others about your ideas, get a promotion..and the list is endless! The most memorable and inspiring events in history can be traced back to the compelling words of a great leader. Because such is the power of words – it galvanises entire nations into action. And world leaders like Jawahar Lal Nehru and Martin Luther King are quoted even today for the wisdom packed in their speeches.
Even in the corporate world, the ability to speak well can play a decisive role in the managerial journey you traverse and how quickly. But we all know that speaking in public is one of the biggest fear we face. The good news is that given the right kind of training and exposure, anyone can be a confident speaker in any situation, in front of any audience. Here are a few things that can help you:
Get started: Face your fear. Get started on why you want to speak better. Figure out your speaking goals and the kinds of speeches/presentations you are going to face. Understand your current level of competence and where you wish to be. Make a road map and start working towards it.
Prepare well: All the TED speakers who appear so effortless on stage go through several hours of practice and many rounds of rehearsals on the actual stage. Expertise comes from practice. Learn to structure your points in a way that’s easy for the audience to understand. The more thorough you are in your preparation, the more you will be able to interact with the live audience and play off their reaction to your content.
Wow your audience: We have been through boring presentations in dark rooms where creativity dies with every drab slide that comes up. How about doing something so interesting that everyone sits up and takes notice! And it isn’t even that hard. Tell stories, ask questions, rattle off relevant stats and you’ll have your audience eating off your hands.
Deliver with a punch: This is the touchstone of all the practice that you put in. Always keep a quick summary in mind so that even if technology ditches you and you have no ppts to refer too, you still do well. It’s natural to feel nervous before facing people, so figure out ways to stay confident and not let the nervousness show.
Prepare for different kinds of speeches: You may have time to prepare or you may not. You may need to address a big group or a small one. You might be asked to talk to new recruits or convince your senior management of a new proposal. There can be so many different situations. Work on general set of skills that’ll come in good stead in any speaking situation.
Any skill is developed over a period of time. And working with a coach only helps to keep you motivated and track to reach your goal. The Speaking Wizard is a unique program that focusses on your areas of improvement and working with a coach exclusively assigned to you. Don’t wait for your company to help you move up the corporate ladder. Work on your skills and you’ll get there faster on your own.