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Have you ever looked at a comedian or a public speaker and thought “wow, that looks easy!” Speaking with someone or a group might look really easy, but it continues to be a struggle to many individuals who do not consider themselves extroverted enough to deal with the challenges that come with good articulation and presentation.
Apart from being a basic human activity, communicating with people can also be a fun thing to do. When you engage in lively conversations, you learn something new from your group, and they get to learn something new from you as well. Sharing and exchanging ideas with your peers can be an enjoyable hobby that costs little, and sometimes nothing at all.
The first step is to always have something to talk about. In other words, read. Strive to expand your knowledge about a topic or interest so it will be easier for you to have something to discuss at any given moment. The more topics you talk or read about, the more subjects will you be able to discuss.
Make it a habit to read whenever you can, but try to schedule a reading at least an hour before you sleep. Scientists believe anything you read before this hour is easily retained in your memory versus the things you’ve read hours before sleeping. To make the activity easier for you, make sure your reading area is comfortable, conducive for learning, and well-lit. Perhaps have access to a desk lamp or better fluorescent lighting so you can easily see your reading material.
Another good method to apply in your journey to becoming a better conversationalist is to find a role model. To make the whole process easier on you, imitate someone you enjoy listening to. If you enjoy listening to messages delivered by a popular politician, philosopher, public speaker, or motivational speaker, watch their videos and take note of the things they do that results in the most response or feedback from the audience.
While it helps to imitate, make sure to develop your own style over time. Don’t fret about creating your own delivery style soon enough, because it will eventually come to you. Just make sure not to be engulfed in the idea of imitating, or you will end up losing your originality.
Practice is the keyword when it comes to getting better at something. That being said, practice in front of a mirror before taking your talents before a group or an audience. Speaking in front of a mirror specifically makes it easier for you to spot little habits you are doing which you may not be aware of. For example, your eyes may twitch a certain way throughout certain parts of your speech, and you might be doing something that others might eventually find distracting.
Eventually, you would want to take your talent to a bigger crowd, so try your hand at speaking among family members, relatives, and eventually, your friends. These are the best people to try your hand at conversing with because they know you and they are less likely to judge you.
Now that you’ve pretty much learned how to start with your articulation, it’s time you expose yourself to higher stakes. Whenever you can, socialize, make friends, and participate in the exchange of ideas. Getting to know new people and connecting with them through your discussions will help you gauge whether or not you’ve perfected your own speaking techniques.
Utilizing your skills out in public in unfamiliar environments will also help you to practice your communication skills. Putting yourself out there in more challenging environments also teaches you how to improve your game.
However, if you tend to experience jitters every time you engage in a speaking activity with a new audience or a new group of people, you can always write your ideas down beforehand. If the situation allows you to prepare beforehand, take the opportunity to write down your ideas before delivering them.
If you can, prepare index cards containing all the points you would like to talk about. Jot down the introduction to your speech, and if there are any points you would like to emphasize, write that down as well. Eventually, make your index cards smaller and make your written points shorter until you eventually master the art of delivering speeches from memory.
Also bear in mind that you don’t need highfalutin words to impress your audience. In fact, learn how to read your audience and use words that are more in tune with their level. Nothing turns off an audience faster than a pretentious speaker and nothing disrupts the transfer of information better than a speech that is full of the lexicon that is simply hard to understand.
If the situation calls for you to use slang, use it. If your speech is targeted towards teenagers and children, use words that they’ll easily relate it, otherwise, you will risk losing your audience's attention and participation.
Finally, remember that the whole speaking engagement should be a fun activity for you and your audience, and this should always be your top priority when you communicate.