The majority of people are afraid of public speaking to some extent. In fact, only approximately ten percent of people in the United States say they like it. Developing your public speaking skills can give you a significant career advantage since it can open doors that others may pass up.
- Being able to speak in front of a group can help you demonstrate your knowledge and advance in your work.
- To get more comfortable speaking in public, including a few public speaking techniques in your life.
- Great public speakers can teach you a lot about what works for them.
- Take public speaking training to improve your confidence and skills.
Whether you’re giving a speech at a friend’s wedding, motivating volunteers at a charity event, or honoring a loved one at a funeral, public speaking is a valuable talent. Even if you don’t give public speeches on a regular basis, establishing excellent oratory abilities can help you deal with and enhance your general confidence in emotional or stressful situations, especially if you suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD).
You’ll find tips and tactics for public speaking below that can help you feel at ease in front of an audience and talk with confidence.
The Importance of Effective Public Speaking
Strong public speaking skills will set you apart in college and in your job, making you feel more secure and allowing you to take on leadership roles. One of the most powerful methods to get your point through, display your knowledge, and influence people is through public speaking.
It can also assist you in being organized as well as improving your writing and interpersonal communication skills. Many people who appear entirely at ease in front of large crowds once had a severe fear of public speaking. You can give yourself significant benefits in life by mastering this fear, practicing, and acquiring confidence.
How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
You may steadily develop your skills and become more comfortable giving presentations and speeches by adopting various public speaking techniques in your daily life. These best practices include paying attention to your body language, researching what works for excellent public presenters, practicing breath control, and planning ahead of time.
1. Research Well-Known Public Speakers
One of the most effective strategies to develop your public speaking skills is to observe and learn from excellent speakers. To begin, go to YouTube and look for videos of excellent public speakers. Take note of these people’s body language while you observe them. You’ll notice that it stays open and inviting. They use their arms and hands to emphasize their main arguments. They also prevent excessive fidgeting and make effective use of the available area to hold the audience’s attention. Pay close attention to how speakers maintain their pace. They tend to take their time and speak slowly and deliberately. They also do not rush themselves and employ pauses to keep the audience engaged. They may employ suitable and effective humor or anecdotes. Check out some of the TED Talks that are available online to get you started. Toastmasters International also has a list of some of the world’s top public speakers.
2. Be at Ease With Your Body Language
Fear of public speaking can make you tense, which impacts your body language badly.
The most effective public presenters maintain appropriate posture, maintain eye contact with the audience, and move in natural ways. Body language enhances your performance by assisting the audience in absorbing and remembering what you say. Avoid crossing your arms or placing your hands in your pockets. Instead, start with your arms at your sides and convey your points with deliberate hand gestures. Take a look around the audience. Don’t spend too much time staring at the ground or at your notes. You might even start making eye contact with individual persons watching your presentation as your confidence grows.
3. Work on Controlling Your Voice and Breathing
Many people’s perceptions of time are distorted when they speak in public, causing them to speak faster than they normally would. Be conscious of this issue and maintain a constant tempo throughout your presentation. It will help you relax, and the listeners will understand what you’re saying better. Breath control can assist you in this endeavor. Practice pushing air into and out of your lungs with your stomach. Take ten slow, deep breaths before you begin speaking in public.
4. Make a List of Talking Points
Prepare a sequence of talking points before giving a speech that includes the important themes you want your audience to know, feel, and comprehend by the time you’ve finished speaking.
Begin with three to five broad messages, then create several supporting arguments for each topic. Start with the message you want to address first and organize your talking points in chronological order. Having an outline of your messages on hand can help you stay on track during your presentation and guarantee you don’t miss any essential points.
5. Be Aware of Your Target Market
Take the time to learn about your audience before giving a presentation so that you can personalize your speech to them. Consider what they care about and what they are most likely to find useful.
Your approach will also be influenced by the type of event at which you’ll be speaking. A formal banquet, for example, may necessitate a different sort of presentation than a classroom full of your classmates.
6. Incorporate a Visual Aid
Visual assistance, such as a PowerPoint presentation, can help you make your main points while engaging the audience more effectively.
Your visual assistance should complement rather than detract from your presentation. Avoid using text-heavy PowerPoints or reading your slides verbatim. Make slides with graphs and visuals that illustrate your views. If you must incorporate text, do so in the form of a few short bullet points.
7. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Practice is one of the most effective techniques to improve your public speaking abilities. You may improve your messaging and find better ways to express key parts of your presentation by repeating them. You will naturally feel more comfortable presenting your speech in front of an audience once you have rehearsed it several times.
8. Make a Recording of Your Speeches
Record your public speaking engagements on video so you can review them later. Examine your body language, the tone of your voice, and the pace with which you speak. Even the best public speakers do this on a regular basis, and they are constantly looking for methods to improve their public speaking abilities.
