10 Tips for Improving your Public Speaking Skills
Some find it daunting as multiple faces and eyes stare in anticipation of your voice.
Others find it exciting and rewarding, seeing it as an opportunity to voice opinions and represent an organisation.
Whether it’s conducting training sessions, delivering briefings or presenting to a big group, public speaking is everywhere and it shouldn't be avoided.
To help you combat those unwanted nerves and fears, we're here to help.
To deliver a clear message that will leave your audience applauding, not yawning, we've combined 10 tips to help you improve your public speaking skills. Let's get started...
10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills
1. Think positive
It is important to not associate nerves and anxiety with the sense that you are going to perform badly. Feeling nervous is completely normal and can actually be seen as a positive thing. So, try and change your mindset when you next speak in front of an audience and view feeling nervous with a positive outlook.
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2. Practice makes perfect
This might seem like an obvious one, but the only way to feel as confident as you can be before presenting is due to strong preparation.
- Practice in front of people: Start by practising your presentation on your own. Then, when you feel confident, give yourself enough time to practice in front of people.
-Record yourself: Record yourself on video so you can watch what the audience will be seeing. Find ways to improve for next time.
3. Know your audience
It is important to research, learn about and understand who exactly you are talking to. This should be done before your speech is written, so the message can be tailored to the group of people. This will then enable you to organise your material in the most effective way suited to your audience with the right choice of words. Meeting your audience before (if this is suitable) will also calm nerves through talking to your audience, as well as allowing you to network.
4. Use humour and tell stories
Telling a story or adding a sense of humour to your speech will help you grab the attention of your audience. Add a personal touch to your speech to allow your audience to relate to your points, and using your own examples will make you feel more comfortable whilst presenting.
Discover ways to stay calm during a presentation.
5. Focus on the two most important phases in your speech: the beginning and the end
Open your speech with something that will entice your audience to listen. Start with an interesting quote or a surprising statistic. Make sure to end your speech with a strong statement and a closing line.
6. Study great presenters
Whether it's through TED Talks or in-person events, try to study how other people speak publically as much as you can. Studying other speakers allows you to gain motivation and tools to use in your own public speaking.
Here's a great TED Talk on public speaking to help get you started:
7. Think about your body language
Your body language plays a large role in how your voice is perceived when you are public speaking. It not only affects your audience, but it also has an impact on how confident you appear during your presentation.
Aim to use open body language when public speaking - this allows you to take better control of your breath and use the power from your whole body to speak clearly. Using this type of body language effectively can help you clarify your words and reinforce your confidence and knowledge on the topic.
8. Know your key talking points
Whether you feel anxious about public speaking or you have a fear of freezing on the spot before you even open your mouth, knowing your key talking points can help you keep calm and not panic. Public speaking can be very daunting, so it can send your brain into overdrive - causing brain fog and difficulty focusing.
Use cue cards or make your key talking points bold on your presentation slides to jog your memory. This can help avoid those 'blank' moments and allow you to naturally continue speaking confidently without awkward filler.
9. Be yourself
Public speaking isn't about putting on a facade to show how knowledgeable you are. Doing this won't fool your audience and has more chance of making a bad impression. Being authentic when public speaking will make you sound more natural and will help build a connection easier between you and the audience.
Be your true self and speak from your passion, it's much more likely that you might even enjoy public speaking this way!
10. Slow down and take deep breaths
Rushing through whatever you have to say won't make public speaking any easier or enjoyable. It can actually make the whole experience more stressful and anxiety-inducing. By slowing down and focusing on your breath, you can take control of your anxiety in the moment and put all your energy into speaking clearly for your audience.
Take your Public Speaking Skills to the Next Level
Whether you want to influence others, present with impact or craft quick responses to complex situations with ease, our range of Confidence & Resilience training courses will have you producing clear messages in no time. Secure your place today to avoid missing out.
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