SPEAKING is a part of our day to day lives. Every day we communicate with our family, friends, peers, coworkers, supervisors, and clients. Our verbal skills are the keys to good communication.
Let's look at some things you can do to improve your speaking skills.
1. Developing Your Voice - a high soft voice or a high whiney voice won't be taken seriously or given the authority they should. Use exercises to help lower your voice's pitch.
2. Slow Down - Practice slowing down your speech. This is one of the hardest things to do but it is key if you want to improve speaking skills.
When we are nervous, we tend to speak faster and then your audience will have trouble understanding you. Rehearse with this in mind.
3. Learn to Enunciate Your Words - It's important that you speak clearly and don't mumble. It's also important that you pronounce words correctly.
4. Body Language - Body language is important to your message. Even small hand gestures can be important to how your message is delivered.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice - You'll only really become a better English speaker if you practice a lot, so practice wherever and whenever you can.
6. Experiment with What You Know - Use the words and phrases you already have in your vocabulary in a different context to become a more effective English speaker
7. Build Your Confidence - Learning how to construct simple English sentences that will communicate your message effectively.
8. Ask WHY - Do you feel nervous or have some sort of fear when someone asks you to give a presentation? I suppose many of us do. This habit will help you dissolve that fear.
The habit of asking WHY you are giving the presentation is fundamental to overcome your anxiety. It gives some direction to your presentation. Let me give a practical scenario.
In most of the cases, someone will invite you to speak. The person is called the presentation planner.
Even if your boss is asking you to take a session, he is playing the role of a presentation planner. The presentation planner is your ally.
The more WHYs you ask the planner, the easier it is for you.
Get into the habit of interviewing the presentation planner and for example, ask, "Jim, why do we need this presentation?" He might give you some pointers.
Let's say he says, "We need to empower our staff to handle the pressure of releasing the new product within one month".
10. Jot down you words - Are you a natural speaker? Do you think, "I am going to speak, why should I write it down?"
There are natural speaker's out there, who can give solid speeches off the cuff, without having a single word written down. That is, however, the exception.
For most people writing down the presentation is the only way to deliver a clear presentation.
Even those "natural speakers" can usually do a better job with some form of outline to make sure their narrative does not wander.
11. Care for the Audience - When you are "live" before an audience, do you get concerned about what the audience will think about your language, clothes, background, etc.
? These things matter to a certain extent, but they are not worth your attention when delivering a speech.
As a speaker, people are generally classified into three levels.
* You are only concerned about you. You think: "Am I going to deliver without making any mistakes", "Am I dressed properly", etc.
** You are concerned about your content. You think: "Is the listener getting what I am saying" or "Is my message good enough for them".
You can get flustered if there are any disturbances such as PowerPoint do not work, or power shuts down, etc.
*** You really care for the audience. Whatever the situation, you will be cool. You are only concerned about making a difference in your listener's life.
You present with genuine love and care in your heart.
This will help you to care for your audience and you'll really rock!
I have seen this umpteen number of times - irrespective of the mistakes, nervousness, the one who cares more for the audience, wins.
Don't Be Afraid to Speak English!
This is the most essential recommendation on how to develop English speaking skills. Don't be afraid to speak English, and practice every day.
You won't reach a fantastic level in several days, but speaking regularly you will be able to come across as many pitfalls as it's needed to succeed.
Now you know how to improve your speaking skills with the best tools and tips at your disposal. So good luck to you, and keep on practicing!
Happy Speaking :D
Sajid Sami Chowdhury
Founder & President,
Urban Switch Speaking Club - USSC