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Chief of Product Management at Lifehack Read full profile. The feeling of panic can arise as we desperately search for the right words yet this usually causes that mental block of appropriate topics to talk about. So why exactly does this happen? Having a few good techniques under your belt is essential for these exact moments. It will not only help you socially, allowing you to forge better building blocks for potential friendships, but also in professional connections where networking is important.
Many people believe that for people to want to build some kind of relationship, they must win them over with interesting or humorous chat. People generally like to talk about themselves. Asking questions shows a level of personal interest and causes the other person to feel cared for. You do this by paying attention and observing the person to find clues. For example, if they look particularly tired, ask them what they did yesterday. The key is to ask open-ended questions and get them talking rather than questions that elicit yes or no answers. This allows the person to elaborate more, keep the conversation going and helps you find more clues to their personality.
The point of this is to find a universal topic. Not everyone knows about the latest technological advances or fashions but you know everyone has a passion or at least an opinion on food. If you have little knowledge on the subject it can be hard to add your opinions and awkward silences can ensue. A good technique in this case, is to rephrase what the other person has said.
Sharing things about yourself can seem unnatural to some — especially introverts. A person is more likely to remember the feeling of an awkward silence with you over a seemingly meaningless conversation about what you ate yesterday or what new gadget you bought. The idea is to be confident in bringing up any topic. Always keep this in mind. Know-it-alls do have a tendency to dominate conversations which we all know can turn people off.
Eugene is Lifehack's Entrepreneurship Expert. He is the co-founder and creative lead of HighSpark, offering presentation training for companies. Read full profile. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body — your heartbeat has gone off the charts.
Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside. Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:. The audience will notice you are nervous. If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body.
Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements. Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time: Advertising. Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience?
This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out. A sip of water will do the trick. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly. Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. Meditation is like a workout for your mind.
It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength. Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure. Do I look funny? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me?
Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose — contributing something of value to your audience. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.
There are two sides constantly battling inside of us — one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed? What if I forget what to say? All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves.
This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy — a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech. However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged.
You can end up freezing should you forget something. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts. Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content — a definite way to stress themselves out. Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Deing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.
One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.
In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand. Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice — whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect! Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker. To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member with a hopefully calming face and speak to a single person at a time during your speech.
With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back. You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up.
You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself. As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time. Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech: Advertising. Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:.
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