Becoming a better public speaker puts you at the forefront of professional events, and being able to communicate effectively with an audience fills you with confidence. Yet, as anyone who has ever watched a bad speech can attest, public speaking requires a specific skill set that must be honed with practice. As you prep for your next speech giving opportunity, use these tips to demonstrate poise and professionalism as you speak before a crowd.
Observe Professional Speakers
Watching known orators give a speech is a great way to pick up body language and voice control skills that demonstrate confidence. Gather a few videos of past presidential speeches or attend a conference and take notes as you observe the speaker. Since many of the best public speaking skills are subtle, you will need to pay careful attention to how they walk, stand and speak to find out what keeps the audience interested.
Join a Public Speaking Group
Nervousness about speaking in public eases up with practice. For this reason, it is important to find opportunities to practice your skills in a supportive environment. Community groups such as Toastmasters are filled with people who will give constructive feedback in exchange for an audience. Colleges and professional training schools also offer classes in public speaking that are often designed with a slat for those who are interested in using them to boost their career.
Review Your Notes Before Speaking
In high school, you may have memorized your entire speech before presenting to the class. However, focusing instead on remembering your main points will make your speech more natural than rote memorization. Use your STARTplanner to store a list of the main concepts that you want to cover. Then, spend a few minutes going over it before you start your speech. If your speaking platform has a podium, you can even bring it along since a professional cover will just make you look more prepared. Just remember to only glance down quickly so that you never appear as though you are reading from a script.
Mingle With the Audience
A well-executed speech should resonate with the audience. If possible, spend some time before your speech mingling with the people who will be listening. This allows you to develop a warm rapport that eases your nervousness while helping to build a connection with those who are in the audience. You may even discover a need to adjust the tone of your speech or add in a small segment that addresses common questions.
Jot Down Glows and Grows After Each Speech
Every speech you give is an opportunity to stretch your oratory wings. Revisit the notes that you wrote down in your STARTplanner. Then, add in what you felt went well with your speech along with any areas in which you need to improve. Before you give your next speech, look over your glows and grows to remind yourself of simple strategies to improve your speech such as making more eye contact or moving on when the audience looks bored.
Mastering public speaking gives you confidence in any situation. Whether you are making a toast at your best friend’s wedding or prepping for a corporate event, a little effort makes a big difference in your overall impression. By arriving for your speech on time and prepared with what you want to say, you can step before the crowd with full confidence that they will be hanging on your ever word.