From nervous neophyte to silver-tongued orator, anyone can learn to speak in public with skill and confidence. Public speaking is an essential skill for success in many fields, from business to education to politics. If you’re looking to improve your public speaking skills, start with these 10 tips:
1. Find Your Voice
The first step to becoming a confident public speaker is finding your voice. Every person’s voice is unique, and you should use yours to your advantage. When speaking in public, it’s essential to project your voice so that everyone in the room can hear you. But don’t force it – instead, focus on speaking from your diaphragm.
Speaking from your diaphragm can allow you to project your voice without straining it. It also gives your voice a richer, more resonant quality. Rehearsing is also a great way to build confidence in your voice. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel using it.
2. Know Your Material
When speaking in public, it’s essential to be confident in what you’re saying. That means knowing your material inside and out. Before you give a speech or presentation, take some time to research your topic and learn as much as you can about it. Make sure you understand the main points you want to communicate and any counter arguments or opposing viewpoints.
If you have difficulty summarizing points or finding the right words to phrase something, try writing out your material ahead of time. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
Summarizing your main points into critical phrases or bullet points can also be helpful. This will give you a “cheat sheet” to refer to if you get lost during your presentation. You’ll find that even just having this safety net will help you feel more confident.
3. Be Prepared
Once you know your material, it’s time to start preparing for your speech or presentation. This doesn’t mean memorizing every word – instead, focus on creating an outline of what you want to say. Practice your speech or presentation several times to be familiar with the material and comfortable with delivering it.
We are only human, so don’t think you have to be perfect. It feels perfectly normal to make mistakes – just try to relax and roll with them. If you have a good idea of your topic and just need help with the delivery, consider recording yourself to identify any areas that need improvement.
4. Engage With Your Audience
One of the most critical aspects of public speaking is engaging with your audience. Throughout your speech or presentation, make sure to maintain eye contact with your listeners. This will help hold their attention and make them feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
You can also use facial expressions and gestures to emphasize specific points and engage your audience. Just be sure not to overdo it – too much movement can be distracting.
Make sure you also eliminate all distractions from the room to focus on your audience. This means turning off any electronic devices, putting away any notes or props, and making sure there’s nothing else that will take away from your message.
5. Use Visual Aids
Visual aids can be a great way to add interest to your speech or presentation and help your audience understand and remember your main points. But don’t go overboard – use visual aids sparingly, only if they’re essential.
Create a content board to establish the flow of your presentation. This will help to ensure that you hit all of the main points while still allowing you some flexibility to adapt to your audience’s reactions. Have a way to allow your audience to follow along, such as a PowerPoint presentation or visual charts to help keep them engaged.
6. Start Strong
The first few moments of your speech or presentation are crucial. This is when you’ll capture your audience’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your talk. Start strong by opening with a bang – an exciting story, a shocking statistic, or a surprising fact.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that will grab your audience’s attention and get them interested in what you have to say. Having an upbeat attitude and speaking with confidence will make an excellent first impression. Ensuring you have a strong presence when starting off will create a better atmosphere of professionalism around your brand and increase ROI on services you purchase.
7. Tell A Story
People love stories, so do it if you can incorporate one into your speech or presentation! Stories are a great way to connect with your audience and make your points more relatable and memorable. Ensure that you have assessed your audience and have tailored your story to them.
A good story can be the difference between a so-so speech and a great one. If you break your goals down and create a narrative, you can structure things in a way that is easy to follow.
8. Use Humor
Humor is another great way to connect with your audience and make your material more memorable. But as with stories, it’s important to use humor carefully and only if appropriate for your topic and audience. Nothing is worse than a bad joke falling flat.
If you have a good idea of your target audience, break things into smaller groups. This will help you deliver material that is both relevant and interesting to them. If you get the chemistry right, you’ll have set up a winning way to catch their attention.
9. Handle Questions With Confidence
Questions from the audience can be daunting, but they’re also an opportunity to show off your knowledge and engage with your listeners. If you’re well-prepared, you should have no problem answering questions confidently and without hesitation.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t try to wing it – instead, admit that you don’t know and offer to find out the answer later. This shows that you’re honest and willing to help, even doing some extra work.
Make sure you’re always following the main principles of customer service. This will help ensure that you’re constantly handling questions in the best way possible. Defusing tense situations and being proactive will show that you’re in control.
10. Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to become a confident and booming public speaker is to practice, practice! The more you do it, the easier it will become. So if you’re feeling nervous about an upcoming speech or presentation, don’t worry – just remember that practice makes perfect. Some of the best brands started off as a no-one and grew to be somebody by practicing their trade.
There are plenty of ways you can develop a routine to make your practice sessions more effective. The best way to do this is to keep a weekly or daily journal to track your progress. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement and see how far you’ve come.
Public speaking can be a daunting task, but you can become confident and booming with a bit of preparation and practice. If you have reasonable control of the main points, the use of gestures, and the right tone, you will be able to deliver a great speech. If you can keep these 10 tips in mind, you’ll do well to become a master public speaker. When engaging your audience on Instagram, these are crucial skills to have, especially with the viral potential of Instagram Reels.