Not everyone is born with a natural ability to speak confidently in front of an audience. Many of us had to learn public speaking techniques the same way we learned any other skill. This points discussed further will immensely help someone who is preparing to give a speech or just wants to enhance their public speaking skills. These techniques will help you deliver your speech or presentation in a powerful and flawless way.
Famous people like Warren Buffett and Mahatma Gandhi, early in their lives, suffered from Glossophobia (a fear of public speaking). And look at where they ended up later. If they can overcome their weaknesses, you can too. One statistic shows that about 74 percent of people suffer from speech anxiety. Likewise, 5.3 million Americans suffer from social phobia. Public speaking is the number one fear people have.
Here are some tried and tested techniques that will help you become a better speaker. Try them out today.
1. Tell stories
Storytelling is the number one public speaking technique every leader or professional communicator should possess. It is so powerful that even if you are not good at any other technique mentioned in this post, you will still win the hearts of your audience. Storytelling works better when addressing a group than it does when talking to someone one on one.
When you tell a story, you are simply sharing information without coming off as sales-y. This is the reason why storytelling works. It creates comfort between you and the listener. There are so many people out there who are trying to persuade by being pushy or by using clever lines that they may have learned in a sales course. But guess what? Today’s audience is clever. They are aware of the tricks and techniques people use to dupe them or sell them things they don’t want.
2. Trigger emotions
Emotions generated in our body are a natural response to any external stimuli we receive. We all have emotions, and we can’t live without them. As far as public speaking is concerned, these emotions can be a deciding factor. The kind of emotions you trigger can decide whether the audience reciprocates to your messages or not. If you make people feel good, they will comply with you and vice versa.
In sales situations, it is very important to trigger the right emotions in your audience or the individual you are talking to. I am not asking you to manipulate people. But if you don’t convey the right messages, you won’t make the sale.
Emotions are important in public speaking because most people, irrespective of how smart they are, still make decisions based on how they feel. They may later think logically about it but only after a bit of emotional investment. So, don’t forget to trigger emotions either by telling an emotive story or by feeling the emotion yourself.
3. Attractive body language
Body language is an advanced communication tool used by powerful men and women all over the world. Most politicians use hidden signals or pull off power moves which put them in a dominant position in relation to their opponent. They use body language because it’s not possible to bluntly say everything. It can offend certain people especially if you are in a leadership position and cannot afford to lose your following.
One quick way to have an attractive body language is to have a smile on your face and keep your shoulders squared. This will show that you are a confident person who is not afraid to show his/her real personality. This also disarms your audience as they feel at ease with the idea of you being on the stage and lecturing them. This may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but with practice, you will become more comfortable and free to take the center stage.
4. Practice everyday
It’s easy to read and understand the techniques mentioned in this article, but without practice, you will never be able to implement them in real life. Without practice, your desire to learn public speaking techniques will never come to fruition. So, read further to learn how to practice public speaking.
Professional soccer players don’t just run around or kick the ball without any intent. They have a system which they follow; a system which makes them better each day. Likewise, for you, it’s important to practice public speaking by following tried and tested methods.
One easy way to practice public speaking is by going out to bars or nightclubs and talking to random people. This way you get over your fear of what people think about you and feel free to express yourself without the fear of messing up.
Moreover, if you are afraid to make a mistake in front of your audience, you can record yourself while practicing the same speech in your home. In retrospect, you get priceless feedback. With repetition, you get better as you will make fewer mistakes the next time you practice. You can also join your local Toastmasters Club which I have found to be very helpful in helping you get more confident and better at public speaking.
5. Use a slideshow presentation
The main purpose of a slideshow presentation is to provide your audience with a context of what you are talking about. It should be used as a guideline or a signboard for your listeners and not as a notepad for yourself.
To make the most of your presentation slide, you can make it reader-friendly by using fewer words per bullet point and keeping the font size large enough for everyone to comfortably read. Moreover, you can also add pictures and short videos to your slide if you think they will help convey the message better. So, create a stunning slideshow next time you are about to give a presentation.
6. Hire a vocal coach
If you are one of those people who has a thin voice or has problems speaking from your diaphragm, then the best solution for you would be to hire a vocal coach. There is no point in learning all these public speaking techniques if your voice doesn’t resonate properly. Simply stated, you won’t be able to command respect from your audience if you have a weak voice.
7. Dress impeccably
Your clothes are another measure of creating a powerful stage presence.- So, if you walk up on stage poorly dressed, you will not make a good impression.- Ideally, it should not matter what you wear but that is not how the world of public speaking works. You have to put up a show.
