What the Pros Know About Public Speaking | Summary and Q&A

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December 10, 2018
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Stanford Graduate School of Business
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What the Pros Know About Public Speaking

TL;DR

Confidence in communication is crucial for business success. Managing anxiety and focusing on the present moment can help improve confidence.

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Key Insights

  • ❓ Confidence in communication is perceived as competence and credibility.
  • ℹ️ Managing anxiety involves addressing symptoms and sources of anxiety.
  • 🎁 Focusing on the present moment can reduce anxiety and improve communication performance.
  • 🦮 Having a clear communication goal guides the content and delivery of presentations.
  • 🚱 Effective structure, non-verbal communication, and storytelling techniques enhance confidence.
  • 🫡 Dealing with mistakes and challenging individuals with paraphrasing and respect maintains credibility.

Transcript

[MUSIC] Confidence in communication is critical to business success, and it's a really simple equation. Confidence equals competence. The more confident you come across, the more competent people will see you as, and the more credible they'll see you as. So we really need to work to make sure that we're confident. [MUSIC] Many of us get very anxiou... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How can managing anxiety help improve confidence in communication?

Managing anxiety involves focusing on the symptoms and sources of anxiety. By using techniques such as deep breathing to slow down the heart rate and staying cool, one can better manage anxiety and appear more confident.

Q: How can focusing on the present moment help reduce anxiety?

Focusing on the present moment helps shift attention away from future consequences and worries. By engaging in physical activities or saying tongue twisters to be present-oriented, individuals can reduce anxiety and improve their communication performance.

Q: How can having a clear communication goal enhance confidence?

A clear communication goal directs the content and delivery of a presentation or conversation. It helps individuals stay focused and ensures they can succinctly summarize their key points, increasing their confidence and making a stronger impact on the audience.

Q: What are some effective ways to start and end presentations?

Instead of starting with a basic introduction, interactive methods such as asking a question, sharing a statistic, or telling a story can engage the audience from the beginning. Ending with a summary of key ideas and a call to action is important in leaving a lasting impression.

Summary

Confidence in communication is crucial for business success. It is directly linked to competence and credibility. However, many individuals struggle with anxiety in high-stakes communication situations. To manage anxiety, it is important to focus on both the symptoms and sources. Symptom management techniques include deep belly breathing to slow down heart rate and maintain a steady voice, as well as cooling down the body to prevent blushing and sweating. Addressing the sources of anxiety involves focusing on the present moment and engaging in physical activities like taking a walk or saying tongue twisters. Communication goals play a significant role in being able to deliver a concise and focused message. A clear structure, such as the "what, so what, now what" approach, helps in maintaining clarity and keeping the audience engaged. Starting presentations with interactive elements like questions, polls, or stories, and ending with a memorable summary are key components of effective communication. Non-verbal communication, specifically adopting a big, balanced, and still posture, is crucial for conveying confidence. Handling mistakes and challenging audience members requires staying calm and not drawing excessive attention to the errors. Paraphrasing and redirecting can be effective strategies in managing challenging situations. Lastly, viewing communication as an opportunity rather than a threat can foster a positive mindset and enhance the quality of interactions.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the relationship between confidence and competence in communication?

Confidence is directly related to competence in communication. The more confident one appears, the more competent and credible they will be perceived by others. Building and projecting confidence is crucial for business success.

Q: How can anxiety be managed in high-stakes communication scenarios?

Anxiety should be managed instead of being entirely overcome as it provides focus and energy. A two-pronged approach is recommended, involving symptom and source management. Symptom management techniques include deep belly breathing to slow down heart rate and stabilize voice, as well as cooling down the body to prevent blushing and sweating. Addressing the sources of anxiety can be achieved by focusing on the present moment and engaging in physical activities before speaking, like taking a walk or saying tongue twisters.

Q: How can communication goals contribute to effective delivery?

Communication goals serve as a guiding foundation for the message and presentation. A communication goal should encompass what the audience should know, feel, and do by the end of the communication. Having a clearly defined goal helps in structuring the content and allows for a concise and focused presentation.

Q: What is a recommended structure for delivering a clear and concise message?

The "what, so what, now what" structure is highly effective in delivering a clear and concise message. It involves explaining what the point is, why it is important (the "so what"), and providing actionable steps or next steps (the "now what"). This structure not only enhances confidence but also keeps the communication concise and impactful.

Q: How can presentations start and end in a more engaging way?

Instead of starting presentations with generic introductions like stating one's name and the topic, it is recommended to begin with interactive elements. Examples include asking a question, taking a poll, sharing a startling statistic, or telling a story. This captures the audience's attention and makes the presentation more engaging. Similarly, ending should include a memorable summary of the key ideas and provide clear guidance on what the audience can do with the information.

Q: How does non-verbal communication impact confidence?

Non-verbal communication plays a significant role in establishing credibility and confidence. Adopting a big, balanced, and still posture is crucial. Being upright, squared shoulders, and composed contribute to projecting confidence. Additionally, hands should be expansive and not kept in tight defensive postures. Non-verbal communication should be intentional and convey composure and confidence.

Q: How can individuals handle mistakes when speaking in public?

Mistakes are normal and inevitable while speaking. It is important not to draw excessive attention to them. Acknowledging excitement and restarting or asking the audience a question to engage them while regaining composure can be effective strategies. Reflecting on the value of what has been discussed so far can provide valuable time to reset and get back on track.

Q: How should challenging audience members be managed during presentations?

Handling challenging individuals while maintaining credibility is crucial. Paraphrasing what they have said and redirecting the focus back to the topic or next point is an effective strategy. Acknowledging their passion or energy but steering the conversation in a productive direction helps manage such situations. It is crucial to consider the perception of the rest of the audience while dealing with challenging individuals.

Q: What mindset should individuals adopt for effective communication?

Viewing communication as an opportunity rather than a threat is crucial. Recognizing communication as a chance to share thoughts, beliefs, and feelings while learning from others makes a significant difference. It helps reduce defensiveness and promotes a more open and engaging communication experience.

Takeaways

Confidence in communication is critical for business success, as it is directly linked to competence and credibility. Anxiety in high-stakes communication situations can be managed by focusing on both the symptoms and sources. Symptom management techniques involve deep belly breathing and cooling down the body. Addressing the sources of anxiety requires focusing on the present moment and engaging in physical activities. Communication goals play a significant role in delivering a concise and focused message. Adopting a clear structure, such as the "what, so what, now what" approach, helps maintain clarity and engagement. Starting presentations with interactive elements and ending with a memorable summary enhance audience engagement. Non-verbal communication, through adopting a big, balanced, and still posture, conveys confidence. Handling mistakes and challenging audience members requires staying calm and using strategies like paraphrasing and redirecting. Lastly, adopting a positive mindset and viewing communication as an opportunity enhances the quality of interactions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Confidence is important for business success as it is perceived as competence and credibility.

  • Many people struggle with anxiety in high-stakes communication situations.

  • Managing the symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat and sweating, can help improve confidence.

  • Focusing on the present moment and having a clear communication goal can reduce anxiety and improve performance.

  • Having a clear structure, starting and ending presentations effectively, and using non-verbal communication techniques can enhance confidence.

  • Dealing with mistakes and challenging people in a respectful manner can maintain credibility.

  • Adopting a mindset of communication as an opportunity can lead to more meaningful interactions.

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