Do you absolutely dread public speaking? Well, you’re not alone. While many of us hate and even fear speaking publicly, we might just have to present in front of an audience or speak in a group meeting from time to time. This is the case for most people, but for many others who are— or aspire to be— in a leadership position, public speaking can be a fundamental part of their career. Either way, having good public speaking skills can definitely come in handy, even if you don’t need to make regular presentations in front of a group.
What if you wanted to make a speech at your best friend’s wedding? What would you do if you needed to inspire the new interns at your workplace? There are many instances in our lives where being a great public speaker can prove quite useful.
So how can you become one? Read on to find out.
Simplify your message
One of the most common mistakes speakers often make is trying to prove that they’re smart. If you’re standing in front of an audience, then you’re there for a reason, you don’t have to flaunt the depth and breadth of your expertise. Trying too hard to impress the listeners with your intellect and knowledge will only create a gap that alienates them, and makes you come across as arrogant. So, focus instead on conveying your message in a powerful yet friendly manner. Simplify the information and maintain a self-effacing demeanor, this will make you more approachable, which in turn, will make it easier for you to win over your audience.
Make it unique
It’s also critical to frame that message in a unique way that distinguishes your style and character as a speaker. One way that you can make your message more special is by coming up with clever anagrams. If you’re not sure how to come up with meaningful ones, click here where you can find a simple and helpful tool that will help you create new words from a specific set of letters. Using similar tricks and tools will help make your speeches and presentations more interesting, and they also offer the added benefit of making you sound incredibly smart!
Connect with your audience
You’ll want to put your audience at ease while ensuring that your message gets across. To do that, you’ll want to engage your audience by maintaining eye contact, asking rhetorical questions, using humor, and telling personal stories. These are all powerful tools that you should have in your public speaking toolkit. Avoid reading word-for-word from your notes and try to memorize what you’re going to say instead. You can still refer back to your cue cards or notes when you need them, just be sure to interact with the audience as you speak and don’t overdo it.
Record and revisit your previous speeches
This is perhaps the best way to get accurate insight and pinpoint exactly which aspects you need to be working on. Yes, other people can give you valuable feedback, but their words are never going to be as enlightening as seeing yourself on tape. So whenever possible, record your presentations and speeches and revisit them later to evaluate your skills and monitor your progress.
Pay attention to your body language
The way you carry yourself during your speech tells your audience a lot about you, even if you’re unaware of it. Your body language and the tone of your voice will give them subtle yet direct clues about your inner state at that moment. This means that if you’re nervous or you don’t entirely believe in what you’re talking about, your listeners will be able to tell. So, when rehearsing your next speech or rewatching your old ones, pay attention to your posture, in fact, you could even use a posture corrector to help you when starting out). Facial expressions, hand gestures, repetitive speech patterns, tone, and verbal stalls such as “um” or “like.” Also, take note of how you handled interruptions, whether it’s a loud, startling sneeze or an unexpected question that you weren’t prepared for.
Your public speaking skills can affect many areas in your life, both socially and professionally. The good news is that you get to decide the kind of impact this has on you. With the tips above, you can improve your skills, boost your confidence, and open the door for countless opportunities.
Last but not least, always remember that thorough preparation and constant practice are key. Not only will they make you a confident and compelling speaker, but they will also help you overcome your nervousness, allowing you to perform exceptionally well when the time for your big speech or presentation comes. With all that in mind, you can now be well on your way to becoming a better public speaker and, one day, even a great one.