Imagine you are sitting in a darkened auditorium with five hundred people listening to a speaker.
Suddenly, the lights go on, and the speaker asks a question and looks directly at you for an answer. All eyes are on you for your response. Your face gets flushed, heart begins to beat fast and your upper body feels weak with anxiety and stress. Your voice becomes soft and muted with your thoughts losing the ability to formulate an intelligent comment.
Thinking on your feet is an important part of public speaking. Impromptu speaking, rates on the one to ten scale of public speaking fear, near the top of the spectrum.
It goes hand in hand with asking a question during a presentation. Speaking up, requires the the same skills as keynote speaking.
1. Be Prepared To Speak
Understand that whenever you go to a presentation you may be called on for your opinion or you may wish to ask a question. Be in a state of readiness.
2. Don’t Forget To Breathe
Take frequent long breaths, in though the nose and out through the nose, slowing your breathing down to a comfortable speaking level.
3. Do Active Listening
Many times, we do passive rather than active listening. Our minds drift in and out of a speaker’s presentation. Developing the skill of really listening is a fabulous learning tool. Active listening allows us to reflect on the message, theme and opinions which in return helps us to learn something new.
Practice from time to time, speaking in front of a mirror. Watch your non verbal communication skills. What are you doing with your hands and arms? What is your body posture like? Do you appear confident or timid? Always stand or sit with your feet shoulder width apart. This gives you a sense of solidarity and confidence.
5. Listen To Your Voice
Use a computer, cell phone or I-Pad to record your voice asking a question. What is your volume, tone, rate, confidence and friendliness in your voice? Become your own critic.
6. Enjoy The Moment
Turn your stress into energy. Feel a sense of freedom as you voice your opinion or ask a question. Be confident and allow yourself to shine.
Written by Bette Elly