4 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills
Last night we saw the American president, Donald Trump, deliver an important speech: the State of the Union. Even though his presentation skills were okay while giving the message, we were quick to compare him to former president Barack Obama—a fantastic public speaker. And now, we can’t help but wonder: how does someone become a great speaker, with such outstanding communication skills?
First, let me ask you something.
Does the thought of public speaking cause your heart to beat a little faster, your palms to start sweating, and your head to feel lighter?
If your response is ‘yes’, don’t worry—you are among the 75% of individuals who suffer from speech anxiety.
The good news is that you are not alone. The bad news is that you won’t be able to avoid facing some public speaking in your lifetime. Whether you’re a business professional, a student, or a volunteer, you will need to deal with public speaking at one point or another.
Public speaking is an excellent way for you to position yourself as an expert and, frankly, a necessary skill to master. Renowned speakers, such as Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy were successful in their quest to inspire and influence a mass of people because they knew how to share their thoughts and deliver their message.
You’ve probably heard of all the tricks out there: picture the audience naked, admit you’re nervous, don’t look at the audience members in the eye, etc. But do any of them really work?
Maybe for some.
The team behind the Zeqr knowledge sharing platform has perfected the journey of becoming a great speaker and has prepared this article to make you a great speaker, too! Don’t let your fear of public speaking get in the way of a promotion, a good grade, or another successful outcome
So, without further ado, here are some essential tips on how you can improve your public speaking skills.
Know Your Audience
First and foremost, a great speaker is someone who knows their audience. What does this mean exactly? Well, your audience will differ from a situation to situation. A group of executives will be much different than a group of college students. The message that will resonate with each group can be the same, but the delivery can differ if you want to register with each respective listener successfully.
Prepare For Public Speaking
Having the right type of content is only half the battle. To ensure that you have the right tools to deliver your message, it is highly recommended that you invest in live online communication skills training with a professional communicator. You can practice in front of your mirror all day long, but until you have feedback in real-time, from a professional, you will not be able to work on your flaws and reach your full potential fast enough.
To find practical communication training, visit sites like upwork.com, Lynda.com or Udemy. For live and interactive sessions, Zeqr has many experts who can focus on perfecting your craft.
For those looking for help in writing a compelling and attention-catching article, join Eugene Yiga in his Speech Writing Class, where he walks you through choosing the perfect topic, pointers on drafting your speech, and tips on dealing with stress and anxiety of public speaking.
Already have your speech written out? Well, you can book the live session Public Speaking for Business with Dr. Allana Todman-Da Graca, where she tells you all about different levels of public speaking, including voice projection, benefits of the different types of speeches, and overall guidance for success.
If you fidget when you are nervous, then the live class Powerful Stage Presence for Business Presenters by Mike Clayton is the one for you. This 25-minute course will teach you how to take control of the room, how to use visuals, and how to show to your audience that you are an expert in your field.
Practice Makes Perfect
Of course, you have heard this before, but let’s say it one more time: practice makes perfect! Do not wait until the day before your presentation or speech to look over your outline. Instead, if time allows it, be sure to read and re-read your speech before the big day.
We even recommend that you videotape yourself and play the recording back—this will help you notice and avoid filler words such as “uhm” and “like”, and any nervous movements. Your professional online classes will be the perfect time for you to hear feedback on any tendencies you have while speaking publicly.
Be Your Genuine Self
As easy as it may seem, being yourself is harder than it sounds—especially when it comes to public speaking. The most successful speakers are those that are their authentic selves and can pass on a bit of their personality to the message they deliver. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, embrace it!
Public speaking skills are like a muscle: the more you use them, the stronger they become. Therefore, keep practicing, especially with your online expert. And remember—you will not be perfect every time, and that’s ok. Take a breath, calm your mind, and keep going. Becoming a professional speaker does not happen with you sitting around and thinking about it—so, get out there and start practicing!