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Six Acting Techniques to Help Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

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Better your public speaking by acting

Picture yourself at the front of the stage, a room filled with hundreds of engaged members of the audience. Your story and your message inspires the room and the standing ovation makes you realize that you’ve got what it takes to be a successful public speaker.

It might be easy to see this in your mind, but how do you translate it into reality? Cue cards, presentation slides, a killer suit/dress and attention-grabbing icebreaker might be a great place to start. However, if you’re still struggling whenever giving a presentation or still a rookie in the business, where do you go to better your speaking skills?

You may like to consult a public speaking coach. Alternatively, you could try acting. Acting will definitely push you out of your comfort zone and hone you to become a fearless and entertaining presenter.

Acting may not be your first choice but it’s worth exploring. Below are a few acting techniques that you can practice in order to improve and be fearless with your next presentation:

1: Claim the stage

Actors get sufficient time to familiarize themselves and claim the stage as their own prior to their performance. It allows them to become adept at the set, take a good grasp of the surroundings and cultivate the emotion of the character they play as around it.

Speakers usually don’t get enough rehearsal time on stage and more often than not, they only get to be on the podium on the day of the event itself where the room is already packed. Still, you can claim authority and take a moment to get into character -and – as a speaker. Claim the stage as it is your own and accept your part in it and so will your audience.

2: Observe body language

Body language is, if not more, equally important as the text in your slides and words coming out of your mouth. It’s a powerful communication tool and actors and speakers alike make use of it in their performance and presentation.

Body language and other nonverbal communication gestures have a huge impact in better conveying your messages across to your audience. When you learn how to effectively use body languages and gestures, it speaks more than words. Try a few methods to better connect with the audience through nonverbal communication; deliver messages with your hands and coordinate physical and appropriate expressions to your discussion.

Do keep in mind that you don’t have to over-animate your body language, keep it natural as if you’re speaking with a friend, not with a large audience.

3: Practice enunciation

Enunciation‒both in words and emotion‒is critical if you want the audience to have a better grasp of your message. Part of an actor’s job is to deliver their lines and emotions with precision and certainty, often with a little bit of mystery.

Speakers tend to keep their emotions detached from their presentation. Deliver a precise content and express what you feel along with it. Most speakers perform well in terms of concisely discerning and interpreting their message, however, this leaves ambiguity because of vague emotions.

If you want your audience to feel what you feel and understand what you want them to, enunciate it appropriately and convincingly. You want them to feel excited and engage with your brand, show how delighted you are and so shall they too. You want them to take a peek inside your head, let them read and feel what you want them to.

4: Connect with the audience

Focusing only on your content and boxing yourself in is much like presenting a keynote in an empty room. There’s a call-to-action in every presentation and you need to establish yours from the very beginning.

Look-turn-speak is a common acting technique adapted by public speakers. It’s an effective way to have the audience engaged in the presentation.

The technique goes this way: You lead with your eyes (establishing the connection; look element), turn your head and speak accompanied with movements for better message delivery (listeners are deeply and even more so engaged as you go along; turn and speak elements respectively).

5: Vocal expressiveness

The quality, tone and overall vocal expressiveness is vital in making emphasis on subtle interpretations of your work.

Improve yours by recording yourself while practicing the deliverance of your message. Then listen to it afterwards. You may feel awkward listening to it at first but this way you’ll be fully aware of your vocal performance. Did you notice mispronunciations? Unconvincing vocal expressions? Then, note these details and practice again until you’re satisfied with how you sound.

6: Find your light

“Find your light” is a common expression in theatre and the industry. No one would switch their attention to the actor if s/he’s not in the spotlight, would they?

When a speaker steps onto and claims the podium, it’s no different than an actor taking the spotlight and performing. You need to take the stage and showcase your confidence once on the platform. You need to accept your role and let the audience acknowledge your stance; you’re in the same room with an aim to learn and influence.

Whether you admit it or not, acting techniques translate well and helps you become better and a more effective speaker. The very fact that it boosts your confidence aids in overcoming your nerves and conquering your fear of speaking in public.

Don’t try to deliver a speech, have a conversation with your audience.

What other acting techniques do you think are guaranteed to improve your public speaking skills? Share it with us!

About Chie Suarez

Aside from providing tips and hacks in personal and career development, Chie Suarez is also a resident writer for The Fordham Company — one of Australia’s top celebrity management companies and a major celebrity speakers bureau.

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Business

Life Hack: Use Public Speaking to Improve Your Life

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Public speaking is undeniably one of the greatest tools that can help us achieve great things in life. But despite the fact, we know how speaking in front of a crowd can be a whole lot scary. That’s why we compiled this list — a summary of ways on how public speaking can improve your life — as a way to motivate you in working towards developing your public speaking skills.

Improve your self-confidence.

Everyone, including us experts in the field, has his or her fair share of nerve-wracking experiences when it comes to communicating to the public. But the thing is, we cannot really avoid these situations if we want to be successful in life.

Public speaking helps increase the level of your confidence. Being able to overcome your fear is a very powerful thing to accomplish. It boosts self-confidence not just in facing a crowd, but also in smaller situations like talking on the phone, introducing yourself to a possible business partner, nailing an interview, or even doing a small talks in parties.

