5 Tips To Improve The Way You Speak
Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer researcher of body language in the 1950’s, found that the total impact of a message is about 7 percent verbal (words only) and 38 percent vocal (including tone of voice, inflection, and other sounds) and 55 percent nonverbal. Yet, we all want to be able to impress with our speaking skills. It’s not surprising though, considering how a majority of the population doesn’t even actively pick up on non-verbal and vocal cues as much as they listen to the words being said.
There are hundreds of tips to help you improve your speaking, so we thought we’d take a few at a time and focus on those to help you, because a little goes a long way. So here are our first 5 tips to improve your speaking skills
1. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SPEED
Most people either talk too fast or talk too slow — find a steady medium pace; you can even record yourself speaking and play it back to listen to it so you have an idea about the pace of your speaking. Practice this consciously and apply it everywhere, even in casual conversations because checking your pace has to be a consistent effort, and not something you can use only for when you are making presentations or speeches.
2. ASK FOR HONEST FEEDBACK
We are not all born orators and speakers. Most of us have to make the genuine effort to be good at it, so it is important to get feedback — honest feedback. When preparing to speak to an audience, or to give a presentation, rehearsing in front of a mirror might be helpful, but it is better to get a friend or a family member to listen to you speak and practice so you can get their feedback — are you pacing it well? Is it too long? Too short? Too little pausing? Too boring? — Whatever the feedback, coming from a trusted source, will be honest and will allow you to work on your speaking a lot more
3. MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT.
We know this is less a speaking tip and more a body language tip, but trust us, it helps immensely. Whether it is one person or ten thousand, eye contact is a powerful tool that validates the audience you are communicating with. Don’t stare, but be sure to lock eyes with the person when having a one to one conversation. For a small group, make short bursts of eye-contact with everyone in the group. That way, all of them feel involved. For large groups, make sweeping glances across the room, pausing at a small group that will make them think you are making eye-contact with them, but you’re really just working the entire room. Eye-contact is a powerful tool for speakers — use it wisely
4. USE ACCURATE, NEUTRAL DESCRIPTIONS
You DO NOT want to be the person who exaggerates. Trust us, your communication needs to be reliable, and therefore it is important that you use neutral and accurate descriptions when communicating, no matter the situation. You can practice this in situations with friends and family so that you apply it universally, and it becomes a habit for you! When describing something, always be accurate and neutral. Don’t let YOUR personal opinion colour the description and more importantly try to be as factual as possible. This makes you a reliable source of information and an effective communicator. This works well in both personal and professional situations
5. GET TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
We cannot stress how important this is! It doesn’t matter how many people you’re communicating to, what matters is that you understand WHO is receiving your communication. Boss? Partner? A group of kids? Working professionals? Understand everything about them so you can edit and alter your communication accordingly! You can’t speak to a group of children the same way you speak to a group of college students and you can’t speak to your life partner the same way you speak to your mom! The moment you get to know the audience the communication is intended for and understand their mindset, it becomes half as easy to communicate!
In Part 2 of this article we’ll cover more tips to improve your speaking skills
Tell us what tips you think are most important for speaking in the comments!