The choice of your clothes should be based on what kind of event you are going to. For a business event, you must wear a suit or well ironed formal clothes. On the other hand, for casual parties, it is completely fine to wear shiny and outrageous clothes. Moreover, the clothes you wear also affect your mood. This is why some men like to wear their favorite shirt before going on a date or an important meeting.
8. Make people laugh
Some people are naturally humorous. They find something funny in everything they observe or experience. Moreover, it is very easy for them to add humor to their speeches when they are talking in front of a crowd. It is important to note that humor cannot be forced or rehearsed. But you can still be funny if you are not a born comedian.
To make people laugh, you first need to find out what makes you laugh. Once you know what situations, lines, events, etc. crack you up, you can use those in your presentations or speeches. It is also important to not take yourself too seriously. Here, self-deprecating humor comes into play. When talking to a group of people, you can make fun of yourself. But don’t go overboard. Or else people will think you lack self-respect.
Storytelling and use of emotive language would be the two most important things for effective public speaking. Listen to the speeches from people like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. They always share details from their past that generate curiosity in the listeners. people like them because of their ability to express their ideas freely and articulately.
Be an Entrepreneur: Be Your Own Boss
Being your own boss fascinates a lot of people, but a few really see the toils and struggles behind the glamour of the idea. When people realize what being your own boss actually means, you see them falter. My job isn’t that bad, they say. What they fail to understand is that to get a taste of success, you first need to sweat over building your business.
On 11th April 1910, a 27-year-old club singer Gabrielle opened a tiny shop at 21, Rue Cambon, Paris. She wanted to sell hats.
Orphaned at the age of 12, Gabrielle had been raised by nuns who taught her how to sew, a skill that led to her life’s work. Three years later, she opened two new stores at Deauville and Biarritz, where she first tasted success when she designed a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. A few years later, Gabrielle, nicknamed ‘Coco’ from her days as a singer, launched the immensely popular perfume, Chanel No.5 and thus the fashion label Chanel was born.
First used in 1723, today the term entrepreneur implies qualities of initiative, leadership, and innovation in business. An entrepreneur is an opportunity seeker, a generator of new ideas and business processes. Economist Robert Reich has called team-building, leadership, and management ability essential qualities for an entrepreneur.
But why become an entrepreneur at all? Why leave the comforts and the structure of an established firm, to work 12 hours a day out of a basement?
Mike Templeman, CEO of Foxtail Marketing, says “As an entrepreneur, I always have a story to tell. Whenever I tell someone I run my own business, they always want to know what I do, how I do it and how it’s going. I always am able to provide a tale or two, and the best part is that I get to determine the story’s chapters.”
Have you ever been fired? As an entrepreneur, you run the show. Plain and simple. This is your company, your brand, your pride, and joy. You are financially independent. Initially, you’ll work for longer hours, but if you keep at it and do it right, the freedom that being an entrepreneur provides is unmatched.
A start-up also provides a brilliant learning experience. Ashim Seth, founder of Chicago based Seth Business Co. says, “The lack of structure in a start-up is precisely what leads to better learning as compared to big corporations, especially for youngsters.”
Entrepreneurs develop new ideas all the time, but how do you know when to pursue one further? Therefore it is extremely necessary to ask yourself some essential questions before you leap. Do others think my idea is good? Will people pay for it? Why am I the person to make it happen? Henry Ford, with Ford Motor Company, became successful simply by building the first car for the middle-class American, thus converting the automobile from a luxury item to a practical conveyance.
So list your options and do plenty of research. Think like the customer. Analyze the competition. Build your own idea.
However, while many new businesses boom, many fail as well. An entrepreneur is required to put his career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending time as well as capital on an uncertain venture. “Though there is nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you are responsible for your employees’ success, at the beginning you also have to work hard every day to keep them convinced that joining you was the right decision,” says Gaurav Kumar, Associate Director, KPMG.
An idea may be too novel, or the market may simply not be ready for a new entry. What is important to understand is that a failure is an option. Successful entrepreneurs excel at adapting to new obstacles.
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something.”
– Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.
Have you ever wanted to do more? To do good? As an entrepreneur, you also decide where the profits of your company go. You can fund an NGO, or a charity, or even hire the homeless. HarVa, founded by BITS Pilani graduate Ajay Chaturvedi in 2008, is the first BPO set up in rural India which has hired and trained 500 women in Haryana as part of its first project.
So decide what you want to do. Make a plan. And work on it every day. Change the world in your own little way.
How to Simplify Your Business Systems to Achieve Growth
Here’s a growth strategy: simplify your business systems.
Maybe your workflows are tried and tested. Everyone knows them and does them. This is how you’ve achieved growth after all. But now, you’ve hit a slump. And we know what will happen if you keep doing the same thing:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
As a side note, this quote has been misattributed to Albert Einstein. But somebody traced it back to a 1983 book by Rita Mae Brown, a mystery novelist.
