Speak With Power

Speak With Power

Leo Chung, Staff Writer

speak (verb)–to say something in order to convey information, an opinion, or a feeling.

We can all agree that speaking is a fundamental skill that we have been constantly practicing since the day we could talk. It appears that most of the speaking we do is to a few people at a time. Most of the speaking we do usually takes place in situations in which we feel comfortable, especially when we are with friends and family.

Speaking is the human way of saying things on your mind but isn’t easy to do all the time. One of the situations where we find it most difficult to speak is when we have to do a presentation in front of the whole class.  With all the eyes directed at you and the anticipation for the first word to come out, your nervousness can build up fast. For folks that are soft-spoken, the task of public speaking can seem arduous.

It’s important to know that getting good is a process. However, it will be worth it since public speaking is an important soft skill because it is communication. Communication that is essential for job interviews, school presentations, or even expressing your opinion on a cause you care about. I think that anyone can get better at public speaking just by practice.

I used to be very quiet and shy when it came to public speaking, but over time I have gotten better primarily through speaking. For folks who want to express themselves with more confidence, I put together a couple of important tips to keep in mind.

Breathe? Exhale air? What will that do?
Actually a lot! Studies show that breathing reduces overall stress and anxiety. When you’re about to speak at your peak nervousness, taking the time to breathe can calm you down greatly letting you think clearly on what you’re about to say.

Take Your Time
You know that feeling when you’re in a rush? When you’re in a rush, you usually speak before you think. For that reason, it’s common for people to use filler words like “uhm” or “you know” when they are recalling what they want to say.

Instead, you might want to substitute those filler words for short pauses. Brief pauses go a long way as they let you gather your thoughts and let the audience take in what you just said. As important as it is to speak, so is having rests.

Other than that, I can’t emphasize enough how important practice is! Over time you will notice great improvements in speaking and overall confidence. Remember that it’s a process and these tips are here to guide your progress.