The Improv Theater Stage of Life and Work in the Time of Covid - do we need work-life balance or blending?
Public speaking is an important skill to have even if you don’t make regular presentations in front of a group or a public charity event. Developing your speaking skills can increase your confidence and help you overcome any speech-related anxiety you may have.
Developing your speaking skills can increase your confidence and help you overcome any speech-related anxiety you may have.
Speaking to groups in both work and personal settings can help you perfect and improve your public speaking. Whether you need to give a presentation at work to your fellow colleagues, deliver a eulogy at a funeral, or one day want to perform a TED Talk, there are many situations where it helps to be a great public speaker.
While many folks fear public speaking, mastering it can help you transform your career and improve your future potential. Below are simple hacks that you can apply to improve your public speaking skills.
Spare some time putting your speech together to flow logically. For inspiration, try watching other great yet relatable speakers on video. You may even read the transcripts to see how they crafted their speeches and get some more insight. When you’re done, practice reciting your speech out loud until you can deliver it comfortably and fluently with ease.
First, figure out what your audience would like to hear. Ask yourself what problem your speech will solve? What expectations do they have? It’s advisable always to give your audience what they want and need.
Your listeners need to have a reason to listen.
In your opening remarks, try to relate to them and focus on relaying not only your message, but also the reasons why your audience needs and should want to know about what you have to say.
A story is always a great and deal-making way to get your speech going. Not only does it have the potential to peak initial interest, but it can also help set your audience in the right mood, place, and time. Emotions are always the touchstones to speech success, so tug on a string of feelings to get your audience invested early on.
Also, wrapping up your speech with an afterthought on your opening story is an excellent way to bring the experience full circle while providing a satisfying close for your audience.
Knowing how to improve your public speaking begins with learning how to relax. By some estimates, close to 60% of people suffer from speech anxiety. Gigi Rosenberg, a very famous public speaker, says, “Even most professional speakers get nervous before they deliver a big speech.”
Knowing how to improve your public speaking begins with learning how to relax.
Though there’s no medicine to cure stage fright, Rosenberg teaches on the simple things you can do to overcome your fear of public speaking. One of them is to focus on your breathing. “Taking a deep breath before you start can help you relax,” she says.
Moreover, replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations can boost your self-confidence, says Gary Genard, a public speaking coach and author of Fearless Speaking: Build Your Confidence. Change Your Life. Beat Your Anxiety.
Don’t use filler words such as “ah” or “um,” which might distract the audience from getting your message. Bringing an outline of general ideas in your speech can help you avoid stumbling on your words when you’re unsure what to say next. However, you should avoid memorizing a script, which can be harmful if you forget or skip a word or phrase.
Practice including occasional pauses to give the audience a moment to think and visualize what you’ve just said. A pause can be beneficial right after you’ve made a point, explained something, or asked a question. For example, you can pause for a moment after asking, “What type of person do you think you are?”
Recent research has shown that the act of smiling- even artificially- can make a person feel happier and at ease. So, always put a big smile on your face when you begin to give your speech, and you will see the audience will probably smile back at you, too. This will make you feel connected, confident, and relaxed.
If you follow the above tips and put them into practice, you’re going to improve and be one of the great public speakers. People will always want to hear speeches from you.
Tracie Johnson is a New Jersey native and an alum of Penn State University. She is passionate about writing, reading, and living a healthy lifestyle. She feels happiest when around a campfire surrounded by friends, family, and her Dachshund named Rufus.