Speaking publicly in front of an audience can be daunting, but rest assured, you are not alone. Studies show that one out of five people experiences public speaking anxiety, making it one of the most common forms of anxiety today.
Irrespective of the industry, one of the key professional skills is public speaking which can facilitate complex explanations and formal board presentations to the company stakeholders. Fortunately, with the right knowledge and training, everyone can learn the necessary skills to speak comfortably in front of co-workers or crowds.
Effectively implementing the following public speaking tips by a reputable Los Angeles PR firm, you can position yourself to deliver important information suavely at your next press conference.
Control your Voice
Your voice is the most basic yet fundamental communication tool you possess, and using it properly can make or break your public speaking. Try diaphragmatic breathing to give your voice greater clarity, power, and control, preventing shortness of breath caused by anxiety.
Start by relaxing your belly and letting it expand while you breathe. Use the 4-4-4 rule, where you inhale, hold your breath, and exhale for four seconds each. Before the press conference, use diaphragmatic breathing to control your pitch, tone, and volume.
Practice and then Practice Some More
After you have prepared your speech, start practicing it as much as possible in front of a mirror. You can also record yourself to correctly identify any issues with your tone, speed, facial expressions, or body language.
Another way is to practice in front of your family members or friends and ask for their honest feedback. See which areas need more work and consider giving it extra time.
If you need help with public speak, take the opportunity to attend events with public speakers on different topics. Closely observe their skills, and see what works and what doesn’t. See if there are certain things you would change about the speech and what you did and didn’t enjoy about the topic. The more you practice, the better you will get.
Control your Delivery
Delivery is the way you talk and an important factor that determines if people understand your speech. To control your delivery, speak slowly, as you would normally. Avoid rushing through your sentences since they will be hard for people to follow. But do not speak very slowly either, or you will bore your audience.
While speaking, take regular pauses between sentences, as that will give people enough time to absorb your message and make you seem more confident.
Another important tip is to articulate your thoughts rather than mumbling and avoid using too many filler words, such as “like,” “umm,” or “right .” Filler words make you seem juvenile and unsure of yourself, so instead, take a silent pause for a few seconds.
Engage the Audience
Engage your audience in your speech at the press conference with your hand gestures, maintaining eye contact, smiling, or even asking them questions. This will not only help you grab their attention but also temporarily take the limelight away from you. Involving the audience in your public speak will also make a lasting impression on them, help them feel more connected to you, and lift some tension from the room.
Begin with a Story
As humans, we like listening to stories because it triggers the area of our brain that would activate if we were involved in the experience ourselves. For this reason, stories receive a better response than cookie-cutter corporate speech. Use the power of storytelling to seem more relatable, thus bonding with your audience.
A question, story, or anecdote at the start of the press conference can heighten the audience’s curiosity and encourage them to ask better questions.
Know Your Audience
It is common to expect a team of journalists while holding a press conference. However, knowing which journalists are invited and the kind of questions they will ask will give you a good head start about what to expect.
If your company is launching a new product and the conference is being held to provide awareness, then it is best to study your product inside out and anticipate all related questions. It is advisable to get in touch with your management to discuss which topics are not to be disclosed and to what extent information can be given out.
Ditch the Script
When answering questions or explaining concepts, make it a point not to read from a script, as that can give off an unprofessional look. If you have prepared paper notes, use a simple outline containing a few words that can act as a quick reminder of what needs to be covered. Keep looking at the audience and try gauging from their expressions whether they understand your concepts or if there is any need for further clarification.
Be Prepared for the Nerves
Even the most professional public speakers sometimes struggle with nerves and stage fright. Despite how thoroughly you are prepared or how confident you are, it is still normal to find yourself overcome with nerves at some point during the press conference. Be mentally prepared for this, and remember that nobody is looking for perfection.
If you encounter any problems, try not to make a big deal out of it. Focus on connecting with your audience rather than being the most eloquent speaker. Use humor to ease the tension and try to play it cool rather than dwelling on it.
Make a Strong Last Impression
Last impressions are just as important as first impressions, leaving a certain image in your audience’s minds. When concluding your press conference, add a strong message, such as a neutral call to action, a memorable or playful quote, or even a summary of the most important points discussed. Thank your audience.
Public speaking is a valuable skill in the corporate world. If you experience anxiety while addressing crowds, a Los Angeles PR firm can help by offering you the best tips and practice sessions. While a common fear, speaking publicly at a conference or a product launch ceremony is a skill that can be mastered over time.
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