Are you tired of being ignored?
When you’re in a meeting, do people tune you out when you start talking? Do your ideas get lost in the shuffle? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many people have trouble getting others to listen to them.
But there are some things you can do to make sure that people pay attention when you speak. By following a few simple tips, you’ll be able to get your point across and ensure that your voice is heard loud and clear.
Start by speaking slowly and clearly
If you aim to give a presentation that captivates your audience, start by speaking slowly and clearly. Take the time to be deliberate in your words and movements, which tells the listeners that you fully care about your presentation and message. Doing this also signals your confidence and builds trust with those attending, so don’t be afraid to go slow and do it with intention. It’s simple but often overlooked – if you start strong, there’s a good chance you’ll finish strong too!
Former President Barack Obama is renowned for his strong, clear speaking style. He speaks slowly and deliberately, using a deep, resonant voice that commands attention. He also uses pauses for emphasis, which helps him drive home important points and give listeners time to digest what he has said.
Make sure you have the person’s attention before you start talking
Before you dive into meeting small talk, ensure your meeting companion is paying attention. Start with a funny story or observation to grab their interest and let them know you’re not here just to chat about the weather. That way, when it comes time to bore them with the details of what brought you together in the first place, they’ll already be engaged in the conversation and ready to listen.
I begin the sessions with my students by sharing stories from the weekend. Because I have three kids at home, there’s always something interesting to share.
Use hand gestures to emphasize your points
Whenever I speak, I use hand gestures to emphasize my points. Whether it’s making a point with a fist, showing the size of something with my fingers, or counting off by pointing at different numbers in the air, hand gestures make my words carry more weight. Not only are they a great way to get people’s attention when speaking, but it can also help to show others that you really believe what you’re saying – you don’t just talk, but you act as well. Hand gestures can be invaluable for getting your audience on board and enthusiastic about your ideas!
The Canadian Tip: When counting numbers with your hand, you show the number one with your index finger, not your thumb. This is different to how Germans do it.
Avoid filler words like “um” or “like”
If you’re like most people, you probably use filler words like “um” and “like” when you’re lost for words or struggling to express yourself. While filler words are all the rage among teens today, there’s no denying that they make us all sound a bit, well, dull. To liven up your conversations (and make a better impression), try eliminating filler words from your vocabulary. Not only will it help convey meaning more precisely and effectively, but it’ll also give others the impression that you have an expansive vocabulary – because let’s face it, we all want to come off as being smart and articulate!
The Canadian Tip: Yoodli analyzes your filler words so you can begin eliminating them from your communication. Sign up for free right here.
Be confident in what you’re saying
Being confident in what you say doesn’t mean talking at break-neck speed or spouting facts and figures, it simply means you are sure of what you’re saying. This kind of confidence is attainable by being adequately prepared, having a good grasp of the subject matter, and having enough knowledge to answer any relevant questions. When speaking with confidence and authority, you will come across more professionally, inspiring trust in your audience. Your presentation will be more enjoyable to listen to and they’ll remember more of what you said. So the next time you have something important to say, speak with assurance and clarity; be loud and be proud!
I personally show confidence by smiling and standing up straight. I slow down and become intentional about the words I say. I avoid a rising tone that comes across as insecure when overused. An example of that would be a stereotypical Cali girl.
Smile when you’re talking – it’ll make people want to listen to you more!
Smiling is the simplest of solutions to make people hear what you say. The power of a smile might be underestimated, but its effect can have significant benefits when speaking. It puts people at ease and lets them know you’re not a threat, which means they’re likely to pay more attention and consider your point of view. Smiles are also contagious – when you flash one, it might transfer to someone else and improve the general mood in the room. So go ahead – flex your facial muscles into an easy grin and start talking – it could make all the difference!
If you want to become a better communicator, remember these six tips. They may seem simple, but they’ll make a world of difference in how people perceive you. And if you really want to take your communication skills to the next level, sign up for my Speaking Mastery course. It’s guaranteed to help you become a more confident, compelling speaker – and that’s something everyone can benefit from!
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