Communication is an essential part of human life. It is the critical element needed for social interaction.
Public speaking makes up a significant part of communication. It is often dreadful to face the public to deliver a speech.
Public speaking, also known as oratory or oration, is speaking face to face to a live audience.
The objective of public speech delivery is the dissemination of information for enlightenment, entertainment and education.
This skill is essential as it helps individuals form connections, influence decisions and motivate change.
Many people are afraid to share their views with a live audience. They had instead done that from behind the comfort of their phones.
Society does not recognize these flaws and instead has tagged this set of people as “introverts” who are just being themselves.
With the advent of mobile devices and social media, one may wonder why developing your public speaking skills is necessary.
Was social media not invented so one can comfortably sit at home and type away their views without worrying about standing on a podium and having an audience looking up to you and waiting to hear what you have to say?
Well, if you think about it, airing your views on social media and to a live audience are as alike as they are different.
Whichever way you see it, you have the audience on both sides wanting to hear your views.
Individuals need to aspire to learn the art of public speaking for a bunch of reasons which include;
Table of contents
How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
The following are tips for improving your public speaking skills;
- Boost your Confidence
- Win the Attention of Your Audience
- Know Your Topic
- Listen to and Study Other Great Public Speakers
- Practice in Front of the Mirror or With Close Friends
- Work on Your Body Language
- Know Your Audience
Boost your Confidence
The more you speak, the more confident you become. You can’t live your entire life surrounded by the safety net your phones or laptops provide.
Interact with many individuals from in your place of work, school or neighbourhood.
Being a good orator builds confidence. Knowing how to use your words well will help you speak and interact with people, making you less likely to fumble. It also makes you likeable among your peers.
Win the Attention of Your Audience
When addressing any audience with an idea or an argument for or against something, public speaking helps you make your case compellingly and convincingly.
Effective public speaking can help with career advancement, as they indicate creativity, critical thinking, leadership abilities, poise and professionalism, which are all very valuable in the job market.
Now that you have known why it is essential to work on your public speaking let’s delve into some tips you can use to improve your general speaking skills.
Know Your Topic
Your audience needs to recognize you as a credible speaker, and being knowledgeable about your topic is an easy way to do this.
The way to speak to your audience with understanding and facts to have sufficient knowledge of the topic you want to deliver as a public speech.
A good understanding of your topic will help you explain complex parts of the topic and give you more confidence during your speech.
Having a profound understanding will also make your speech feel authentic to your audience.
The more you know about your topic and the more personal experience you have had, the greater your authority to speak and captivate your audience.
Listen to and Study Other Great Public Speakers
Listening is a skill and is also an essential part of public speaking. Listening involves hearing, understanding and judging.
A wise man once said, “I never met a man who learned anything from talking”.
A public speaker needs to be willing to listen to other public speakers.
You can learn a great deal when you stop talking and start listening.
Listening to other public speakers will improve your craft.
One needs to sit down, watch videos or listen to tapes of other public speakers you admire, and closely examine their body language and their performance delivery.
It would help if you also tried to listen and understand the contents of their speech.
Attending conferences as a speaker means you will also listen to other speakers.
As you listen to different speakers, you will have a greater appreciation and understanding of their material and craft as a speaker yourself.
Practice in Front of the Mirror or With Close Friends
It is a piece of formal advice from many speakers – practice in front of a mirror.
The logic behind this advice is that rehearsing with a mirror allows you to view yourself in real-time and gauge your movements and gestures.
You will also be able to see even the slightest facial expression and gestures and make instant adjustments.
A lot of public speakers also find eye-to-eye contact very intimidating.
The presence of the mirror gives the illusion of an audience. You will get used to being watched, even by your own eyes.
Practising in front of the mirror helps you to connect with that person looking back at you. You get a feeling of what your audience experience.
One can also try to practice in front of their close friends and family.
It will be easy enough because you will be in front of people you know and grew up with. It will also help your comfort level with making eye contact with other people.
Work on Your Body Language
Your body language is a vital part of your public speaking. People in your audience are not just listening to you talk. They are also watching you.
If you are easily intimidated by eye contact, you don’t necessarily need to look your audience members directly in their eyes. You can look over their heads.
One should work on their movements too.
Try to move from side to side, back to front. It would help if you mixed it up, so you don’t end up acting like a robot.
Once in a while, during your speech, you can try to catch someone’s eye and offer them a smile; this will make them feel engrossed in your presentation.
You can also move your gaze around the audience and make fast connections with the people in your audience.
It will make public speaking easier because it will give you something else to do besides just speaking. It will also help with nerves.
You can gauge the overall audience reaction and engagement, which will, in turn, make you want to speak better. It will also make for an enjoyable experience.
Know Your Audience
Every audience member will come to your speech with a purpose in mind. They will either leave with that purpose fulfilled, or they leave disappointed.
The reason why you are invited to speak, in the first place, will give you an idea about what your audience might be expecting.
Your audience will also need to feel your passion for the topic at hand so they can relate to you better. Remember, you are feeding the audience from your brain through your words.
If you’re speaking in front of an audience who are strangers, you will need to anticipate the needs and expectations of your audience to meet up with them.
It is relatively more straightforward if you’re speaking in front of a familiar audience, as you already know what the audience will expect from you.
One should also know the demographics of their audience, especially the age group.
It will be essential to consider the kind of language to use, the jokes to tell and the references to make.
Like you can’t refer to a SpongeBob cartoon when speaking at a board meeting, but it will be received well when spoken during a child’s birthday party.
You need to be dressed in comfortable and friendly clothes during your presentation.
It will help inspire the confidence you need to deliver your speech flawlessly.
A saying goes, “Dress the way you want to be addressed”.
Dressing well on its own is only a tiny part of it.
Often, the perception and acceptance you get from people when you dress well help to inspire confidence.
Confidence is the number one key needed to hone your public speaking skills.
It will help if you build confidence in yourself. Once you do that, you can quickly speak very well in front of an audience.
Knowing to go with confidence is also paramount as you will only make a fool of yourself if you say rubbish with lots of enthusiasm.
The need for having excellent public skills can’t be overemphasized, as we will all need to give a speech in front of an audience at one point in our life.
It could be a project presentation in school, graduation speeches, birthday wishes or even tributes at funerals.
Whatever it is, you wouldn’t want to end up fumbling.
Let me know in the comment if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you.