7 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Public Speaking
Public speaking is something that most people are anxious about, regardless of their fluency and the ability to make themselves understood. Not being able to speak publicly affects one’s ability to form strong connections, persuade people, and explain information clearly.
Here are seven practical ways to improve your public speaking skills:
Start at the beginning : Make better introductions
It is the first thirty seconds of any content that makes people decide whether they want to continue watching, reading, or listening or not. You need to prepare your beginnings well and make sure you are off to a great start in order to grab the attention of the listeners. According to Dr. Michelle Mazur, some of the best ways to start a speech include:
- Telling a story or using a quote to grab the attention of your listeners
- Stating the importance of the topi
While the quickest way to make your listeners lose interest is to
- Give a dictionary definition of a word
- Tell a weak joke
- Talk about yourself
- Provide facts (stories are more interesting)
You should practice creating and testing different introductions to your topic and choose the one that is most relate to your audience.
Work on content and structure
Once your audience is interested in what you have to say, you need to show them a sense of purpose. Sarah Lloyd-Hughes of Ginger Training and Method teaches:
The Golden String Method
- Find the thread. Any speech should have one purpose, and all the pieces of the presentation should stem out from that purpose.
- Edit your content. You should recognize what can be cut out of your speech by figuring out what does not lead back to your main purpose.
- Add key moments. You should be adding stories and examples that solidify the purpose of your speech.
- Connect it. Join the content of your presentation by connecting all the details together. Instead of writing line by line, write section by section or story by story.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is known for walking out of meetings if the presentation lacks purpose and is unorganized. The aim of your speech should be to keep the people in their seats, both physically and mentally.
Work music theory in your delivery
The music we listen to has pauses, tempo, and melody; that’s why we tend to enjoy the music we hear. Such transitions are required to be present in your speech in order for your listeners to understand and enjoy what you have to say.
According to Peter jeff, there are eight speech writing lessons you can learn from songwriters:
- Sound effects
Jeff goes on to provide different examples from various speeches to showcase how you can include musical elements in your delivery. Start by putting different elements in your day to day speaking habits. While your audience won’t even know what’s happening, they would be impressed by your delivery nonetheless.
Work on incorporating non-verbal communication
According to a much-cited study, 93 percent of all the conversation that takes place is non-verbal. Keeping that in mind, you should be managing your gestures, movements, and facial expressions in order to get through the presentation.
The things that you should consider
- Standing up straight
- Use gestures that help you communicate your sentences easily
- Use the space around you to move
- Match your facial expressions to the mood of your sentences
- Make an eyes contact with the audience
Things you should avoid doing
- Repeat the same gestures
- Move around too quickly
- Forget to look at the audience
Learn to control panic
The most common problem that people face when having to speak publicly is the fear of getting booed or not getting their attention. Nevertheless, the fear of public speaking should not stop you from seizing the opportunity of interacting with the public. In order to get away with the fear of pulic speaking, you may need to look up for the institute that can provide the best public speaking course around your location. Basically, there are two ideas you should focus on in order to come out as a confident public speaker.
Expand your comfort zone
Till H. Gross on his TEDxTalk about “how to become more confident” recognizes the value of challenging oneself to push the boundaries of the comfort zone. Challenge yourself to grow. Everyone has different limitations, and they all need to implement different techniques to push their boundaries. If you feel anxious, talking to a group of people, start by striking a conversation with random strangers everyday.
Confront your brand of anxiety
It does not necessarily matter what kind of a group of people you are addressing or how much planning you have done; panic can ensue at any time to anyone.
It’s important to:
- Figure out where your anxiety is stemming from and research ways to address them.
- Understand that you are supposed to manage your fear and not eradicate it.
Learn to anticipate and manage your audience
In order to improve your public speaking skills, you need to be focusing on the audience instead of yourself.
- Use proper language, examples, and stories for the audience. You should tailor your examples and stories according to the cognizance of your audience in order to stay relevant.
- Make up a list of things that could go wrong and practice them. Figure out a few go-to phrases to handle cell-phone ringing, people talking, or technology failing, so it does not bring your morale down.
- Make a list of questions that could be potentially asked by the audience. In case your audience asks you questions, you can answer them calmly.
- Don’t be a distraction. Don’t do anything that might distract your audience from what you are trying to convey to them.
Use video and audio to make conscious changes and monitor progress
Most artists use videos to identify bad habits and mistakes in their performance. They tend to monitor their performance to make sure they are improving.
When practicing your speech, record yourself, and look for ways to improve your approach by eliminating the things that you think are not valuable. Moreover, you can also watch videos of expert public speakers and figure out the things that they do and don’t. This will surely gonna help to get away with the fear of public speaking. Also Try listening to:
- Talk show hosts for the way they conduct interviews
- Comedians for their delivery and timing
- TED speakers for their intros and content
- YouTubers for their casual approach and gestures