The COVID-19 outbreak has confined the majority of us much more to our homes. While we can’t do anything about not being able to go out so much, we certainly can make the most out of this time we have to ourselves.
Creative and hardworking people are spending this “leisure” time learning new skills and improving existing ones. In my opinion, some of the most important skills that you should consider improving are those related to speaking and presentation.
According to Warren Buffett a person’s value increases by up to 50% when they have built their communication skills. But do you know what’s the best part? You don’t need to step outside to learn this skill. All you need is an internet connection, a camera, and sheer dedication.
Read books on communication skills
One of the best ways to boost your speaking skills is to learn from people who specialize in that area. Head to an online book store and purchase a few books on communication skills. Spend at least 30 minutes reading these books every day.
To get you started, I’d suggest you read This Is Marketing by Seth Godin. Although the title makes you think it’s just another marketing book, this book is more about changing people’s minds and perceptions. And how do you change minds? By communication.
Watch TED Talks
While the majority of people stream TED Talks for the content, I’d say it’s a great idea to watch them to improve your communication skills. As TED speakers have been delivering their knowledge to the masses for years, you can learn a lot by the way they present.
Practice in front of your family and friends
No matter how well you can speak to an empty room, talking to a live audience is a different game. Many feel comfortable when they’re on their own, but lose their way as soon as they have to address an audience.
To ensure that you’re ready to address a large audience in a meeting or conference room, you must make yourself comfortable with smaller audiences first. Feel free to address your family and friends in a gathering and practice your delivery whenever you get the chance.
Record your presentations and review them
If you are serious about public speaking, you should take the time to record yourself and review the recordings of your presentations. More than likely, you’ll find mistakes that you’d have never anticipated. You might be twisting your hair too often, repeatedly touching your face, or using too many filler words like “uh”, “ah”, and “uhm”. Practice and review will help you find such mistakes, mannerisms, use of fillers and other bad habits.
Find a quiet room. Set up your smartphone or camera. Hit the record button and start presenting. When you’re done recording, observe your speaking style, your fluency, and habits. Then practice again, concentrating on doing the good things even better and cutting out the bad.
Get feedback from others
Let me be the bearer of bad news: your communication is never going to be perfect. The rule of thumb is to never stop, and keep improving and learning new communication skills as you progress.
Share your recordings with friends, family, and colleagues so they can provide feedback. Pay close attention to what they have to say, and make changes to your speaking style accordingly.
Communication skills are some of your most important assets. When you communicate effectively and deliver your thoughts precisely, you’re more likely to grab the attention of an audience and have them absorb your message.
With the above-mentioned tips, you can work on your speaking skills from home, even during periods of lockdown.