Anyone can be a great leader and public speaking skills are a great addition to other leadership skills, that they can help you with confidence and assert yourself if you're a member of an underrepresented group. For instance, maybe you want a raise at work, a promotion, or even want to lead a team, it all comes down to how you communicate your message. Communication and public speaking skills are the foundation of great leadership.
Leadership is often genderized and stereotyped; women are seen as too emotional, too sensitive, or too soft. But think of Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, or even Oprah, strong, fearless, and charismatic women who evoke change with their voices. They are very good examples of Women in Leadership and that any woman can be like them.
According to statistics, 75% of the population suffers from Glossophobia also known as the fear of public speaking. We all fear public speaking, some even more than death itself. No one is born a great speaker, but there are ways you can improve yourself and be a credible speaker.
- Join a Public Speaking Club, where you can practice your public speaking skills and enhance your leadership skills. I can highly recommend Toastmasters.
- When you will present for the first time, learn about your audience. Who will you be presenting to? Is it a group of friends? Is it a group of potential investors? Or is it a group of high school students? No matter what your audience is, learn who they are, their age, their education, and so forth. You want to adopt your speaking style and the message you are giving based on who you will be serving.
- Combat nervousness with the Wonder Woman pose- It is very much normal to feel nervous right before a speech, but the Wonder Woman pose can do the trick. Studies have found that if you do the Wonder Woman pose for about 2 minutes every day or even before an interview or a speech, it will calm you down and give you a boost of confidence.
- Know your topic well- There is nothing better than having good preparation for your first speech. If you are giving a presentation about a certain topic, always do your research beforehand and structure your speech with an introduction, body, and conclusion.
- Integrate personal stories- What gets people connected? It is stories! There is nothing better than connecting with your audience with a personal and relatable story. So make sure to incorporate stories, so that the audience will feel touched, connected, and more engaged with you.
- Do not memorize your script- When presenting, one of the things you want to avoid at all costs is memorizing your speech. You don't want to sound like a robot speaking at a speed of a train. When presenting, be relaxed, talk slowly, take pauses, and most importantly, be spontaneous. Your audience will like you more for your authentic self.
- Solicit for feedback for constant improvement- It is through feedback and evaluation that we can learn to grow. Ask for a friend’s or colleague's opinion, to give you an insight into your performance. What you did well and what you could have done better. It is only through these engagements that we can improve ourselves.
- Practice, practice, and practice - Practice is what will make you perfect. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be on stage.
Whether you want to use your public speaking skills in your daily personal life or work life, these are the simple 8 steps that can help you to deliver a streamlined presentation. Being a great speaker is what will set you up as a credible, convinceable, and trustworthy leader. As a woman, use your voice to evoke change in your life.
"Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership."