Do you want to speak with more authority? Radiate charisma? Become a Natural?
Whatever your speaking goals, the three techniques that follow can help you with them and offer a high return on time invested. They cost nothing to do, are easily implemented, and will elevate your speaking game.
It isn’t only what you say; it’s how you say it. Your body language and intonation can convey your message more clearly than the words you use. We have all had the experience of talking to somebody who is saying one thing, but obviously meaning something entirely different.
3 Techniques to up your game
The following techniques are easy to incorporate into your speech and will make an incredible difference in how you are perceived, and how effectively your message is communicated. Try working them into your conversations one at a time until you are comfortable with each.
When speaking on a topic, especially one you are passionate about, the tendency is to speed up when talking. This is in part due to excitement and also because of your grasp of the topic. Because you know it so well you don’t require as much “processing” time, as would somebody hearing your ideas for the first time. You need to give people time to digest what you are saying, especially if you are hoping to receive feedback on it.
A good rule of thumb is that if it sounds slow to you it is probably just right to them. Within reason of course!
An added bonus of moderating your speaking speed is that it allows you the time to properly enunciate your words and helps to reduce the number of filler words such us “Uh…”
Take a Pause
During a conversation you should pause before answering the other person. This serves a few purposes:
- It allows you time to consider your response, which can help avoid putting your foot in your mouth. This also helps avoid regurgitating your stock answers.
- It shows that you are actively listening to the other person and considering what they are saying.
- It creates anticipation, which in turn allows you to control the tone and speed of the conversation.
Often, the tendency is to be thinking a step ahead in the conversation, to what you plan to say next. When you are in this mindset you cannot be properly listening and chances are you will jump in before the other person has finished speaking, which is very rude.
This has to do with the intonation of what you are saying, specifically at the end of your sentence. Try this:
Speak out loud a simple fact, and raise the intonation at the end of the sentence. For example, “The apple is red”.
Sounded like a question didn’t it?
Now speak the same sentence, but this time lower your intonation at the end. This drop in tone turns the previously ambiguous question into a statement of fact. You are no longer asking for permission or approval, you are stating your case with conviction.
Reduce Non-Verbal Reassurances
Also known as fidgeting!
Excessive fidgeting conveys low status, whereas authority is conveyed through stillness and poise. Confident body language can be conveyed by how few unnecessary movements are made. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be animated with your gestures and body language! But it is one thing to accentuate a point with hand motions, it is another to be nervously chewing your nails during a conversation.
There are 3 main issues to address that will increase your poise immediately:
- Excessive nodding – Nodding yes to every comment sends a low status message, as you are constantly trying to reassure the other person. Keep your head still; not every statement requires a response.
- Excessive verbal reassurance – Same thing as the nodding, but this time spoken. Saying “yeah” or “uh-huh” after each statement puts you in a weak position. You also set yourself up in a cycle of saying “Yes” to everything, which makes it harder to say “No” when you need to.
- Fidgeting – Any nervous motions decrease your presence and take away from the message you are trying to deliver. Again, you don’t need to stand there like you are encased in carbonite, but save the motions for accentuating key points of what you are saying.
Do you use any of these techniques? Try them out and let me know what you think!