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Perhaps you recognize this situation: You are at a conference or work-related meeting listening to numerous presentations by subject area experts. You could listen to some people for hours, whereas longing for others to wrap up. What is the reason for this? Today I’m going to share a few professional tips and techniques with you.
Professionals pay attention to their breathing, which remains quiet and relaxed, even if they are speaking on stage in front of thousands of people. The technique: Belly—instead of chest—breathing! Take a deep breath into your belly. Check to see if your belly is rising and falling as you breathe in and out. People who take a few deep breaths before entering the stage and starting a speech are more relaxed and make a more professional impression than other speakers.
You probably are familiar with this: When you speak for some length of time, your mouth becomes dry; this leads many speakers to reach for their water glass. Professionals know how it's done: they drink before they speak, thereby avoiding unpleasant throat-clearing. Lukewarm water is the best choice. Carbonated drinks can lead to burping!
If you prepare your speech in a professional manner, you will know it by heart before you present it. This can lead to speaking faster and faster on the day of the presentation. The disadvantage: Listeners hearing the speech for the first time do not have enough time to follow your thoughts. Professionals are aware of this: They consciously include pauses in their speech, so that everyone can follow their explanations.
The inclusion of pauses in a speech can lead less experienced speakers to verbally fill in the gaps. Um... Well.... OK.... are just a few of the filler words that have no place in a professional speech. A helpful hint: After every sentence, think “Full stop – Pause”; this leaves no room for other (spoken) words. This technique also slows down your rate of delivery.
Were these tips helpful and do you want to optimize your speaking skills? I can assist you in delivering more effective presentations.