Whether you’re in a meeting with your team, presenting to an audience, or speaking on stage, you will need to develop public speaking skills.
The best part is, you can control the outcome of how your audience will perceive you. Let’s say you’ve been tasked to do an important presentation – Now do you want to leave knowing that your boss and others are impressed or do you want to leave knowing you could’ve done better?
Being a good public speaker will enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence, and open up countless opportunities.
5 Tips To Improve Public Speaking Skills
Know Your Audience
The first and most important part to remember when trying to improve public speaking skills is to understand your audience. This sometimes gets overlooked as people are more focused and worried about how nervous they’ll be on stage or how the audience will perceive them. But, always remember – the speech is for the audience, not you.
So, before even getting started on writing or preparing the speech take time to understand your audience and the purpose of the speech.
Practice and Prepare
Once you’ve got an understanding of who your audience will be and understood the purpose of the speech you can begin preparing and practicing.
Now, a key mistake that most people make is memorizing the whole speech word to word. But, now that you’re reading this, you know better. You should never memorize the whole thing. Use cues and certain keywords that help you bridge the story.
Tell A Story
Use humor and effective words to keep the audience engaged. Imagine this – You’re sitting in the audience and the speaker is very nervous and puts little to no effort in making you laugh. Do you think this is a speech you would remember? Or even pay attention to?
But, you’re not going to be this speaker are you?
Make your speech as interesting and possible by adding humor and elements of storytelling. The idea is to capture the audience’s attention in a way they can visualize the story. Use anecdotes and real-life examples, this way it becomes easy for the audience to connect and resonate with you.
It might seem unnatural at first, but with patience and practice, you will start to feel natural when you modulate your voice. Voice modulation helps in appealing to the emotion of the audience as you will seem more authentic in your delivery. Not to mention it recaptures their attention. All of the great public speakers have mastered voice modulation.
Here’s a simple tip on how you can improve your voice modulation – practice diaphragmatic breathing. Some of the greatest speakers like Barrack Obama & Margaret Thatcher have adopted this practice to improve their voice modulation.
Good public speakers are in tune with their audience. Public speaking is more than just going on a stage and speaking in front of an audience. You should be able to capture the audience’s attention within 60 seconds. Make eye contact with the audience and use gestures and facial expressions to get your point across clearly to the audience.
Move around the stage when you’re speaking, don’t get nervous and just freeze in one spot. Now, it’s important to remember that you pace yourself. Not just walk around frantically. Pace yourself and walk around. This will make your gestures seem more natural.