Guest Post: Speak up! (How to Develop Your Speaking Skills)

instructionMany of us shudder just thinking about speaking in front of other adults. There will be people listening to you and maybe even asking questions! What can be more terrifying?

However, it is important to develop this skill as you will have to use it on many different occasions. You will have to give a short speech on a job interview when asked to tell about yourself, share your values, or explain why you think you are perfect for the position. You need to give short speeches when communicating with people around you, be it encouraging your team’s productivity or talking to your kids when explaining some important ground rules to them.

It all requires effective communication skills which you can learn when creating speeches. However, since not all of us are born great speakers, you might need to develop this skill. And in this article we have gathered a few ideas for you on how to do it, what techniques you should keep in mind when creating speeches, as well as what one should avoid in order to prepare a great speech.

Tips on how to develop better communication skills

  1.    Avoid “conversation fillers.”

Most people do it: we feel awkward while thinking about what to say, so we opt for filling the conversation with annoying sounds like “umm” and “ahh.” If you are anything like this, then we are begging you to stop. This doesn’t make you a better speaker. Moreover, people you are talking to get a feeling that you are not confident enough as well as lack persuasiveness.

So, make sure to avoid doing this. Take notice of every time you do it, and stop right away. This will improve the impression you make on your target audience.

  1.    Practice giving speeches on all occasions.

“Practice makes perfect.” This could not be truer here. That is why we highly recommend our readers to train their communication skills on every occasion. If you are going to a party, propose a toast. Of course, it’s better if you prepare notes of what you are going to say. If you are having a family dinner, practice by giving thanks to the hostess and every family member. Being grateful does not hurt and can be beneficial to your communication skills.

All in all, practice, practice, and more practice.

  1.    Be specific.

Nothing kills a speech faster than the uncertainty of the speaker. Listeners try their best to figure out what the speaker wants them to learn, and the speaker gets a feeling that they completely missed their target, and it all adds up to their fear of speaking publicly.

Therefore, if you want to have influence, your speeches should have a very certain point, clear conclusions as well as a challenge at the end of the speech which will call an audience to action.

  1.    Keep it short.

Do not underestimate this point. You need to be specific but you also have to organize your thoughts in short sentences. This makes them easier to understand and comprehend. Moreover, ideas expressed briefly are more likely to be memorized.

Using this tip will leave your target audience with a feeling that you appreciate their attention and value their time.

Therefore, being brief will help you to become a better speaker.

  1.    Ask more questions.

Asking questions is one of the keys to successful communication. You get to stay focused and tuned to what the other person is talking about. When you ask questions, you show that you are interested in what they say, so you increase the quality of this conversation. On top of that, you increase the chances that the other person will listen to you too.

Finally, asking questions will help you to avoid awkwardness. Instead of filling the silence with “umm”s and “ahh”s, you can ask a question that might clarify the opinion this person has about certain things as well as stir up a new conversation on a different topic once the previous one seems to be exhausted.

So, remember to ask questions on different occasions.

  1.    Listen carefully.

Being a good speaker is equally important to being a good listener. By listening closely to what the other person is saying, you can master the skill of speaking to them in the same language. You will decrease the risk of misunderstandings as well as conflicts which they may result in.

So, a simple act of listening can improve your communication skills significantly.

To summarize all that was said above, being a brilliant speaker is a skill you can master, especially if you use our simple but powerful ideas. Don’t expect to see the results overnight. However, be sure that the improvements will definitely come soon. So, do not waste time and start practicing right away!

About our Guest Author: Jacob Chambless works as an educator at Jacksonville University. He is always ready to help students, sharing his experience and tips on particular subjects. Jacob’s passions writing articles and sharing knowledge with other people. You can read more from Jacob at his blog (https://life-underwriting.com/category/blog/ ) or reach out to him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jacob.chambless.1) or on Twitter (@jacob_chambless).

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