With that out of the way, let me ask you to change your core business systems. Inefficient systems can cost you more. You run the risk of losing 20% to 30% of your revenue if you don’t deal with them. No, this doesn’t mean you need to add more to gain more. But you will have to trim, discard, merge, and automate.
Let’s do this.
The following steps can be applied either on overarching systems or standalone systems:
1. Visualize Your Workflows
Create a system flowchart or process map to ensure everyone is looking at the same big picture. You can use tools like Lucidchart for faster implementation.
If you’re reviewing an entire business system, it would be more efficient to have the core teams meet separately first. Let them brainstorm and map out their recommendations. If the main concern is a specific system, then meet with the team involved and other key individuals. Let the team head prepare a visual to have everyone on the same page.
2. Evaluate Each Operation’s Importance
Overhauling an entire system entails a thorough analysis of its components. When looking at the subsystems, ask what they’re supposed to do. Be clear about their purpose. Some aspects have a more obvious impact than others. If you’re in e-commerce, logistics management workflow is a good example. But how about marketing? Where does this team’s work start and end?
So, have a stated purpose for each system. Once you’ve nailed that, ask: are they performing according to expectations?
To answer that, focus on their output and output value. For instance, the marketing team is in charge of raising brand and product awareness. It’s also tasked to oversee customer experience in many cases nowadays. Ensuring marketing operations are streamlined actually helps the entire business. This translates to a high output value for this system.
Do the same thing to all of your core systems. Then rank them using the highest to lowest output value metric. Aside from the output value, you can combine outputs measured in dollars (market share increase) and outcomes measured by their long-term effects (improved public image)
3. Zoom In On the Steps
After ranking the systems, see if you can afford to take a shortcut or declutter a clunky system. Looking at each process workflow, identify steps that you need to eliminate, merge, do simultaneously, and/or automate.
- Merge or parallel – Are there redundant steps in your system? Would your system benefit from merging two or more steps? Are there steps that need to be done simultaneously instead of one waiting for the other to finish?
- Automate – Is there a series of steps you can automate? Are there parts of the process that can be performed with reduced human input? What solutions exist on the market? Can you leverage those without compromising output quality?
- Outsource – What steps in your process do you lack expertise in? Can you afford to hire and train new talent to perform them? If not, are you willing to outsource them to another company or an individual? Will you be able to afford to outsource?
- Eliminate – Are there unnecessary steps in your system? Are your people performing tasks that are of low value? Are there specific bottlenecks that have kept your process from running smooth? Will you benefit from replacing or removing them altogether?
4. Refine The System
By now, your flowchart or map may look very different from the one you started with. But the revamp does not end with a new visual. Once again, you need to gather key individuals and fine-tune your output. Your business will benefit the most if you include two sets of people in the brainstorming session.
- Experienced Members
Bring in your experienced team members. Their insight and perspective run deep, especially if they’ve been in the business for a long time. They’re also probably attuned to the changes that required the overhaul. And they have a track record for helping the company cross over in the past. One downside, however, is that they may be attached to the processes more than the new ones.
You may invite an experienced individual (consultant) from a different industry. He or she will be your fresh pair of eyes. This person will let you see blind spots that you and your managers may have missed. Having someone with a strong technological background can help you identify which processes to automate or streamline using technology.
Additionally, you can include some new team members who can address blind spots and have strong technological skills.
5. Apply Growth Hacking
Growth hacking was coined by Sean Ellis after the method he’d been using led to the sustainable growth of companies like Dropbox and Eventbrite. Growth hacking comprises testing and learning approaches within short timelines and small budgets. It’s famous among startups but can be applied to any business.
So, how do you apply this in your business systems? Now that you have a new and simplified business system, you will have to focus your thinking on delivering value.
“Value drives customer retention, which is a prerequisite for generating sustainable growth.” -Sean Ellis
Identify the common success metric for your company. Growth hackers call this the North Star Metric (NSM), which should reflect the aggregate value delivered to your customers. Test ways to improve the performance of this metric. This also requires your core growth team to meet, evaluate, and iterate each week.
Given all the steps above, you might be thinking about setting aside time to simplify your business systems. What’s a 90-minute brainstorming session compared to the revenue you’d lose if you stayed with the inefficient, clunky one you currently have?
In doing this, you’ll also be documenting your processes and stating purposes. It will be easier for your managers to pass the message down to their team members. The big picture will become clear for everyone. And your growth machine will be set in motion once again.
7 Secrets to A Healthy Work-Life Balance
Do you feel like something is wrong with how your days are turning out?
