7 Important Tips To Help You With Public Speaking Skills
Most people are unable to speak to huge crowds; others are uncomfortable to even address small group meetings of less than 50 people. When offered opportunities to speak in public, such people opt to decline or when they are forced by circumstances to speak, they are unable to express themselves clearly. If you are one of these people, you need to work on your public speaking skills if you are to succeed in your career and life in general. Inability to persuade clients or potential investors, to explain yourself to your peers or group members, or to create professional networks and connections will limit your potential, one way or another. That being said, here are 7 tips that can help you with public speaking skills.
- Purpose to be brief and simple. The next time you are speaking in public, avoid heavy jargon, boneshakers, long sentences, and complex paragraphs. The key is to relay your ideas to your audience in small, digestible bits. If you use words they don’t understand, they will get bored and disinterested within the first 2 minutes of your address. If you choose to be sophisticated, your speech might come out as undefined and unnecessarily long. It is best that you deliver your speech in the minimal time possible- to go straight to the point.
- Purpose to give, not to take. The greatest mistake you can make when preparing your speech is to bank your delivery on a positive response from the audience. Always know that the burden of making the presentation lively and fruitful lies squarely on your shoulders. The audience is not obligated to buy your products or agree with your ideas. In fact, they don’t have to like you or follow you on social media. It is your job to engage the audience and make them see value in your presentation; to teach them something valuable. You need to inspire them into buying your subscription, product, or idea. Prepare to give, not to take.
- Work on your non-verbal speaking skills. People will notice even the slightest changes in your body language. In fact, studies show that for every 15-minute presentation, the audience spends 93% of the time focusing on your facial expressions, gestures, and body movement. What comes from your mouth contributes to only 7% of your speech’s failure or success.
Some of the important non-verbal speaking skills that you should cultivate include:
- Moving around the podium or whichever space you’ve been given. Don’t move too fast though.
- Making hand gestures that match well with the words coming out of your mouth. Be careful not to use the same gestures for different paragraphs or to overuse one gesture no matter how accurate it is.
- Matching your facial expressions with the mood in the room.
- Join a public speaking class. There are many public speaking courses that you can enroll for if you often get nervous at the thought of speaking in public. A good public speaking class will equip you with all the skills and strategies you need to beat the fear and nervousness that holds you back from speaking in front of people.
- Avoid the temptation of reading your speech. When you read your speech to an audience, everyone is left wondering why you didn’t just send them soft copies of the speech rather than waste their time. People can read speeches for themselves, after all. That is why instead of reading a pre-written speech, it is better to write down the most important notes, and then use them as a guide to where you need to go with the address. In fact, delivering valid points without constantly checking your notes will give your audience the impression that you are very knowledgeable in the subject matter.
- Try to maintain eye contact at all times. Choose a spot in the audience and look directly at the people within that spot for an entire sentence or thought. Don’t break eye contact until the idea gets home. Shift to another spot for the subsequent thought. Focusing on one person disconnects you from the thousands of people in the room and makes it appear like you are in face-to-face interaction with just one person.
- Monitor your performance after every session. After you are done delivering your speech, take the event’s recordings and scrutinize your performance. Identify the areas that you need to improve on, the habits you need to discard, and the techniques you should keep in your subsequent addresses. Try using a free Sendsteps online poll afterwards to monitor your performance!