It’s an interesting fact to note that public speaking remains the number one fear in the hearts and minds of most people. In other words, the person who is asked to deliver the eulogy is feeling more terrified than the person lying in the coffin!
Jokes aside, it’s not difficult to see why many literally turn pale when asked to speak in public. They often feel they are not good enough to rise to the challenge. And more importantly, people listening to them will judge them.
Fortunately for me, public speaking comes naturally to me. This could be because I’ve honed my craft since young. Yes, you can take part in oratorical competitions and debates like I did back in my school days. Or you can also practice until it becomes second nature to you, especially when you have to do endless work presentations to clients.
As you probably know by now, I’m paid to speak in public. This means I often have to think on my feet while maintaining my composure. It really is not that difficult.
Thank you SLS Bearings for inviting me to speak at your company retreat today.
I have come up with 5 useful tips which you can use to become a good public speaker too. Put together, these 5 tips form the CLEAR principle. Let me share more with you.
#1: Clarity Is Key
C is for clarity.
Always be clear and concise in your message. Clarity is important because it involves getting the idea out of my head and transmitting it into yours, without any change in interpretation. Always send one idea across at one time. This is akin to a tennis match. If only one tennis ball is coming your way, you can volley to receive it. But if there are many tennis balls coming your way, you will be distracted as your attention has now been dispersed.
There is also no point trying to appear smart or learned by using big words, jargons or technical terminologies. Keep your language simple.
#2: Laughter Is Good
L is for laughter.
As a public speaker, I am not afraid to inject humour into my presentations. When used appropriately, humour acts as an excellent speaking tool to liven up the mood in the room. It’s like adding some sparks in your relationship or buying yourself a surprise gift. How do you feel?
You lighten up and you liven up. Similarly, it has the same effect on the audience. Nobody is interested to sit through a speech or presentation which is dry, boring and long.
Be warned though that you should not tell a joke just because you have to. It has to blend seamlessly into your speech.
#3: Enjoy The Process
E is for enjoyment.
When you get an invitation to speak – whether it is to do a keynote speech or a training workshop, you should feel blessed. And that is always how I feel.
People are keen to listen to what new insights you have to offer. In other words, you are invited because you are regarded as an industry expert or thought leader.
It’s your ‘show’. Enjoy the process of speaking and sharing with the audience.
If you are really enjoying yourself, it shows in both your facial expressions and body language.
The audience knows if you are tense or relaxed.
#4: Adopt Different Modalities
A is for adopting different modalities.
Variety is the spice of life. Depending on the time allocated to me (this often ranges from the signature 90 minute keynote speech to a full day workshop), I use different training methodologies such as demonstrations, group shares to ‘hot seats’.
Break up the monotony of doing the same thing over and over again. Once it becomes a routine, the fun element is lacking. It’s like a magician using the same old pull-the-bunny-out-of-the-hat trick over and over again. Haven’t we seen that 1000 times?
#5: Rapport Building Is Crucial
R is for rapport building.
Excellent communication happens when there is great rapport built between speaker (you) and listener (audience). There are many ways you can build rapport with the audience. Here are three proven ones which I always use.
• Arrive Early. I make it a point to turn up at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time. This way, I can network with the members of the audience who are early too.
• Smile. This always works. A smile helps to break the ice. And it sends across a message that I am relaxed.
• Move Around. Unless you are specifically told to stand behind the rostrum, chances are you have some freedom of movement. This means you can walk up to the audience. Nobody is going to stop you from doing so. And you are not going to get mobbed because there are no die-hard Kpop fans in the audience.
If you are CLEAR about what you are speaking and how you are going about embark on your next speaking engagement, you are going to rock it. And when you think back on what you have achieved, a little smile will show on your face and you will be looking forward to speak again in public very soon.