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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Public Speaking

Public Speaking 101
Sophia Sinha, Infosys

Every time I go in front of an audience; however small, my heart beats faster, I have butterflies in my stomach and my hands go cold. Trust me it happens to the best of us. Only a few lucky ones are blessed with the ‘No Nervousness’ gene. So if you suffer from the “scared of audience” syndrome just remember you can over come it because, “NOTHING is impossible, the word itself says so – I’M POSSIBLE.”

Here are a few tricks from the trade of public speaking:

1.    If you are writing your own material, then make sure you have done ample research on the same. This will make you feel more confident as you will know the topic inside out.
2.    Whenever given a topic to speak on, make sure you write your own speech. It is seen that when you write your own speech you tend to remember what you worked on rather than getting the material and reciting it as is.
3.    If material has been given to you to speak from, find out if you can change it to suit your style.
4.    If the material cannot be rewritten then go through the article / material thoroughly and do your own research on the topic to feel more comfortable with it. If possible write it down once so you can remember it better.
5.    Once you have made yourself comfortable with the material you can now begin practicing. The best place to practice is in front of the mirror. This way you will see yourself in action and can change your posture, expressions, etc.
6.    Always make sure to have your grammar and pronunciations are correct.
7.    Spoken English is different from written English so make sure you have your punctuations where they are meant to be.
8.    Pauses should be well timed and not too often and definitely for not more than a few (3 – 4) seconds.
9.    Practice in front of your own audience. Get you family or friends to listen to you before you face the real audience. Tell them to be objective in their criticism and listen to them when they give their inputs.
10.    Finally rewrite the speech without looking at it; this way you will be able to figure out how much you remember.
Remember a good presentation / speech will work only if you are confident and believe in what you are speaking about. A smile also takes the speech a long way. So smile, practice hard and talk to your audience. Good luck!

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