It seems you’re on the edge of burnout, or you’re hearing loved ones complain about your “workaholism.”
You should probably consider if you’re having a healthy work-life balance, or work-life integration. If that is truly the issue, then you can do something about it. And you might want to learn the secrets to transformation.
These secrets are principles or data you can use to approach work/non-work. They are not specific steps because everyone differs in their circumstance. And so, everyone also differs in their approach.
1. Know If You’re a Segmentor or an Integrator
Sociologist Christena Nippert-Eng suggests there are two types of people when it comes to boundaries set between life and work. These are the segmentors and integrators. Other studies support these categories, although it’s a common theme across the existing corpus to not think about them as fixed or opposing poles.
- Segmentors – People who draw a clear line between personal life and work. Forgetting about their job once they have left the office comes more naturally to them. Some show this tendency by having a separate calendar for professional commitments, or deliberately not choosing to prop family photos on their work desks.
- Integrators – People who mesh work and life with ease. One of their strongest points is the ability to engage deeply with work. They can transition seamlessly from responding to work emails to having dinner with their spouse at dinner. These are also the workers who are likely to benefit from a company having onsite childcare.
Most people are not 100% segmentors or 100% integrators. But knowing which side of the spectrum you’re leaning toward can help you customize a balancing strategy. Why? There is always room to become better. For instance, segmentors can be okay with bringing their family to company parties. And integrators can prioritize their spouse over a work email during dinner.
2. Change From Within
I’m sure you’ve heard about people embracing digital detox (avoiding devices tied to work). Or you’ve encountered someone being mindful about the time they spend in the office. These individuals have seen some negative consequences of their past actions and are trying to change the present. It doesn’t matter much if they’re doing this or that. The point is they’re working toward more favorable results.
One of the things that can stop you in your tracks is copying another person’s idea of change. It could be their lifestyle, eating habits, and even opinions about work-life balance. It’s because you’re also likely to expect the same results they’re having.
Change must come from within. That means looking inward, being honest, and aiming for a realistic assessment. Only then should you seek the advice of people who have gone through a similar experience. Because now you have probed the cause of your problem.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Whether you’re a segmentor or an integrator, practice mindfulness. This ancient practice traces its roots to eastern religions. However, these days, it can also simply mean intentionally bringing your attention to the present. That is, deliberately causing your mind to return to a task if you’ve been distracted.
If you’re with your spouse, then give your full attention to him or her. Be fully aware of his or her presence. Whether you’re in a restaurant having a date or in the bedroom conversing. That sounds more applicable to integrators since segmentors are good at compartmentalizing. But mindfulness also enables everyone to become productive.
4. Make a To-Do List Before You Sleep
Well, didn’t I say no sharing of specific steps? You might be thinking “make a to-do list” is not a principle or data. It is a step. But before you grill me further, let me give you the rationale behind this fourth secret. This habit is about taking control, which is in our nature to desire.
Having an overview of tomorrow’s tasks offers you that sense of control. You’re more eager to let go. You won’t be going to bed anxious. Your brain is convinced by the list you made and won’t cause you to lose sleep over a problem at work. That can wait till morning.
5. Determine Your “One Simple Thing”
People at Google have a goal-setting practice that prioritizes personal well-being. They call it the “One Simple Thing.” Some examples are “I will take a one-hour break 3 times a week to work out” and “I will not read emails on the weekends.”
Employees share what’s in their “One Simple Thing” worksheet with their boss. And their boss will hold them accountable to their goals. It’s a simple tool that encourages you to be proactive about your work-life integration. And the involvement of your boss adds a more personal and connected component to it.
6. Get Help From Technology
Productivity tools abound on the web. But not all of them are effective. Otherwise, we should all be masters of productivity by now. On top of productivity, however, you should also be seeking tools that force you to stop when you don’t know how to stop.
Boomerang for Gmail is one. It prevents you from reading emails after work hours. You can also set the Do Not Disturb mode on Slack to pause notifications. Further, if you’re a manager, you can set default DND hours on the app for your entire team. Let technology help you regain control over your life, not the other way around.
7. Remember that Balancing is Like Riding a Bike
Life is chaotic. It’s impossible to achieve perfection on all fronts. It’s impossible to even be okay on all fronts most of the time. So I want you to think of balance as a continuous effort. It doesn’t actually end. It’s like riding a bike. If you keep pedaling, you keep moving forward. But riding a bike is not just a means of transport, it’s also a balancing act.
That said, pursuing a healthy work-life balance is necessary for you to keep moving forward. So don’t worry if you’re not that good at it yet. One day, it’ll be as natural for you as breathing. And balancing will have become a way to live.
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