5 Ways To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking can make the average person’s blood run cold, but it doesn’t have to be that way! There are tons of tips and tricks out there to help you feel more confident when you get in front of an audience. Check out these five ways to improve your public speaking skills and prepare to wow everyone with your next presentation!
If you’ve ever tried to tell a story and have it fall flat, or have had difficulty getting your point across in a meeting, there are probably a few reasons why. First, you may be nervous when speaking in front of others. Even if you aren’t naturally inclined to be more introverted, being put on the spot can feel daunting. But practicing will help get you comfortable with public speaking, which is an essential part of any leadership role. Practicing can take many forms. In addition to simply giving practice speeches (which should ideally be done without an audience), practice speaking at every opportunity and about everything under the sun–even if it’s just a quick chat with someone at work about how their weekend was or what they’re doing for dinner that night. You’ll find yourself becoming more confident as time goes on. You might even start to enjoy it!
2. Plan for it
A lot of us freeze up when we know we’re being watched. Part of it is a fear of public failure, part is nerves and part is our inner critic taking over—we start to question everything, from our delivery to our appearance. So in order to ensure that your public speaking skills are on point, try practicing with friends or coworkers before you take on your big crowd. It’s one thing to speak in front of an audience you know (and trust) and another entirely when that audience represents something bigger than yourself (i.e., a client). Since you don’t want any unexpected surprises during your real speech, make sure you prepare enough so that there will be no surprises at all.
3. Know your content inside out
One of the most common mistakes people make when speaking publicly is not knowing their material. We tend to only remember what we are passionate about, but when it comes to speaking in public, passion isn’t enough. Learning how to stay focused on your topic and not get distracted by all of those external distractions will go a long way towards keeping your audience engaged and interested. So, be sure that you know your content inside out; you want to be able to deliver it effortlessly.
4. Involve others
If you’re presenting something new to your audience, it may be easy to feel a little anxious. But with some preparation and practice, you can get rid of those nerves once and for all. Working on your presentation in front of other people or even asking for feedback will help you become more comfortable with what you’re saying. The more confident you are when speaking publicly, the better your speech will go over in front of an audience. It also doesn’t hurt to try out a few different techniques before giving your big talk. You may even want to explore speaking classes through an acting school. There is no way of knowing which technique will work best for you until you try them out.
5. Get feedback
The best way to get over public speaking jitters is to give your first presentation as early as possible. Ask your friends, family and co-workers if they’d like to hear a pitch for your idea—or just keep it casual and let them know about a great new project you’re working on at work. Make sure you have something prepared beforehand, but don’t make it so formal that you get too nervous. The more frequently you speak publicly, the easier it will become. If you do make a mistake, learn from it—but remember not to dwell on mistakes or focus on where things went wrong; instead, try to think of what could be improved next time around. There will always be room for improvement!