Haris Ahmed (Chicago) Consulting Firm Pragmatium Consulting Inc. On Basic Techniques of Public Speaking
Haris Ahmed (Chicago) management consulting firm Pragmatium Consulting Group Inc. has personally coached over a hundred business leaders, and is an experienced facilitator, having led numerous team-building sessions for public organizations and private corporations alike.
Whether you’re a new graduate or a seasoned executive, strong communication skills can greatly boost your career, particularly public speaking. While the opportunity to speak in front of a large audience isn’t given to everyone, the lessons learned from public speaking can still be applied to many things. For instance, the manner with which you present yourself and get your ideas across can influence decisions in your organization. That said, if you have little experience with public speaking, here are some of the most basic but tried and tested techniques that can make up the core of your presentation strategy:
Engagement – Believe it or not, public speaking is less about the speaker in front or at the podium, and more about the audience. Many public speakers today still turn to engagement to help ensure that their audience is listening and able to keep up with the thoughts and ideas presented to them. Engagement entails the audience’s active involvement, whether they are asking questions, or participating in games and icebreakers. Engagement doesn’t always have to be done at the beginning of a presentation as well. You may be able to catch your audience’s attention with a hook, but holding that interest throughout the duration of your talk is another matter. Therefore, when it comes to engagement, use it as often as needed to check in on your audience.
Storytelling – There are many kinds of hooks, each with its own merits, but storytelling is possibly the most powerful. This is because oral storytelling is as old as human language itself, which means to say that for thousands of years, storytelling has been used by primitive cultures to communicate, entertain, and educate. As a rule of thumb, personal stories are best, as they can make the presenter seem more relatable or less intimidating.
Of course, the impact on the audience will depend on the kind of story you want to share, but know that light and humorous stories can just be as effective as tragic or dramatic ones. Impact will depend on your delivery as well. If you go with the former, other factors may come into play, such as wit and comedic timing, but even if you suspect your story isn’t as engaging or compelling, as long as you tell it in a way that’s authentic, then the battle is half won.
Body language – Have you ever thought about what signals your face or body could be giving away while you’re up on stage, speaking? Body language, in fact, is a powerful tool that can make an impact on your audience. Do you unwittingly raise your eyebrows too much, or make hand gestures? Think about how you space as well, whether you tend to stay still or move around to get closer to your audience.
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