Public speaking plays an important role in interviewing, networking, and other activities necessary to advance your career in healthcare. For many of us, public speaking is challenging. Whether public speaking makes you nervous or you’re just not used to talking in front of an audience, here are some tips to help you improve your and public speaking skills.
When it comes to perfecting your interview or networking pitch, the best thing you can do is practice. Try recording your pitch and studying it. You will be able to hear what others hear. Do you use too many filler words? Do you talk too quickly? You have to first recognize the vocal tics and pacing issues you might have before you can improve your speaking technique. If you record with a video camera, you will also be able to analyze your body language for other nervous habits, such as hair twirling or bad posture. Keep repeating the process until you see the nervous habits disappear.
Successful communication is all about connecting with your audience. If you’re in an interview, you want the hiring manager to empathize with you. Sometimes, when we are nervous, we overcompensate, which can make us seem fake. You have to remember that no one is perfect, and mistakes are natural. Just be yourself and let your audience see the real you. If you are sincere, your audience will trust you more, and ultimately, that is what you want. It is a great idea to engage your audience with questions or a “show of hands.” This can melt some of the nervousness of a larger group and help it seem much more like a normal conversation.
Any time you speak in public, you need to be prepared. If you’re preparing for an interview, think about what questions will be asked and prepare responses. Research the company in advance. This way even if they ask questions you weren’t expecting, you have a groundwork of information to pull from. You need to show your audience you have confidence. Preparation will help with this. Invariably, you will get an unexpected question and the best approach is to pause, acknowledge that the question is a really good one, then pause before responding. The pause shows self-confidence and thoughtfulness that you are not rushing for a knee-jerk response, but for a meaningful answer.
Before an interview, networking event, or other public speaking event take steps to reduce your nerves. Try meditating or taking some deep breaths. Go on a long walk to clear your head. Listen to some relaxing music. Give yourself a pep talk. People will know if you’re anxious. Think of previous, nervous situations you had before speaking and how they resulted in a successful presentation. See….you can do this! Just do what you can to stay calm and positive.
Many people struggle with public speaking. Luckily, there are many different steps you can take to improve your communication skills and overcome fears you have about speaking in front of people. Once you master public speaking, you will find interviews, networking, and other professional activities a lot easier.
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