Succeed in your career.

Probably one of the most beneficial area in your life is your professional career, and it can actually help you in many different ways more than one.

If you are a salesperson, good public speaking skills can help you become more persuasive and give you better chances of closing a deal. If you are an aspiring executive, great communication skills can help you be easily remembered as a thought leader. And the benefits of this life hack goes on. Needless to say, public speaking is one of the most important skill to work on if you want to successfully climb the corporate ladder.

Becoming a better leader.

Do you notice how big bosses are so good in public speaking? Because yes, it is imperative that you are a great speaker when you have people under your umbrella. As a leader, your job is to give direction to your team. And as you go on fulfilling this role, you have to have a good public speaking skill.

When you are able to communicate confidently, clearly, and effectively, people will be keen on following you.

Improve your relationships.

Whether you are thinking of your family relationships, romantic relationship, or work relationships, public speaking has a way of improving all these. We all know too well how a good communication builds a sturdy foundation for a long lasting relationships, right?

Being a good public speaker gives you the ability to control your thoughts and emotions before letting a word come out of your mouth. Knowing the right words to say at the right moment and the moment to best to speak can really go a long way in avoiding misunderstanding and expressing what you really want to mean.

Influencing other people.

If you want your thoughts to be heard, one of the best ways to do is to start get it is by honing your public speaking skills. Think of it, you are presented with two salesman offering a certain product. If you had to pick one, which one would you choose? who are you most like to choose — the so-so speaker who read through his deck the whole pitch, or the better one who stood confidently and seems to know every word that came out of his mouth?

You see, it doesn’t only apply in the corporate setting. Being a good speaker can also you influence other people easily with regards to your beliefs or  a brand you’ve been advocating. Good communication skills give you the ability to drive change.

So hey, don’t let fear hinder you from experiencing all these great life hack opportunities. Take a bold step in honing your public speaking skills. Later on you will thank yourself for being able to enjoy the fruits of your public speaking skills.

Author Bio: Clement Chio is professional communication coach and the owner of Speech IONIZERS – a company aiming to be one of Asia’s leading professional development institutions and the authority in public speaking.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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Speaking

5 Things Effective Communicators Share in Common

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Off the top of your head, picture one or two of the best and most influential communicators you can think of.

Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, Ghandi, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, are only a few among many other prominent and inspirational figures that might come to mind.

Even though we’ve been communicating since we were born, it’s safe to say it’s easy, but not everyone’s naturally born a good communicator. Not everyone is effective and skillful at doing it. To be good at it, it takes more than basic language and sentence structure; body language, cadence, and genuineness are some of the factors that strengthen this skill.

Image source: Malala Fund Blog

On the bright side, it’s not too difficult to attain. It’s a skill one can learn and master with practice. It’s like driving a car, with continuous practice, it can take you to great places. Here are few qualities great communicators share in common.

They listen and absorb information.

Don’t you dread the feeling of talking only to realize later that no one is listening to you?

Communication is a two-way process: someone listens while the other speaks and vice-versa. Great communicators know how equally, if not more than, important and essential listening is to speaking. Add to that, without anyone actively listening, how are they able to retain any information you’re voicing out?

You should take note of this as well. Whenever someone is speaking, lend them your ears and only speak when you’re asked. Pay attention to them and not about what you should say while they’re still going on about the topic. This way, you’ll know how and what to rightfully and appropriately respond.

They establish a good foundation.

Get personal. People wouldn’t listen if they think you’re talking about something of no significant value to them; if they can’t resonate, they won’t participate.

How did Steve Jobs introduce the first game-changing iPhone that dominated the smartphone industry? He expressed his disposition on then-current smartphones which are “not so smart” and “not so easy to use,” without the complex analysis. He launched it in a simple manner where everyone, even a layman, can relate to, akin in a conversational and personal level.

By talking about how the product will benefit and make life easier for the consumer, he built an audience of raving fans. You see, you only need to build a solid foundation and get personal with the audience. It doesn’t need to be deep but so long as it exists, it’s a good sign.

They remain curious.

Like a 5-year old child, great communicators always ask the right questions. Not because they don’t listen, but because they want to clarifications and they want to get a better understanding in the discussion. Also, they question their audience to confirm whether or not their points were delivered clearly.

Make sure that you’re asking politely otherwise you may come off unintentionally and unconsciously condescending. If you’re the one with the mic, you can ask the audience or the person you converse with in a nice way by shifting the focus on you. For example, “Am I explaining this well?” if you’ll be the one asking and “Can you elaborate on that?” is a polite way to ask.

They present facts.

No one wishes to diminish their credibility. If you’re unsure of the facts, you can either admit you’re not too familiar with them and ask about it or don’t say anything at all. Giving out inaccurate information might sound good in conversation but can come back to bite you later!

It is easy to get carried away in the middle of conversations and skip the fact check, but you can prevent this from happening. Ask yourself how accurate your facts are before you speak!

They pay attention to nonverbal communication.

