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Are we born public speakers or do we have to work on building our public speaking skills? This is the question, many ask. This is also the excuse introverts like me use to hide in their shell.
In my last post, I wrote briefly on my leadership journey and how leadership roles helped me with my public speaking phobia.
Have I become extroverted and less nervous during a public speaking session? The answer is no. But I have learned to build strategies and techniques that help me act more confident and relaxed during public speaking.
With the right strategy and persistence, you too can master the art of public speaking. I have listed the best tips for public speaking that can help you learn how to become an effective speaker.
How To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills in 6 Steps
1. Practice Constantly
Practice. Practice. And practice.
When it comes to public speaking, there are never many times enough for practice. Make it a habit to always practice before any public presentation. Never assume you are good to go. Overconfidence is always the biggest cause of public speaking mishaps.
When practicing my speech, I will stand in front of a mirror and assume I am in front of an audience. Before your next speech, watch pre-recordings of your speeches or practice with a friend or family.
Practicing constantly is always the best way to improve your public speaking skills.
2. Know Your Audience
One of the biggest blunders public speakers tend to make is to assume different audiences to be the same, thereby using similar speaking strategies for all talk situations. Your speech is about them, not you.
Make extensive research on your audience, their age group, ethnics, environment, beliefs, and laws.
You should not use the same speech technique on elementary school kids with working-class adults who might probably know more than you do.
Don’t go and give a talk on the importance of beef in India. You will be lucky if you make it out alive.
3. Discover Your Style
This is a very important tip to help you improve your public speaking skills. In my previous article on leadership, I emphasized the importance of having a mentor or a guide you aspire to be like. Regardless, ensure you discover your style before emulating a role model.
Are you a calm soft-spoken person or an outspoken person with a burst of energy? Make your public speaking style in a manner that goes with that flow. Either way, don’t forget to share some stories and jokes with your audience to keep them engaged.
Do what you know will make your speech stand out and feel natural, and see how your public speaking improves.
4. Be Calm And Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Roy T. Bennett
The one who falls and gets up is stronger than the one who never tried. Do not fear failure but
rather fear not trying.
As weird as it might sound, I have built the habit of loving failure because failure is the biggest teacher you can ever have.
To improve your public speaking skills, the tip is to calm down and don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake. You are not alone on this journey. You can always learn from your mistakes and do better the next time.
Act calm and confident anytime you miss a word or stutter.
5. Take Note Of Your Body Language
To improve your public speaking skills, control your body language. The stage is all yours and yours alone. Don’t stand still, move around the stage at a calm confident pace. Use your voice and hands naturally. Don’t give out nervous gestures.
Also, don’t stand at the corner of the stage like a wet scared bird, that won’t look good on you. Stand straight, articulate your speech accurately and win over the crowd.
This is one of the best tips on public speaking that you will come across.
6. Ask For Feedback
During my public speaking sessions at the toastmaster club, the feedback always helped me in my next presentation.
The format was Commend-Recommend-Commend style. Constructive feedback and recommendation by your audience will be a great advantage to you to prepare better for your upcoming public speaking sessions.
The audience always sees and observes things you probably missed during your rehearsal.
Consistency is always the key to perfection. There is no easy way out of public speaking.
Discipline yourself and make it a habit to practice, learn from books, videos, and great public speakers. Don’t be afraid to fail, practice with friends and families or join public speaking clubs in your town.
These tips on public speaking I shared might not necessarily change your personality, but will help you build the unique public speaking techniques that will make you stand out and act confident during a public speaking session.