Volume - to be heard
When speaking to a larger audience, it is important to ensure that everyone can hear, not just the front row.
- Moderation is the key. Not too loud and not too soft
- Support your voice with steady breathing
- Instead of raising your voice, project it outwards
Clarity - to be understood
Nervousness can cause some people speak through clenched teeth and not move their lips, making them difficult to understand. For clear speech:
- Unclench your jaw, open your mouth
- Slow down
- Pay particular attention to clearly pronouncing the ends of words
Variety - to add interest
Even the most interesting subject can be made boring by a monotone pitch. To liven it up, mix it up. Imagine that you are communicating with friends or family and it won't feel so difficult. Variety can be achieved through variations in:
Tips for speaking confidently and effectively
Practise - There's no way around this. Practise makes perfect!
Make eye contact -- It's polite, and will hold attention. Pay attention to where your eyes are. Looking down at the floor you won't appear confident; whereas you will seem distracted or bored if your eyes dart around the room. If you're talking to a larger group, focus on a few friendly faces.
Speak slowly and don't be afraid to pause - Speaking too quickly will sound as though you're rambling or in a panic. Pause to gather your thoughts and to think about what you're going to say next. Slowing down and speaking thoughtfully makes pauses in speech more natural. Even very experienced public speakers sometimes use verbal pauses such as 'um' or 'uh'. They are the mind's way of changing gear so don't think that you have to avoid them completely. People understand if you are a little nervous.
Visualise success - Close your eyes and imagine the most confident and well-spoken version of yourself, dazzling with your words. Picturing the scenario you want can boost your confidence and move you towards success.
Know your audience - Knowing your audience will help you to speak with confidence. If you're addressing an interviewer, it's useful to know their position in the company and the position you are interviewing for. If you're addressing an audience try to find out as much about them or their group or organisation as you can. This will help you to prepare what to say.
Pay attention to your body language - Communication is not just about the words you use but also your body language. Focus on your posture and avoid slouching, fidgeting, rocking or pacing if you're standing up. Try to look ahead rather than down at the floor and keep your face and body relaxed even if you are not feeling that way.
Know your material and the points you wish to make - If you are interviewing for a job, find out as much as possible about the company, the person/people interviewing you, and the job you are interviewing for. Of course you know yourself and your skills, but make sure you are able to put this knowledge into words.
Avoid excessive slang - If you want to be well spoken, avoid using excessive slang. But don't go too far; if your potential boss is young and hip, you don't want to sound too formal and stilted.
Be concise - Part of speaking well means knowing what not to say. Avoid rambling. You don't have to give countless examples to prove a point when one or two strong examples will do. If you're giving a speech every word counts. Write it down and say it aloud. Reading your own words will indicate where you're being repetitive, and what you need to cut.