Improve your public speaking skills
In this episode, you'll learn 5 simple tips to help you become a more effective communicator.
Andrea Spyros, Behavior Design expert and Tiny Habits Certified Coach, shows leaders and their teams a simple, science-based system to solve challenges with ease. Her keynotes and workshops help organizations break through the Myth of Motivation to see real results in all areas of operation.
Andy talked about her entrepreneurial journey and how she builds community in our season 2 interview (episode 34). Because she's a professional speaker, I asked Andy to share some strategy about public speaking. Practice Andy's tips and you'll most certainly improve your public speaking skills and increase your confidence. #100%
When she's not practicing her presentations, you can find Andrea Spyros painting, playing bass guitar, or amusing her friends with geeky math jokes.
Contact Andrea at Andrea.Spyros@TinyHabitsCoach.com and learn more on her website: AndreaSpyros.com
Welcome to Stories of Change and Creativity. I'm Judy Oskam, a university professor, Gallup strengths coach and Tiny Habits certified coach. On this podcast, we feature entrepreneurs who inspire motivate and e ducate. We ll, if you want to improve your public speaking skills, then this is the interview for you. Behavior change expert and Tiny Habits certified coach Andrea Spyros is a pro. She's a professional speaker and she leads workshops and training sessions with companies and organizations. I asked Andy to share her tips and strategies about public speaking.Andrea Spyros:
I have five great tips for you today, Judy, I'm glad to be back with you. And I love to share how to become a better speaker because as a speaker, I'm, I'm very generous when I see other people speaking, cuz I know how the feeling of her reputation it's , it's the number one fear. Most people have public speaking, but also especially with paid speakers. I cannot, it drives me crazy like nails on a chalkboard when I see a bad paid public speaker. And, and I think actually, because I'm such an engaging speaker in workshop, you know, and conduct a lot of workshops sets me apart and I gotta tell you I'm just being me. But I realize that the things I do naturally are the things that other people can do as well. And they're not hard. Now I wanna under, before I tell you what the five are, I do wanna underscore and say, you might have to practice some of these skills and you wanna make them natural , right ? Because there's nothing worse than seeing someone who's coached. I was watching a Ted talk and it was very obvious that the person had been coached to use their hands. And so they said the line that they were both supposed to say, and then they moved their hand up in a so motion. But because they didn't come together, it felt very forced and it didn't help them look credible as a speaker. Now they had great information and I wasn't judging them, but I, I noticed those things. And so I say, I'm not telling you to do things just because I say, I'm just sharing some things that will, when you can make them natural. And they're not hard that you will become a better public , more in engaging public speaker. And really if you wanna have reach an impact and I'm sure that's why you're speaking, then you really do need to become a better public speaker because that's how people will listen to you. It really is about doing a service to your audience because here's what happens. If you're super nervous, if you uncomfortable, your audience feels that and they worry about you. They probably worry. And when they're worried about you failing up there or being nervous or uncomfortable, they cannot hear the valuable information that you are wanting to share. And, and I have one story, that'll say I , I used to go to a lot of , uh , public speaking, the moth story slams and everyone's super supportive and one person did not practice. And they encourage you to practice. One person didn't practice. They didn't prep. They didn't do anything. And they got up there and they had whole minutes of silence and sweating and you could feel the audience. It was like they were on a cliff. And when the person got off the stage, they cheered for them. But they cheered because they were relieved, cuz it was so stressful for them as the audience. So my five tips are this one, very your voice . And I'll go into them deeply, but a little preface. And this is like a , I'm gonna , I'm gonna get a little meta here because one of the tips, the secret sip sixth tip is what I call sign posting . So that means tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em then tell 'em then tell 'em what you told them . And the speakers who do these three things. People view them as more powerful speakers. They remember what their , what the audience members remember what they have to say and they just have a more positive overview. So I'm gonna say, here's what I'm gonna tell you. Vary your voice, breathe, hydrate, pause, and stand up. Now let's go to the first one, get into those be because I , I think people don't think there's a strategy here and we can all learn how to do this. Yes you can. Now I come from a Greek family. So we are always talking with our hands and our voices and we have a lot of variety in our voice and a lot of movement. Like we would make terrible actors because really acting is about this, you know, very, the face. There's not as much. It's the face and not a lot of face . Like it is really when you look at actors, it's kind of, I don't even know how they're doing it. Um, so vary your voice. Now, most people think they're doing this, but they actually have about three notes that