Become a Master of Public Speaking
Public speaking becomes part of daily life when you run a successful business. Whether you are addressing employees, pitching a new product, being paid to speak at an event, or even recording a video of yourself; speaking to a crowd can be daunting, no matter how much experience you have. There are ways to improve your public speaking skills, and practice is important, but there’s more to public speaking than just rehearsing and memorizing. Want to get better at public speaking? Use these tips and see how your speeches improve.
Movement and Posture
Body language often says more than speech can. Used correctly, body language can punctuate your speech and portray expertise. If you are speaking at a podium, some of the rules will be different than they would be for a speaker without, but the most important guidelines are the same.
- Stand up straight (this will not only how improve you look, but how you speak as well).
- Avoid making any wild gestures; but don’t be afraid to use your hands to emphasize where it feels natural.
- If you are using a podium don’t lean on it, and if you aren’t, don’t just stand still. Shift your weight, walk around (sparingly), and use the space you have. Be mindful and keep your movements natural and deliberate.
Avoid Technical Jargon (Keep It Simple)
You are the expert on your topic, and though your audience may be familiar, they are here to listen to you and glean your knowledge. Avoid terms that are too technical, but don’t speak down to your audience. The key to a successful speech is taking information that is high level, and sharing it in a way that can reach the general public’s understanding.
It’s perfectly fine to be nervous. Public speaking isn’t something that comes naturally to many. In fact, it’s cited as one of the top fears for Americans. Stress and anxiety can be difficult to overcome, but the extra energy you have coming from a place of panic can easily be used to get excited and bring energy to your presentation. You have the power to reinterpret the signs of nervousness and change them into excitement.
Be Thoughtful With Facts
Even if you are an expert on what you will be speaking about, when planning to do an extended presentation you will have done some research into your topic. Make sure the facts you are saying are truthful, stated in a way that is clear and easy to understand, and remember to cite your sources. Giving credit where credit is due will not only keep you from plagiarism, but expand your personal credibility as well.
Generally a trend associated with female speakers, all speakers should try to avoid upspeak, or the tendency of vocally ending a sentence or word on a higher pitch than the rest of the sentence. This can make your statements come across as questions, which can break down your credibility. This video shows an example of upspeak (in this example it is called uptalk), versus speaking without it.
Reiterate Your Main Point
Your speech is about a certain topic, so the obvious first step is to state your main point. What may not be so obvious is the idea of revisiting that main point and restating it at the end of your speech. And if there are questions afterwards, come back to that main point again before completely wrapping up. This leaves your audience with a clear understanding of what you are trying to say to them, and allows them to recall each point you brought up within the right context.
Don’t rush. Speak at an easy conversational level that gets your information across without speeding through and confusing your audience. It is easy to get wrapped up in excitement, but take a deep breath and make sure your words are clear, deliberate, and spoken at a level (of both speed and volume) that isn’t overwhelming for your listeners.
Pauses build anticipation and tension. Building drama and suspense keeps your listeners engaged in what you are saying. Pausing where it feels natural also allows you to catch your breath, figure out what to say next and get organized. It‘s unnatural to talk without any breaks, so to calm yourself down and also to make your speech seem effortless; as well as interesting and well thought out; a correctly timed pause is an excellent tool.
The best way to learn is to do, so go out and speak. Try out these tips and see how your audience responds to what you are saying. Who knows? You may even start to enjoy your presentations now!