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How to Become an Exceptional and Impactful Speaker One might have asked the question, but there are tens who are watching your response

By Deepshikha Kumar

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We ponder on what is that X factor about certain speakers that appeal to me. In today's context, no matter what field you are in, it is imperative to be a good speaker if not a great one. Who knows when you might suddenly find yourself in the spotlight one fine day.

From my experience of having heard several oratories, listed below are some useful tips which are imperative as a foundation to becoming a speaker and that too an impactful one :

Speak From Your Gut and Things You Genuinely Care for - The best of speakers are those who have lived their journey and bring their personal experiences to the stage. Best told are stories which are your own.

Without Rehearsing Too Much Keep it Simple and Stick to the Rule of Three – three takeaways, three data-points, three highlights and more. Last and not the least – a 3 point agenda to inform, entertain and inspire is all that it takes to seal it with an impact.

Humility is all You Need to be Tooled With When You Get on Stage - The adrenaline rush and the perception of power when elevated onto a stage is normal. A speaker who walks away with an audience connect is valued much higher than the one who walks out with a superiority complex.

Vulnerability Can Help a Speaker Say a Lot Without Talking Much - It can make him more sensitive, real, and accessible, which are appealing traits, as long as he's not too wimpy.

Get Out There and Makes Friends With Your Audience – after all you are there to engage with them. Just ensure that you customize your style for them – anything from academic to spontaneous playing with tone, though, content and delivery. Most importantly though, make sure you know about the size, composition and homogeneity before you get on stage.

What You do on Stage Does Count – You are sure to hit rock bottom if you read or recite. So if you must, make do with one-word notes or cue cards to see you through beautifully.

Body Language and Undivided Attention Does Matter - During Q&A ensure you turn towards the person who asked the question for a face to face talk, such that your head and your body are in a straight line, giving them your undivided attention. Not doing so gives a message of half-heartedness and that you would move away at the first available opportunity. Remember, one might have asked the question, but there are tens who are watching your response.

Establish Eye Contact With Your Audience (when possible) - It broadcasts a message of trust and respect. Most importantly, it helps you to record how your listener is reacting to what you are saying and manoeuvre accordingly. Women are reluctant at eye contact, most thinking they will give away more messages than they intend to. There are cultures and background where women are not comfortable with looking right at the eye, and/ or are not comfortable being looked at in the eye. Having said that, eye contact is hygiene to create a connect and establish mutual trust between two people. Maintaining eye contact is especially important when the other person is talking about personal experiences. It not only makes you look intelligent and attentive but also shows that you care.

Exclusive Smile – is the most potent tool in establishing a connection. Lock yourself in a room in front of the mirror and flash a few smiles. Discover the subtle difference in your repertoire of smiles. Just as you would alternate between greetings, alternate between your smiles. Let each smile reflect the differences in your feelings towards the recipient. This is especially true when meeting a group of people. If one person is more important to you than the others in a group, let that reflect with a bigger smile for that particular person. You would convey the feelings loud and clear.

To sum up…A great posture heads up look, a confident smile, a direct gaze - is all you need to be armed with when it comes to letting your incredible, inescapable and unique essence come through. Armed with empathy and care, a smile can make any woman, or man, appear soft and comfortable to be around.

Deepshikha Kumar

Founder and Managing Partner, SpeakIn

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