How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
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Published by TOP4 Team
Public speaking is said to be one of the toughest feats to do, even by fearless performers. The size of the audience doesn’t matter – whether you’re speaking on stage in front of hundreds of people or delivering a presentation for a client, it’s always daunting to stand in front of people and be at your most vulnerable.
The good news is that public speaking is just like any other learnable skill. The more you practice, the more you become more comfortable with doing it. With serious discipline and commitment, you can learn how to relay your message in a way that captivates your audience and delivers true value for their time.
The following are some of the best tips from seasoned public speakers:
Take time to craft your story. One of the most common mistakes of newbie public speakers is in their effort to deliver and impress the audience with their intelligence and/or /wit, they cram all the information they have into the limited time they are provided. The best public speakers know how to shape their story so that they highlight only one big message in a way that’s easily absorbed by their listeners.
Focus on the audience. You know why most speakers-to-be get super nervous? They tend to focus so much on themselves – the clothes they are wearing, their hair, their shoes, their voice, their jokes, etc. When you’re zooming in to yourself and your real and perceived imperfections, you’ll often come across as insecure and a nervous wreck. What you should do is to put the turn your full attention to thinking about your audience instead. Who are they? Why did they take the time to watch your presentation? What are they looking for? How can you help them? This line of thinking will allow you to highlight the message, not yourself.
Preparation is key. Even the most spontaneous-looking speakers, if they’re effective, spend so many hours practicing and rehearsing for their speech to look that way. In fact, many experts believe that the more you practice, the more you will look natural on stage. That’s because you have become comfortable with the delivery and you have gotten to know your material better. Practice in front of the mirror. Record a video of yourself. Ask a friend to watch you rehearse. Have a run-through of your speech while playing your slide deck.
Deliver. When you go up the stage, don’t rush into the speech all at once. Breathe, and allow a few seconds of silence before you begin. This will allow your audience and you prepare psychologically for the message you are about to deliver. And that’s the thing – think of yourself as a giver when you’re presenting. You’re there to give – information, insight, inspiration, whatever your story may be. You are speaking to offer your audience something of value, so take the opportunity to provide the best gift you can give them once the spotlight turns on you.