While this awkward situation might seem inevitable, there are some effective ways to counteract your trepidation.
Don’t leave your audience guessing! For a pitch perfect meeting, here are our six helpful tips:
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Allot some time to pause
Instead of delivering your speech in one whole paragraph, try breaking it down into portions that are more manageable – this will help you to reduce the speed of your delivery.
Alternatively, you can also flex and pulse your toes inside your shoes (just like musicians in symphony orchestras) to serve as a physical reminder to slow down. This will also help you to determine whether your listeners can keep up with the pace.
Get some inspiration
Make use of various social media platforms to learn from great speakers and personalities. Try surfing some videos on YouTube or read some articles on the internet about famous people who are accustomed to public speaking, such as Steve Jobs and Barack Obama – this can help you to emulate their best speaking habits to incorporate into your own presentations.
Listen to your own speech
It might feel a little ‘cringy’ and embarrassing at first but by listening to your own voice you will get new insights and a better understanding of your delivery. Record and time yourself while speaking at a normal rate, to establish how ‘well’ you come across on the first recording. You can then work on the speed, intonation and other adjustments and re-record yourself to ensure you’re doing it right the second time around.
Call a friend
Find someone who is trustworthy enough to help you practice – a close friend, a colleague, your sibling or anyone who will give an honest opinion to critique your speaking skills. Take this opportunity to let them observe your mistakes – things you might not see for yourself. Allow them to point out your strengths and weaknesses to highlight any areas you need to improve upon.
Read factual books and reports
Practicing over a children’s book, a newspaper report or your favourite reading material can help you to assess your speech. Read the content out loud as if you’re in front of an actual audience and adjust your speed until you feel that your pace is acceptable.
Patience is the key
The biggest challenge of all is not your long speech or your audience; it’s your own self. Try to convince yourself that you need to break your bad habits to bring out the best in your communication skills. Learn to face criticisms and never get tired of practicing – you’ll be as good as the speakers you look up to in no time.
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Posted by Sara Cano