Whether you have a big presentation coming soon, you’re preparing for a job interview or simply want to master the art of public speaking, I want to give you seven tips you should keep in mind to improve your public speaking skills.
To truly connect with an audience, first understand that people want to listen to someone who is relaxed and comfortable as well as interesting.
In the routine conversations we have every day, we have no problem being relaxed. Yet too often when we stand up to give a speech something changes. We focus on the public at the expense of the speaking.
To be an effective public speaker, you must do just the opposite. Focus on the speaking and let go of the public. If you can carry on a relaxed conversation with one or two people, you can give a great speech.
Whether your audience consists of two people or 2,000, and whether you’re talking about the latest medical breakthrough or what you did today at work, it’s never about turning into someone you’re not. It’s all about talking directly to people, being your authentic self and making a connection. That’s all.
When you make a mistake, no one cares but you. Even the most accomplished public speaker will make mistakes.
Just remember that the only person who really cares about any one mistake is the person doing the speaking. Whether you’re the president of the United States or a communication teacher like me, you will make mistakes. It’s part of being human, and our humanity is what makes us great speakers, because it’s what enables us to connect with our audience.
Audiences don’t want to hear perfection. They want to hear from someone who is real.
Great winners in all walks of life draw on the power of visualizing. Sales people envision themselves closing the deal, executives picture themselves developing new ventures, athletes close their eyes and imagine themselves making the basket or hitting the home run.
In public speaking, the best way to fight anxiety and become more comfortable is by practicing in the one place no one else can see you: your mind. If you visualize on a consistent basis, your mind will become used to the prospect of speaking in public, and pretty soon you’ll find that the idea no longer elicits those same feelings of anxiety and fear.
If you have a presentation to give, set aside 30 minutes a day to visualize yourself giving it.
If you do this every day, by the time the real presentation arrives your mind will be trained to accept the situation as familiar. You will feel much more relaxed and confident in front of the audience.
Practice makes good. Our goal is not to be a perfect public speaker, since there is no such thing, but to be an effective one. Like anything else in life, that takes practice.
It’s easy to take communication for granted, since we spend our lives speaking to people. But when our prosperity is directly linked to how good we are in front of a group, we need to give the task the same attention as any other serious job.
For most of us, however, the best way to practice is simply by giving a speech in the comfort of our home or office. The more you practice it, the more prepared you will be, and that leads to confidence.
If you have a speech to give in a week, rehearse it on a daily basis.
Along with visualization, this is the most effective way to overcome anxiety and build confidence ****about performing before an audience.
Regardless of the topic, audiences respond best when speakers personalize their communication. Take every opportunity to put faces on the facts of your presentation.
People like to hear about other people, about the triumphs, tragedies and everyday humorous incidents that make up their lives. Focus on this. Whenever possible, include yourself personally in your public speaking. Not only will it help your listeners warm to you, but it will also do wonders at putting you at ease.
After all, where is your expertise greater than on the subject of you?
Yes, talk about yourself, but make the main focus is not yourself but your audience. When you think about it, the proper purpose of a speech is not to benefit the speaker but to serve the audience, usually through:
So in all of your preparation and presentation, constantly think of how you can help your audience get what they want from you. When you do this, your role as a speaker becomes a role of meeting the needs of the audience.
Leave your audience wanting more. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my years in communications is that, when it comes to public speaking, less is usually more.
Did this article leave you wanting more? Then it’s time for you to start the Public Speaking Workshop and become an expert in public speaking!