Ever since I started helping my clients sound their best I’ve been asked how to improve as a public speaker. While the essence of my business is to guide you with multiple techniques to ensure your success as a speaker, I always refer back to what I call purposeful practice.
Most of us are familiar with the saying “practice makes perfect.” To me, this makes no sense whatsoever since all this accomplishes is reinforcing habits that may not be serving us well. Conversely, I highly encourage purposeful practice. Let me explain what I mean.
As speakers, it’s best to become acutely aware of your strengths as well as your areas for improvement. Clearly there are several ways to achieve this and among them is to get into the habit of video recording your presentation. You can do this easily by using your smart phone, tablet or video camera.
It’s always been my belief that seeing is believing and when we playback even a segment of what we record, it helps us see ourselves as others do.
For example, pay attention to your…
1. seated and standing posture–hunched over or erect?
2. use of gestures–too limited or helpful?
3. use of space–hiding behind the lectern or closer to audience?
4. eye-contact–fleeting or engaging?
5. facial expressions–smiling or stern?
6. personal habits–distracting or supportive?
7. attire–outdated or consistent with your image?
Each of these factors is easily viewed when we play back what we’ve recorded. By knowing what to look for you can become more self-aware. Additionally you may wish to share your recording with a peer, colleague or mentor and receive their reactions. As you do this be sure to note your strong suit as well as anything you’d like to change. When you record yourself again, do your best to incorporate what you’ve learned…this is purposeful practice.
As always, let me know how I may help you sound your best.