they use. So they go a little bit up here and then they go a little bit down here and then they're pretty much right around here. Three notes is not variety. Like you, there're not very, very many songs that, that only use three notes. That aren't interesting. So you wanna , when you're practicing what you're going to say, you do want to think about where is it that there's some excitement in here? Where is it that it's very, very important that I stress? Or where is it a little bit more intimate, right ? Sometimes we're talking about something it's a little more intimate and so you wanna vary your voice. Roger Love has some great advice on this. He , he has five different factors and it's pace, pitch , tone, volume, and melody. So pace pitch , tone, volume, and melody pacing is am I going really, really quiet quick? Or am I going very slowly? And there are times for that. Again, you wanna make it natural. I didn't plan this. I'm speaking off the cuff, but it's natural for me to say, you know, sometimes you wanna go really very quickly and sometimes you want to go slowly and then you wanna vary your notes in terms of , um, pitch. So some people you naturally talk in a very, very high voice, even if you're a man it's not about that something . And some people talk very, very, very low and you wanna make sure you're at a comfortable zone in those two and you're varying it. And then , um, your tone, you want it . Uh he's Roger, Roger Love is so much better at this, but all those pieces, like the biggest piece I can tell you is like volume. You wanna vary your volume. You wanna vary all those bits. And the thing is ascending melodies. So a lot of people are taught to go down at a period or comma . So it would look like this. Here's my name. It's Andrea Spyros. I'm a public speaker, right? Those are going down. And that kind of brings your audience down. Now there's sometimes when you wanna , you don't , you don't wanna tell a tragic story with an, but here's how it could sound. My name is Andrea Sypros I'm a public speaker and I do great workshops on behavior design. Much more interesting for the listening. Most more interesting for the ear for listening. Yeah. Now if I'm sharing a tragic story, I'm not gonna say, and then the person had this horror , well thing happened to them . Like I'm not gonna say that . Right , right, right . You're gonna , you wanna do like, just like in behavior design, you wanna do some matching match what you're saying , the words you're saying to , but most of the time we're automatically out of habit speaking in kind of this down tone . So lift people, lift, lift your melody up, go up the scale and uh , you'll be you more interesting . So that's very your voice next breathe. So many people don't breathe when they're public speaking and I get it. Yeah . First of all, you have a lot of ,Judy Oskam:
because they're nervous, they're nervous .Andrea Spyros:
They're , they're nervous . They have a time limit. They wanna get all the information out and they don't wanna miss anything. And so they gore really , really quickly . And then they just keep going and they don't realize that they need to just put some more coms in there, you know , put some more coms in there. Right. And, and, and pace yourself. Like if you, a lot of times people don't practice. And so that's why they're worried about time. And the thing is, if you're not breathing, then you're gonna make your nervousness more. Because when you stop breathing is when you get more nervous. I , I shared this and when we did our podcast, that fear or nervousness is excitement without the breath . So if you just breathe, then your nervousness will become excitement. And you can harness that to share with your audience. And that's super for important because your audience is speeding off of your energy when you're doing that. So if you take a moment to breathe, do some breathing before, and also here's the thing I know. Even when I speak, sometimes I think, wow, that breath was really long and it feels uncomfortable, but it's not as long to your audience as it is to you in the spotlight . And that's really important to know. And again, since we're, we this back to the audience, because you wanna be able to deliver whatever you're delivering to your audience. And now let's just say your audience could be your team. Your audience could be your, your students , the people, you , your students, the people you report to your audience could be anything like that. It just doesn't, doesn't have to be a huge organizational theater filled full of people. And if you are , you know, breathing and doing all these things, they're going to listen to you more. So that's , um, breathing, don't be afraid to breathe and definitely breathe through your nervousness. It also has a profound effect on the brain, right? So it turns down despite flight part of your brain and turns up the creative problem, solving part of your brain that will allow you to then remember what you're going to say, because basically we're always afraid of what we, we are, you know , if we're gonna forget our lines. Right , right . And, and, and, you know, there's, there's many ways to, to deal with that. But if you're in fear, you're definitely not gonna remember your line . So you definitely wanna breathe to get yourself outta that. The third thing is, you know, people laugh at this, but hydrate there's volumes and volumes and volumes of information on hydration for the body hydration for the brain. I mean, not just hydration for your Sal glands, cuz you're gonna be speaking. Right. And so you will put yourself in a better mindset and a better , um, you know, whole body set for speaking. If you, you know, mindfully hydrate, now I'm not saying drink a gallon before you go on stage . That was not gonna work . Yeah .Judy Oskam:
