“Speech is power; speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Public and speaking are two words that when put together are enough to make anyone’s stomach drop. The pressure of having a whole room focusing on just you can be intimidating, especially when you haven’t prepared well enough.
Here are a few ways to sharpen your public speaking skills:
Practice, Practice, Practice
Once you’ve perfected the words you want to say, start to practice reading them aloud. Doing this will help you to release any word fumbles you may have, hear your voice and how you sound while reading. The more you rehearse, the more confident you’ll become when speaking in public.
As motivational speaker Marie Forleo says, “more present moment engagement = less crappy thoughts.” When you’re preparing to give your speech, make sure you’re as organized as possible. Disorganization in the moment can throw your train of thought off, resulting in less attention you’re giving to your audience; which, according to Forleo, means more crappy thoughts.
Watch Your Body Language
Body language is crucial in relation to what you’re trying to tell your audience. If you’re nervous, lacking confidence, and overall don’t believe in what you’re saying, the audience will know. Stand up straight, look people in the eye, take deep breaths, and smile; don’t put a barrier between you and the audience. By walking around the stage you’re creating energy that will shine through during your speech.
Author Lilly Walters once said, “the success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” Whatever you do, whatever message you’re trying to send, do it in a conversational tone. Talking down to your audience is a quick way to lose their attention. By engaging your audience with questions or direct address, you’re keeping everyone involved in the message and this can also help reduce the feeling of isolation as the speaker.
What do you do to become a better public speaker?