Communication isn’t just made up of words. Body language and behavior is just as important as spoken communication. Great communicators are skillful at identifying non-verbal cues; they don’t just listen and hear what others say. They pay close attention to how they say it. They also look for subtle meaningful gestures and movements as well.

If you learn and practice these skills and incorporate them in your day-to-day interactions, you are steps closer to being a good communicator. These will aid you in reaching personal growth and career success.

What other communicational attributes do you think other great communicators share in common? We’d like to know your thoughts, leave a comment below!

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Motivation

6 Public Speaking Tips for Introverts

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Ask the people you know what they fear. More likely than not, you’ll get a lot of “fear of public speaking” or “presenting in meetings” as some of the top responses. It’s a common fear many people share. On the plus side, it’s the type of fear people can overcome.

When in a large audience, in meetings or a large party, it’s easy to spot who are the gregarious extroverts from the reserved introverts. There are many misconceptions about introverts; they’re not all that shy.

It may come as a surprise but many prominent figures and presenters are actually introverts behind their confident persona. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Emma Watson and Eleanor Roosevelt are introverts and the list goes on. Even actors such as Meryl Streep—three-time Academy Award winner—is a reserved and introverted person. Who knew?

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Photo by Skitterphoto

So for those of you who share the same fear and personality, fret not. Introverts may enjoy a hushed environment and being alone with their thoughts but contrary to their personality, they can be confident speakers as well. Overcome your fear of public speaking and develop a confident persona on stage, right on time for your speech.

Preparation won’t hurt

This is probably the oldest trick in the book: preparation is key to nailing an astounding presentation or speech. Take the time to craft every sentence, story and example thoroughly and logically. Also, if you need statistics and other data to support your statement, get your hands on those numbers and evidence.

This isn’t only practiced and advised to introverts. It’s also recommended by established speakers. Don’t dread practicing your speech out loud, it’s one of the easy ways to make you more comfortable when the time has come. Practice your presentation out loud so you can hear your voice, tone, and notice your other mistakes. It’s easier to point out where you go wrong or sound off that way.

Add to that your mental preparation. If you let your nerves take over your whole body and presentation, that’s where everything will go wrong. Meditate and perform breathing exercises before you step onto the podium.

Determine your strengths and weaknesses

You wouldn’t dare talk about sports if it isn’t your cup of tea, right? Don’t pretend to know more about a field you’re not into and don’t try to be someone else on stage. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage.

Do you have a great sense of humor? Deliver your punchlines on stage. Add a pinch of humor to your presentation here and there. Focus on your strengths. Just because a certain tactic worked for a particular speaker doesn’t mean it can work the same for you.

See public speaking as a performance

It is a performance, though. Delivering a speech or presentation is a performance in nature. Many speakers sought after acting coaches as well to teach them acting techniques that would help them overcome their stage fright and better deliver presentations.

People love dressing up as fictional characters or impersonate other people. It gives them a sense of liberty and somehow, the mask creates a different persona which then boosts their confidence. It’s the same for speakers. Actors claim the stage; speakers own the podium.

Take note of other speakers

Surely you need a little push and motivation, don’t you think? Watch TED talk presentations and the likes and take a cue from them. Here’s Susan Cain’s The power of introverts to warm up your nerves.

And here’s Chris Anderson’s TED’s Secret to Great Public Speaking.

Watch and take note: notice what kind of ice-breakers they use and how effective they are, how they seem to construct their presentation, how they introduce their topic, how they engage with their audience, their body language, how they educate their audience, how they closed their presentation?

Not everyone is born leaders and great speakers, but it’s a skill even the most timid can learn, practice and develop over time.

Focus

Your nerves can get the best of you during these times so it’s critical to keep a clear head and focused mind. Otherwise, you might scramble your statements and disconnect from the audience.

Keeping your mindset firm and clearly directed towards your goal, you won’t get distracted by people checking on their smartphones or those who are falling asleep. Your mind will instead, focus on those who are listening. Don’t cut the connection between you and the audience only because of the sleep guy at the back of the room.

Your focus is to deliver your message across clearly and to make an impact on your audience. Fill your mind with positive and warm thoughts.

Give yourself credit

Once you’re on the podium, you wouldn’t even notice the time. So the moment it’s over, do congratulate yourself for your performance. Sure it may not be perfect or flawless than you hoped it to be, or it could be for some; still, congratulate yourself for your bravery.

Stir away from remembering the mistakes you had committed, the points you forgot and missed, the things you didn’t that you should’ve, and the likes. Instead, focus on the  courageousness you’ve demonstrated on stage—it’s another milestone for your quest of achievement. You deserve all the credit, don’t deprive yourself of it just because of a few minor mishaps.

If you think you’re introverted self is far from being the next Gates or Zuckerberg, you’re obviously wrong. These techniques will help you take the stage and become a more confident speaker.

Any other tips and techniques you have under your sleeve? Share it with us!

About Chie Suarez

Aside from providing tips and hacks in personal and career development, Chie Suarez is also a resident writer for The Fordham Company — one of Australia’s top celebrity management companies and a major celebrity speakers bureau.

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