Public speaking is frightening for most of us. We don’t always feel comfortable standing in front of a bunch of people and taking responsibility for all the attention we receive. However, public speaking skills are incredibly valuable.
Not only are you admired for sharing great information or for your storytelling ability, but it can also do amazing things for your career or business. When you can communicate effectively to a group, you grow your thought leadership and become an in demand speaker.
Use these tips and learn to speak effectively to a large group of people:
1. Be prepared. You’ll feel more confident and comfortable if you’re prepared. The best way to combat nervousness is to know your speech forwards and backwards.
- Give yourself enough time to prepare properly. Get organized and get started well before you have to speak.
2. Make the information more important than yourself. Understand that in most cases, people aren’t there to watch you. They are there for the information you’re providing. Focus on giving the best possible information. If you can do that, your worries about your speaking skills take a back seat.
3. Keep things simple. When you first learning to be a speakers, you try to cram too much information into too little time. There are charts, graphs, and other visual aids. Determine the most important facts you need to convey and focus on those.
- A well-prepared, simple speech that covers the critical information is better than a complicated speech with all the bells and whistles. A speech should be contained to the most relevant material.
4. Imagine you’re an audience member. Determine what your audience wants to get from your speech. Then ensure you deliver it. A speech at work regarding your department’s results isn’t the time for a jokes and humor. They’re also not interested in your storytelling skills. What they want are the relevant facts.
- Tailor your speech to your audience.
5. Record yourself. Set up a camera and record your performance. First, listen to it without watching yourself. How do you sound? Are there too many “umms” and awkward pauses? Take notes on how you can improve.
- Next, just watch yourself without the audio. How do you look? Do you have any awkward or annoying mannerisms? Do you shuffle your feet or sway back and forth? Again, take notes.
- Now, listen and watch simultaneously. What can you improve? Take notes.
- Finally, take your notes and make the necessary adjustments and record yourself again. Continue the process until you’ve mastered your speech.
6. Visualize giving your speech. During those times just before falling asleep and just before getting out of bed, it’s easy to use your imagination. Imagine yourself giving your speech confidently and skillfully. Imagine the audience responding positively. Give yourself a positive emotional experience.
- Do that each evening and morning from now until you deliver your speech. It helps.
7. Spend some time researching and practicing your skills. There’s enough information on public speaking to keep you busy for the rest of your life. My coach Rhonda Khan teaches you how to craft your speech as well and get you over the fear of public speaking. Learn more about her Catalyst Academy Training.
- Public speaking is a skill that can be developed rapidly if you put in the effort.
Public speaking might be scary, but it’s a highly valued skill. We admire confident, effective speakers, and good speaking skills are revered in the workplace. It can be well worth your time to hone your presentation skills.
Practice as much as you can and strive to constantly improve. Not many people make the effort to become better public speakers. A little work on your part can lift you above your peers.
Marsha Guerrier is a bestselling author, speaker, trainer, business analyst, business coach, and CEO of HerSuiteSpot®, a MWBE and SBE certified small business consulting and coaching agency that provides online and in-person support to early stage female founders looking to accelerate their business.