If you want to become a great speaker - go to at least 1 networking event a week.
These events provide you with plenty of strangers to practice applying many of the strategies of effective and persuasive communication in a risk-free environment.
Here are 3 things to practice at your next event.
1. Stand with your hands by your side when speaking.
Benefit: This helps you become comfortable standing in what is one of the powerful stances that exist for speaking and presenting.
Many people find this position extremely uncomfortable and default to standing with either their hands either in their pockets, holding a phone or beverage as a blocking device, or simply placing their hands together covering their private parts - all of which are not powerful positions. Your objective is to make "hand by your sides" your default body position whenever you are standing.
2. Approach groups of 1 or more and initiate conversation
Benefit: This trains you to become comfortable speaking to strangers.
Think of it this way, if it's challenging to muster up the courage to approach 1 stranger in a "nothing at stake" environment, then chances are addressing a whole boardroom or audience of strangers will pose a huge challenge. Strengthen your confidence muscles by becoming comfortable speaking to strangers 1 person at a time.
3. Focus on asking questions opposed to talking about yourself
Benefit: You learn to focus on the perspectives and thoughts of the audience that you are speaking to.
So many speakers approach conversations and presentations from an overly self-centric perspective that reduces the efficacy of their message.
Remember, any audience you will address whether it is 1 or 100 will always be listening to you from their own self-centric perspective asking themselves "what's in it for me".
There are very few naturally gifted speakers. The vast majority of successful communicators are every day people who have simply decided to invest time and effort in applying and honing specific communication strategies to amplify their message. This takes practice, and networking events are a great place to get it.
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