PUBLIC SPEAKING: ALWAYS OWN THE ROOM
A speech is far more than a series of spoken words. We communicate a great deal about ourselves through words as well as how we dress, walk, gesture, make eye contact and move. If you exude confidence, charisma, and charm you will be great. If you look anxious, insecure and nervous you will appear weak. If you appear to be competent, knowledgeable and self-assured you will be fine. If you look harried, unkempt and apologetic you will have no credibility. In other words, if you want to be a strong effective communicator you must always remember to be conscious of your NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION.
It is critical to understand that your speech begins when you walk in. Your audience will start to form an overall opinion of you upon your arrival. Whether you like it or not, first impressions do count! You can communicate confidence, poise, and authority just by the way you walk to the podium.
As a trial lawyer for many years, I know that when I am selecting a jury, I am typically looking at thirty restless, bored, but somewhat curious people. Having spent a dull morning sitting with strangers in crowded government facilities, the lawyers are the only possible source of entertainment. Therefore, upon entering the courtroom, I make sure everything is perfect and I walk in with cool calm assurance. I often greet the clerk of the court, the bailiff, and the other court personnel by name creating the image that I am in control of the courtroom. Preparation leads to confidence. My files are delivered to the courtroom and set up in advance. I carry a sleek leather folder, the kinda President might use for a State of the Union speech. I own the courtroom immediately. Opposing lawyers often arrive at court late, disheveled, sloppy with papers flying from overly large briefcases or no briefcases at all. The overall image that I created gives me an immediate advantage over my opponents.
So here are a few tips for you to own the room when you are the speaker:
*Walk energetically, but not too quickly to the podium
*Set up your notes on the podium using a leather binder
*Hold your head high
*Stand up straight
*Look at your audience
*Pause for a few quick moments to get control of the audience
*Gather yourself and begin speaking
It is extremely important to establish eye contact with the members of your audience. Establishing rapport is key to creating a connection between yourself and the audience. The trick to establishing and creating proper eye contact is to look at different areas of the crowd, pick out a face, and speak directly to the person for a few moments. Make an effort to personally convey your message to each individual. Focus on the person long enough to communicate a complete thought. The technique if done correctly and with practice will enable to create the illusion that you are having a conversation with the members of the audience rather than speaking at them. If done right, you will start to feel amazing intangible feedback from the crowd because they feel that you are speaking to each one of them individually. Using this technique you will really start to connect with your audience.
The final technique for you to own the room is to learn to own the space. Most speakers physically restrict themselves by holding their heads down, acting “smaller” and behaving as though they do not “own” or “command” the space they are occupying. By holding your head down, you actually restrict your trachea/esophagus and your voice will sound smaller and less imposing. The whole performance will seem weaker. Holding your head up and shoulders back will enable you to physically expand your chest. You will present a confident image and actually make your voice sound louder and stronger.
Remember, you can’t be a successful speaker and communicator unless you totally control the room. These techniques described above, if understood, learned, and mastered will help you to be a great success and always own the room.
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Business Speaking Academy, Inc.
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