9. Make a Call to a Friend
Bring a friend who you can trust to keep an eye on you while you’re on stage. Tell them you’re searching for constructive criticism and that they’re free to be absolutely honest with you. Give them a few tips on what to look for so they can notice whether you need to work on your pacing, fidgeting, or delivery in a specific portion.
10. Enroll in a Public Speaking Course
Students develop vital skills that increase their ability to speak and present in front of crowds by attending public speaking lessons. They acquire confidence through learning from experts and relying on their peers for help. If you’re afraid of public speaking, you can connect with other students who are facing the same problem.
Consider taking an online public speaking course if you want to improve your public speaking skills for virtual presentations. An in-person lesson may be a better alternative if you want to learn how to speak in front of a real audience. You might also be able to join student clubs that will allow you to practice public speaking. Taking public speaking lessons at college, especially early on, can help you excel in the rest of your studies and give you a leg up on the competition when it comes time to start your career.
11. Recognize Your Own Speech Patterns
You can improve your public speaking skills by understanding how you communicate when you’re just having a casual chat. Instead of using filler words to avoid quiet, practice pausing and giving yourself time to organize your ideas.
- Pay close attention to any filler words you use in a conversation. When you’re analyzing your thoughts and don’t know what to say next, these are the noises and words you speak. “Ah,” “Um,” “Like,” and “Er” are examples of words and noises.
Filler words can be reduced by being more comfortable with quiet.
- We have default speech settings as well, which have become second nature to us over time.
You might say “Bless you” if someone sneezes, for example. These habits can also be found in public speaking. Determine what verbal and nonverbal behaviors you have. Which ones make you appear uneasy or untrustworthy?
- You can start correcting your habits once you’ve identified what they are.
- When you’re nervous, you can adjust your spectacles. Alternatively, you can pick your fingernails. Perhaps you should use more filler words.
- Learn to be aware of what you’re doing in all circumstances to assist you in changing bad habits.
Even if you’re on the phone with a friend, be aware of what you’re doing. Make an attempt to stop doing something when you recognize you’re doing it.
12. Take a Deep Breath, Smile, and Drink Plenty of Water
Breathing is an important part of giving a great speech. You will remain calm and focused by controlling your breathing and allowing oxygen to enter your body. Water keeps you energized, and smiling makes you joyful. You feel better when you grin.
- Allowing yourself to take a few deep breaths will help you slow down your heart rate and digest what you’re doing and saying. When we’re frightened, we tend to take shallower, shorter breaths. This type of breathing doesn’t allow us to get as much oxygen as we need and can cause our thinking to get clouded.
- Long, steady breaths will assist you in maintaining a clear mind and a relaxed body. Also, remember to smile. Smiling causes our brains to release endorphins, which make us feel good.
Also, remember to stay hydrated. When you’re dehydrated, it’s difficult to think properly, and you’re more likely to grow weary.
13. Get Plenty of Rest and Dress for Success
If you know you’ll be speaking in the morning, make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Then, when you wake up feeling revitalized and motivated, put on the outfit you had planned to wear.
- Do whatever you need to do to unwind and get a good night’s sleep. Exercising, watching a movie, and reading are all good ideas. Make an effort to get eight hours of sleep each night so you can wake up feeling revitalized.
- Plan your clothing ahead of time, so you only have to put it on. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful and gives you confidence, whether it’s that fantastic suit that makes you feel like you can take on the world or that elegant gown that flatters your figure and instills confidence in you.
Dress professionally, but in something that makes you feel good. Your confidence will soar if you feel terrific about how you appear.
14. Learn to Be at Ease in the Presence of Stillness
Silences may be difficult, especially when you’re standing in front of a large group of people who are waiting for you to say something. Silences, on the other hand, provide an opportunity to take a breath and collect your thoughts.
* Make speaking a conscious decision. Because you’re standing in front of a crowd, it’s not something you have to do. It’s something you decide to do when the time is right.
* Learning to be comfortable with quiet can allow you to take your time when speaking in front of an audience. You don’t want to speed through your presentation. Silences will always seem longer to you than they do to others who do not talk. Just grin and collect your thoughts, but don’t take too long. The audience will not mind some silence if what you say is excellent enough.
* Stay calm by using silence to monitor your breathing. Silence can also be used to allow a point to sink in. If you’re giving a speech and want something you just said to really sink in with your listeners, silence is an excellent approach to do so before moving on. Silence is your ally, not your adversary.
Nobody expects you to be flawless because good communication is never perfect. Putting in the necessary time to prepare, on the other hand, will help you produce a better speech. You may not be able to completely eliminate your nerves, but you can learn to manage them.
Although most people have a fear of public speaking, they will have to give a speech at some point. Developing your public speaking skills might help you overcome your fear and possibly alleviate social anxiety. However, if you have severe anxiety when speaking in front of a group, you should get support from a healthcare physician or a skilled mental health expert.