Give Me Three Minutes And I’ll Make You A Better Communicator 5

A PresenterCommunication is the key to success as a student and on the job.  If you know something important (and nearly everyone does), the ability to transfer your knowledge to someone else is inestimably useful.  However, truly excellent communicators are rare.  Very few people can concisely and quickly explain something in an interesting and engaging way.  If you become one of those few who really excel at communication, many opportunities await you.

To help you become a better speaker, I will explain five ways you can improve you speaking skills today.  Although complete perfection requires years of practice, there are many ways in which you can begin improving your communication immediately.

#1  Look At Your Audience

Exactly how you look at your audience depends on the size of the group you are speaking to.  If you having a conversation with one to four people, looking directly at individual people is a useful way to engage them and become more “personal”.  However, if you are giving a presentation or speech to a large group of people, do not look anyone in the eye – it will distract you and make it hard to remember what you were saying.  Instead, simply look across your audience without focusing on any particular person.  To sum it up, in two-way conversations make eye contact, but in one-way speeches and presentations scan your audience.

#2 Smile

One of the most important keys to speaking is smiling.  Not only does smiling engage your audience, it also helps you!  When your audience sees that you are excited about your topic, it is likely to make them more enthusiastic also.  In addition, smiling releases endorphins into your body that help you relax.

#3 Improve Your Personal Appearance

When you are giving a presentation, dress conservatively.  While you should not wear all black, darker colors do help make you appear more professional.  In addition, avoid wearing flashy colors that will distract your audience.  Beside you clothing, make sure that you are well groomed and present an overall neat and orderly appearance.

#4 Avoid Nervous Habits

We all have some nervous habit.  Perhaps you tap your shoe or click your pen.  Whatever your habit is, it must be avoided.  Although you may not notice that you are tapping your foot, your audience definitely will.  These habits distract your audience, damage your professional image, and alert your audience to the fact that you are nervous.  Learn what your particular habit is and avoid it.

#5 Involve Your Audience

If you are having a conversation, involving your audience is easy.  However, if you are giving a presentation, involving your audience can be more difficult.  Asking questions can be a good method, but it only works in certain groups.  If you do ask questions, it gives your audience a chance to talk… and possibly chatter away about some tangent.  On the other hand, asking “yes” or “no” questions that require hand raising can be an excellent way to involve the entire audience – everyone is involved, but nobody gets a chance to talk about some unrelated subject.

What are your favorite speaking tips?

{Image by JohnHallAssociates}

5 thoughts on “Give Me Three Minutes And I’ll Make You A Better Communicator

  1. Reply Stefan | StudySuccessful.com Jun 24,2009 6:33 AM

    Good post!
    A good speaker has all these things naturally and doesn’t need to force himself to look at the audience, but fortunately, you can make yourself in a good speaker!

    My tip would be: ‘Now what you are going to tell, and tell it like you would tell it your friends.’ Don’t use a paper on which you have your presentation written, don’t use cards. Know what you want to say.
    Speak to your audience as you would speak to your friends. If you explain something to your friends, they will get it right? Why won’t the audience get it then!

    There is a lot you can do about being a bad communicator, go do it!

    Stefan,
    http://StudySuccessful.com

  2. Reply Sudeep Jun 24,2009 7:22 AM

    To give good presentation , have an habit of listening and if possible actually viewing some gr8 people , orators speech … Seeing them , hearing them would help each one of us a lot to decide our own style .Well try not to mimic them .. but why not pick the best style suited for us from them .
    Regards
    Sudeep

  3. Reply Ralph Jun 25,2009 6:39 PM

    Those are great points but I think it may take longer than 3 minutes for some of us. Stefan makes a good suggestion. I know that I am at my best when I really know what I am talking about and it definitely helps if I know the audience. It’s one thing to know the points but entirely another when you are in the spotlight.

  4. Reply Nate Desmond Jun 25,2009 7:13 PM

    @ Stephan

    Great tip! I never like to listen to “speakers” who are really readers.

    @ Sudeep

    That is another excellent tip. Learning from great orators is an excellent way to communicate better!

    @ Ralph

    That is so true. When I start speaking, I have trouble remembering what I was going to say, much less the best way to say it!

    Thank you all for your excellent tips! Keep them coming… 🙂

  5. Reply Vicki@collegeparentcentral Jun 26,2009 5:06 AM

    Great post! Any student who thinks about and works on speaking skills will have an advantage.

    I’d add the advice – Practice! Practice! Practice! Beginning speakers almost always underestimate the amount of practice necessary to be in command of their material. You don’t want to practice “memorizing” the speech, but talk it through over and over – standing up and doing it out loud just the way you’ll do it in class – or meeting – or wherever it will be. Practice looking at the audience. Work with whatever notes you will use (just bullet points, not written out word for word). When you think you’ve practiced enough, do it a few more times. By the time you do the actual presentation, you’ll be completely comfortable.

    So many people think you’re either born a good speaker or you’re not, but it’s really just a set of skills – and anyone can learn the skills.

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