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Six Ideas In 60 Minutes to Polish Your Deliver Skills

By: Laura Barmore, RJM Construction

Speaker: Leslie Rapp, Spoken Impact

Did you know that 3 out of 4 people suffer from speech anxiety? Jerry Seinfeld addressed this statistic accurately by stating, "In other words, at a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy." The fear of public speaking is very real. However, there are simple ways to improve your delivery skills and become more comfortable speaking to a large group.  It does take practice and a conscious effort. That being said, the positive reward can make a tremendous impact on your professional growth.

Spoken Impact is a local firm dedicated to training and equipping business professionals to become confident speakers. Spoken Impact gave "Six Ideas in 60 Minutes to Polish Your Delivery Skills" at a recent SMPS Twin Cities educational luncheon.

1. Step forward and start strong:  Have you ever noticed yourself stepping forward after making a strong statement? The physical action of stepping forward not only makes you feel more confident and in control, but it also brings energy to the room. Draw in and capture your audience with a quote, story, question or definition. 

2. Head, shoulders, knees and toes hands: Stand tall, relax your shoulders, unlock your knees and position your hands at your side when you're not gesturing. Avoid clenching the podium or holding your hands in a prayer position. 

3. Use Meaningful Gestures:  Hand gestures, when used appropriately, can help paint a picture and reiterate a statement. Gesturing is a natural and comfortable way to communicate, but it is important to be cautious of excessive and distracting gestures.  

4. Um we like should um Eliminate um Fillers umm: Rambling sentences and filler words can crush your confidence and credibility. In order to avoid excessive fillers, try writing out your speech ahead of time or recording yourself and counting the numbers of fillers you use throughout it.

5. The Power of Your Voice:  Practice the 4 P’s

Pause - add between major thoughts 
Pitch - the pitch of your voice can keep the audience engaged
Pacing - speak at a rate that allows your audience to understand what you are saying
Project - take a deep breath and project your voice so that those in the back of the room can hear, but make sure you're not yelling at your audience

6. Connect with Your Audience:  Challenge yourself to look at an audience member for 2 whole sentences without scanning the room. Then move onto another audience member and continue the process. 

In order to grow personally and professionally, it is important that we take the time and the effort to improve our delivery and speaking skills. Embracing just a few of these simple ideas will help you to be more comfortable speaking publicly; even at a funeral.

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