13-17yrs, 18 & over, 8-12yrs, Helpful Links, Motivational (Coaching, Speaking, etc), personal development, Speaking, Uncategorized

Speak: 8 Ways to Improve Public Speaking Skills

public speaker
Photo by Miguel @Miguel Henriques on Unsplash

Do you want to get better at public speaking?  Do you want to be more confident when you speak to others? Public speaking is a very important “Soft Skill” to have. When it comes to public speaking and grabbing your audience’s attention, it isn’t only about the content spoken but how you deliver it. So, here are 8 tips which can help you improve: 

Tip 1: Preparation and Practice.

  • Practice in front of a mirror: Practicing in front of your mirror is invaluable because it helps you be cognizant of the subtle distracting movements you make.
  • Practice in front of people you’re comfortable with: Practicing with people you’re comfortable with, whether it be your friends or family is extremely useful. When you practice in front of others, it makes you feel like your in front of an audience and they can give you feedback on how to improve as well.
  • Record/videotape yourself: Recording/Videotaping yourself allows you to see what the audience will see while you present. You’ll be able to see where you may struggle with ideas or transitions, where you may miss points, and how well you hold your narrative thread from start to close.

Tip 2: Voice Control

  • Tone: When you deliver your speech, your tone should be calm and collected. Before you speak, take deep breaths and when you’re speaking keep your tone consistent and confident. 
  • Pause: When you talk, remember to take a brief pause after every sentence/ idea/ topic you talk about. If you rush your speech, no one will be able to understand what you are saying so take small pauses as you speak.
  • Avoid filler word: Try to avoid filler words like “um”, “ah”, “uh”. If you think you are using more filler words than your speech, then stop and take a breath and continue talking. 
  • Clear and slow: As you talk, make sure you talk clearly and slowly, but not too slow. Avoid mumbling the words and open your mouth, enunciate the words if you have to, but speak clearly and take your time.

Tip 3: Body language.

Your body language is very important when you present yourself. Try to keep your shoulders back and stand straight. If you slouch or sit down, your audience won’t take you seriously. While you speak, you should use hand gestures and facial expressions to convey what’s going on in your mind.

Tip 4: Be comfortable with your audience, but not too comfortable.

When you’re with your audience, be comfortable with them and let your personality shine through but at the same time, don’t be too comfortable because it may be too informal. If you have a good sense of humor, then subtly bring that out through your speech with short stories that could help lighten the mood and make you and your audience have a connection, but in the same time, don’t be too comfortable that you forget that you’re talking to your audience and not your friends.

Tip 5: Your Speech.

Your content is important so make sure your information is structurally organized to attain the audience’s attention. Grab your audience’s attention at the beginning with something that’ll make them listen and close it with a dynamic end. Make sure that your audience understands the overall message you want to send to them.

Tip 6: Try to avoid reading from your paper

When you speak with your audience, try not to read from your script if you can, instead try to memorize what you have to say. Eye contact is very important during a speech, so if your eyes are glued to the paper or screen, your audience will lose interest. You may refer to the paper once or twice but don’t keep your eyes glued on it. It is not important if you remember the speech word by word, and if you forget the words then improvise. As long as you know what message/ topic you’re trying to convey, then you can talk about it naturally. Also, try to look around and move while you speak so the audience is engaged as well.

Tip 7: Find someone you know, a friendly face.

If you don’t feel comfortable with presenting and making eye contact with your audience, then try to find a friendly face, someone you know and you are comfortable presenting in front of. You can keep eye contact with them while you speak. If you don’t know anyone in the audience, there’s bound to be friendly people in the audience so find them and pretend you’re speaking to them only.

Tip 8: Exposure 

At the end of the day, no one is perfect when it comes to public speaking, however, it is always good to get more exposure and find opportunities which allow you to practice your public speaking skills. The more exposure you get, the better you become at public speaking.

If you like this, you may like Soft skills to lean immediately by Katherine Symanowicz.

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