That would not be good.Andrea Spyros:
But the day before, right? Definitely like if you're not, oh , plan hydrating planet the day before, extra hydrate , have some, a little bit of water with you on, on stage. And that will help. I mean, it really helps your brain. Um, and it all definitely helps your body so you can speak more clearly. The next one is , um , pausing, and this is the scariest one besides breathing. It kind of goes, yeah , it kind of goes with breathing but pausing, right? People think that they're afraid to pause and on clubhouse where you and I do a lot of work, pausing is a little different because there's an energy to the room on clubhouse and the way it works. So that's a little bit artful pause. I'm still working on that. But pausing for your audience actually gives their time , their brain time to integrate what you've said . So it's kind of like if someone's constantly showering you with information , you can only take so much , but, or I , I just thought of it this way. It's like, if , if I'm throwing things to you, if I'm throwing balls to you, you can only catch so many balls.Judy Oskam:
Right. But if I pause and give you a chance to put them in a place and put them down, then you can receive more of those. And it's the same way with information. If you keep throwing your more information , they can only handle so much. And then the rest of it just gets lost. And so if you give them a pause, they can integrate that information and then be ready to receive more. Now I think it's really important for people who are speaking to remember that the pause is for the audience, right? It's for the people that you are speaking to. So you're doing them a service and that they will be grateful to you for giving them that time. And that it's not about you . You will have to do some breathing. Maybe the first few times you do this so that you can deal with your own feelings of anxiety about being silent in your meeting on stage or whatever audience you have. Now I have a couple tricks here or you can maybe, maybe you could ask a question too. Exactly. Exactly. So that is one of the tips I have is like ask a question and then be silent. Because obviously if you ask a question, you would listen. If you're asking them to write it down, tell them , especially I do this a lot with virtual presentations, tell them we're gonna do this for a minute inquiry. You know, whatever question you have or think about this and then time it so that it is a minute. I actually, when I do my virtual presentations, I have a timer it's set to a minute. We do a minute. I give them a ten second warning. I also feedback . And then I am quiet for a whole minute, but that's the way you could . It's hard , hard . It's hard as a speaker too. But when I, when I set that up, it helps me and helps them. Now I'm better at pausing just for a pause. Now I've done that . But that's a great way, like asking a question and telling them the exact amount of time that you're going to be silent and even say, I'm gonna be quiet to give you time to fully think about that. Right. Then they expect it . It's like you've created a contract because what most people fear is that they're gonna lose the audience that they're gonna look foolish, but you're not. So the pause is so important because the audience really needs time to go. What do I think about that? What do I feel about that? Where am I gonna link that with what I already know? How am I gonna act on that? And just do some integration. So that hands down is really important. And the final hip is to stand up now, especially with virtual presentations, most people do stand in a lot of other presentations, but some don't, I'm always surprised. I stand during all my virtual presentations. I stand during this podcast, even though it's a podcast, no one can tell, but I think people can tell because there's a different tone in my voice. I feel more stable and active than I do when I'm sitting down. And I think that comes through in my voice. And I think people can tell that even if you can't tell for yourself, right, and you wanna be at the ready for your audience, you wanna be ready to deliver. You wanna be able to Zig and zag with your own self, even if you're not taking Q and a, but you wanna be able to go, Ooh , in your head, you're thinking, oh, that's not, I'm , I'm going a little off track, but I can write that. And where do you have more flexibility when you're standing and you don't necessarily have that when you're sitting. So I think that energy comes through when you're standing. I think that , uh, you are able to recover from any strays, right? That you, you may think the audience, your audience generally doesn't know that. Um , but you might know it. You're able to recover and you're able to be more powerful speaker when you're standing up. So my five tips vary your voice, breathe, hydrate, pause, and stand up.Judy Oskam:
Love it, Andy. Thank you so much. I can't wait to share this with my students and our listeners all over the world. So fantastic. Thanks so much for joining us.Andrea Spyros:
You're so welcome, Judy. I always love working with you. I look forward to , uh , our sessions and , uh , anybody who needs just, you know, reach out and we will connect.Judy Oskam:
Sounds Great. Thanks. Thank you for listening to Stories of Change and Creativity. Check out the show notes for more information about this episode. And remember if you have a story to tell or know one who does reach out to email@example.com . Thanks for listening .