For most, just the thought of public speaking can immediately lead to a bad headache, pools of sweat developing visually through their shirt and the desire to just go home and hide, and with the abundance of bad advice out there, it’s not hard to understand why!
Small business coaching clients have all heard the classic bad pieces of advice: picture the crowd in their underwear, look straight to the back of the room, practise in front of a mirror, don’t write down your speech and even, tell the crowd you’re nervous. But ultimately, these are all distractions.
The way to fake confidence in public speaking whether it be a speech or presentation, and have the audience eating out of the palm of your hand comes down to one simple thing… Eye contact.
Through my experience, regardless if it be for a small business group or large, eye contact tells an audience that you know what you are talking about and are credible. It gives the words you are saying more meaning and allows you, the speaker, to engage and gauge the audience’s responses to the words you are saying.
The number 1 motto to remember – One person. One point. Look at one person at a time and while you have their attention, complete a thought or sentence.
I have found that during a presentation, you should never try and connect with every single person in the room but slowly work your way around the room creating eye contact with individuals. Look to your left, look to your right, to the front and to the back. Be as natural as you can.
This skill may take some time to develop and the first few times you try, you may only give yourself the challenge of looking at 2-3 people. With practice, as you master this powerful skill, you will notice that when you create eye contact with your audience (and not your piece of paper), you will naturally slow down the pace of your speech, get a much better a sense of how the audience is engaging with the information you are providing them, enhance the impact of your presentation and feel much more confident.
If you’re looking to boost your confidence and would like more executive coaching skills, give us a call at Tenfold Business Coaching.
Image Credit: Visual Tools for Public Speaking cc by jonny goldstein (contact)