One of the downsides of being a member of a Toastmasters speaking club is that I find myself picking up on other speakers’ mistakes. I can’t help it sometimes.
Here are some tips on how to improve your speaking skills, but particularly related to networking:
I am not going to tell you how to network but some things may overlap.
Nerves – We All Have Them, They Help Us Focus
- take deep breaths before you start. It gets oxygen to the brain
- stand well grounded. You look serious rather than wobbling on one leg
- shoulders back and relaxed – opens up the chest for better breathing
- be confident in what you say and your product or service
- believe in yourself
- get out of your head – enjoy yourself & entertain your audience
- practice, practice, practice
- get used to your stage and surroundings
- insert humour – humour kills nerves
What You Say/Content
- purpose – what is the purpose of your pitch? Get to the point
- opening, body, close. In Toastmasters, every speech, however long, should have a strong opening to get the audiences attention, a body ( the detail) and a strong and memorable close
- use the power of 3. You can remember 3 points and the audience can take away 3 things. Keep it simple.
How You Say It
- speak clearly and don’t mumble. As we are all familiar with our name and company when we say it the words roll off our tongues too quickly. Others miss what you say, so speak clearly.
- be punchy. Don’t talk too long. Stop while you are ahead. Time your pitch!
- Eliminate ums and ahs and other crutch words – answer, use pauses
- avoid monotone(caused by nerves) – vary your voice, fast slow, loud, quieter.
- speak with passion/Deliver with energy
- ask rhetorical questions
- 1 to 1 – don’t face your audience
- be careful not to talk with your hands. Drop them to your side. Then when you do use them you have bigger gestures.
- and finally…smile, have fun and enjoy yourself.