11 Ways to Improve Your Public Speaking

So what’s the deal with public speaking? What is it about being in front of a group of people that just makes people freeze? I think the problem is that most people think of public speaking as just that, speaking in front of a large group of people. That’s obviously a form of public speaking, but it’s really so much more than that. A job interview, an audition, asking your girlfriend’s father for permission to marry her; it’s all public speaking.

If we can get over our fear of the words “public speaking” and realize that we speak publicly every day, we can make great improvements in those situations where we do speak in front of a large group. Listed in the presentation above – and below in more detail – are 11 ways everyone can improve their public speaking.

1. Let go of Your Fear

You’ve got to let go of your fear. Understand that most people in the audience are afraid to get up in front of people as well. They’re rooting for you to do well. So relax and make it a group effort.

2. Dress for the Occasion

Like it says in the presentation, you are your most important visual aid. Make sure you dress appropriately. A good rule to follow is always dress one level above your audience. If they’re in jeans and a t-shirt, wear slacks and a polo. If they’re in business casual attire, wear a suit. This way you’ll relate to them, but still command authority.

3. Engage your Audience

You have 30 seconds to grab your audience’s attention. If you miss your chance, it will be very hard to get them back. You’ve got to share something that will really grab them: an interesting fact, a funny story, a cliffhanger, anything. Just get their attention! If you can engage them and make your presentation more of a conversation things will go much better.

4. Be Confident

Use the “act as if” principle. If you don’t feel confident, act like you are. Do this enough and soon you’ll realize you’re not just acting confident, you are confident.

5. Think Fast

Sometimes your equipment will fail and you’ll have to improve; you’ve got to be ready for this. Your ability to think fast and remain calm in that situation will determine how well your presentation goes. Sometimes someone will try to heckle you, if you’ve got a quick mind you can put them in their place politely and get the audience on your side.

6. Entertain your Audience

Everyone’s been to a presentation where they just count down the time until they can leave. Don’t put your audience through that. Do something crazy or fun that will have them entertained. Tell a funny joke, do anything, just don’t lose your audience! You might as well sit down and stop talking if that happens.

7. Have a Sense of Humor

Kind of the same thing, please be a human being and not some kind of robot giving a speech. Inject some humor into the situation and liven it up a little!

8. Mean What You Say

Don’t be a hypocrite! You can’t sell your audience on something if you yourself don’t do it. They will see that and you will lose them. Don’t let that happen! Be honest with yourself, and be honest with your audience.

9. Dedication

Public speaking is a craft that needs to be developed over time just like any other craft. Put some time into it, practice, and you’ll be able to see the improvements you make.

10. Take the Road Less Traveled

Be different than any other speaker. Do something you’ve never seen before, that your audience has never seen before. Be original.

11. Just Do It

The only way to really improve at something is to do it over and over again. Jump at every opportunity you get to speak publicly and your skills will skyrocket.

As you spend time working on your overall communication skills you will see that your public speaking skills improve drastically. Be yourself. Engage and entertain your audience. Practice until you get better. You will improve at speaking publicly and you won’t be afraid of it.

 

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