How good are you at public speaking? If you’re not confident talking to groups or delivering presentations, then you should take a look at these ways to improve your public speaking skills.
Have A Clear Audience Objective
The first thing that you need to do is decide exactly what it is that you want the audience to achieve from the presentation. Do they just need motivation and direction? Or will you be providing them with new information or teaching them something? Once you know exactly what your audience needs, make sure you provide solutions to their problems. This means researching your topic thoroughly and thinking about how certain issues may affect people in different ways. Then use this knowledge when presenting, making sure to tailor your speech accordingly. Finally, ask yourself whether all of the material you have prepared for the presentation is relevant to the objective you’ve set out. If not, think again! Always keep your audience’s objectives firmly in mind and make sure that your presentation is tailored specifically to them.
Get Ready In Advance
Most speakers underestimate the amount of time that’s needed to prepare for a talk. But the truth is that there’s no point in preparing if it isn’t going to help you deliver a great presentation. Therefore, spending several hours doing research ahead of time can pay off later on. Think carefully about who will be attending your presentation before writing up anything. Will they be colleagues, friends, or family members? Make sure that you address any concerns or worries that they may have beforehand. Doing so will mean that you’ll sound more natural during the actual delivery and avoid any awkward silences.
Find an Effective Presentation Structure
It’s important to remember that as a speaker you don’t have much control over an audience. What your listeners see and hear depends entirely on them. Therefore, a common mistake that many people make is assuming that they need to give a detailed overview of everything they’re going to say. While this approach does work in some circumstances, it rarely produces the best results. Instead, try using the following structure:
- Start by explaining why you chose to speak on the subject in front of you.
- Give a brief introduction to the topic, followed by a summary of the main points.
- Use bullet points to highlight key ideas that you want to get across.
Prepare Your Content
Once you’ve decided on a clear objective and a suitable structure, the next step is to start developing your content. It might seem obvious, but the most effective way of delivering information is to practice what you’re going to say ahead of time. So rather than simply reading through your speech word-for-word, rehearse it instead. By repeating phrases aloud, you’ll find that you naturally become more comfortable with your speech and can add extra emphasis where necessary. When rehearsing, focus on the message that you want to communicate and practice saying it clearly, slowly, and distinctly. Try asking someone else to record you after you finish each rehearsal session and listen back to your recording to see where things went wrong.
Speak From the Heart
The last bit of advice relates to your appearance while giving your presentation. Don’t worry about being too formal or dressed smartly; instead, stick to simple clothes and take care of your hygiene. Remember also that if you feel self-conscious then the odds are that your audience will feel equally uneasy. Even though they may not share your sense of discomfort, this shouldn’t stop you from standing tall and projecting confidence. One final tip worth mentioning here is that it’s vital to ensure that you look comfortable during the entire presentation. After all, you won’t be able to relax until you know that you’ve got the audience under control.
The Bottom Line.
As already mentioned, there’s no single magic formula for making public presentations successful. However, by combining these five strategies you should be able to improve your public speaking skills significantly. Of course, you’ll still encounter plenty of obstacles along the way, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome them. If you follow all the above tips, you could end up sounding professional and polished without having to spend hours working on your presentation. Therefore, as long as you do your preparation properly, taking the time to develop your speaking style can make all the difference and help you improve your public speaking skills.
You might also be interested in:
- Top Elements of Good Public Speaking.
- How to be a good public speaker
- How to Become a Motivational Speaker
- Finding Your Voice as a Motivational Speaker