7 Tips for improving your Public Speaking skills
Public speaking for the first time, second, third or one hundredth time in front of an audience can still make you feel nervous. For some people no matter how many times they do it, they still get those pre presenting nerves. Even the most experienced or professional public speakers can still get the flutters.
Public speaking has changed a little over the last year, we have gone from presenting to a live physical audience to a live online audience. I’m not sure which is the most daunting or difficult to be honest. We have all been dealing with the new obstacles in business and in life differently over the last year. No way is the right or wrong way and business leaders have been communicating with their audiences and clients in a completely new and different way than ever before. Follow our public speaking tips and see if they help.
So which do you prefer? Speaking to a live physical audience? A live online audience? Or would you prefer to not do it at all?
Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and go for it, the first time is the worst but if you are clear on what you are talking about, you have a passion for your subject matter and are confident about your content, then the words will just flow. Every time it will get a bit easier and you will improve things.
Public speaking can sometimes affect how successful you are at what you do, if you cant get your message across then who will know how good you are? and that you actually know what you are talking about? Take a look at the public speaking tips for a little bit of help.
top tips for public speaking
Public Speaking Tips #1
Plan Plan Plan! The most successful part of a presentation happens in the planning. Once you start your presentation you will be thankful that you prepared for it. Don’t lastminute wing it!
Create your plan well in advance of your presentation, make notes on all of the points you want to get across to your audience. If you need to refer to slides or handouts when speaking, ensure you have them ready or if online links available to post so that your audience has them readily available to them when needed.
Practice speaking in a mirror, using your camera, to a family member or friend. Ensure you make eye contact! Watch the recording back, yes I get that this can be awful to watch but you can then identify any weaknesses in your presentation and fix them.
If there are any difficult to pronounce words in your presentation then practice speaking them, practice the sentence and practice the pronunciation.
Public Speaking Tips #2
Be fully aware of the body language you are using. Whether you are in a room full of people or broadcasting online people can see you, you have their full attention. The right body language can have a huge effect on how your message is received by your audience.
Ensure you are facing your audience or looking into the camera, if stood have your feet hip distance apart. Make eye contact with audience members or the camera, but not for too long (you don’t want to appear creepy).
Move about. If you are in a room speaking make use of the space, don’t pace about as you will look like you are nervous, but move around freely. Avoid crossing your arms, putting your hands in your pockets or clasping your hands, and don’t fiddle with anything such as a pen. Keep your hands free for expression.
Public Speaking Tips #3
Speaking clearly and confidently. Ensure you project your voice if in a room with audience members, and ask your audience online if they can hear you speak clearly at the beginning if online live.
Ensure you are speaking at a steady pace. Sometimes nerves get the better of you and can make you speak faster then what is a natural pace. This will make it difficult for your listeners to take in your information you are trying to communicate. If you want to make sure it is right you can always ask them.
Vary your pitch when you talk. There is nothing more boring than listening to someone who has a very monotone voice. Think back to when you were at school and the teachers you had, who were the most interesting teachers you had? The boring monotone ones with no enthusiasm or tone in their faces or voice? Or the excitable expressive ones who were passionate about what they were teaching you? Everyone has experienced this at some point in their lives and you know the people that grab your attention, you just need to do the same in your presentations! You can practice this beforehand to ensure you’ve got it right.
Don’t mumble! Please make sure you are speaking clearly and at a level that people can hear what you are saying. It shows confidence.
Pause. Many people make this mistake when they talk. Do not go from sentence to sentence delivering so much information at once that your audience don’t have time to absorb or process what you are saying. You don’t need to say anything at all, just pause and give yourself time to think about your next sentence and also your listeners to take in what you have just said, they need time to process it and apply it.
Public Speaking Tips #4
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
You need to make sure you know who you are talking to. Delivering to children, teens, or people from different levels of authority should have an impact on the content, language, tone and body language you use. Get it wrong and you will lose their attention.
Think about if you were in the audience what would you like to hear, how would you need to be presented to? What could capture your attention? Talk their language.
Public Speaking Tips #5
OVERCOME YOUR FEARS
This is easier said than done. You need to understand what makes you nervous in the first place. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be.
Don’t drink caffeine before your presentation as it increases anxiety levels. But do have water to hand for a dry mouth.
Eat something before, don’t go into a presentation with low sugar levels, it will effect your level of concentration and cloud your head.
Always remember, the audience are not there to see you, they are there to listen to what you have to say and hear you talk. They have invested their time to see you and listen. You are delivering a service that they want or need, that’s why they are there, they are there to listen to the content of what you have to say.
Don’t tell your audience you are nervous, quite often we think they can tell, but they really cant.
Public Speaking Tips #6
TEST YOUR EQUIPMENT
If you are using a laptop, projector or any form of technology to deliver your speech always remember to test it well in advance of the event. There is nothing worse than awkward technology failure on the day.
Public Speaking Tips #7
Your audience love stories and real life experiences. Talk to them. If you can tell a personal or relatable story to back up your subject then do it! It not only shows you have already experienced the scenario but shows you understand what you are talking about as it has already happened to you.
So hopefully now you feel a bit better about public speaking, your fears are eased and you are now well prepared and ready for your next public live stream or presentation.
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