Public speaking skills can help improve leadership skills and team management skills while building confidence and social connections. To become a better public speaker, you need to have excellent communication skills, an ability to keep an audience engaged, and lots of enthusiasm.
Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, however. For some, these are skills that must be learned over time.
If you want to learn how to become a better speaker and give a successful presentation, continue reading below.
In this guide, you’ll find several helpful public speaking tips.
1: Watch and Listen to Other Public Speakers
If given the opportunity to watch a public-speaking presentation in person, then take it. You can also watch and listen to public speakers online or search for various TED talks. When watching these public speakers, pay close attention to the small details and take notes.
How is the speaker’s delivery? How are you responding to their delivery? Jot down a few likes and dislikes about their presentation.
Here are a few details to take note of.
- emphasizing words
- hand motions
- vocal tones
- eye contact
Taking these notes helps you sharpen your way of thinking regarding how we communicate with one another. Use the information you gather to prepare your speech or presentation. For example, when you learn what to look for when criticizing other people’s public speaking skills, you can learn how to criticize your own.
2: Practice in Front of Friends and Family
The next thing you want to do is prepare your speech and ask friends and a family member or two to be your audience members. Although you can learn what to do and what not to do from watching others, it’s always ideal to have a few other listening ears to help perfect your public speaking skills. We could say or do something incorrectly but not notice it when we’re on the spot.
However, friends and family will notice as they watch you. So be open to their suggestions and feedback. Take notes on what they tell you, or ask them to take their notes while you’re speaking.
You might need to guide your friends in looking for the right things. For example, you can ask them to be on the lookout for the use of filler words or not making eye contact. Then, collect their notes when done and save them to review later.
3: Record and Watch Yourself Publicly Speaking
It’s not easy to watch and listen to a video of yourself speaking. So many people can’t stand the sound of their own voice on a recording. If you’re one of these people, you’re not alone, but you must let go of this.
It’s vital that you record yourself and review the recordings to pick up on your faults and scrutinize your performance. Rather than simply watching and listening to yourself, be sure to take notes on yourself. When taking notes on yourself, it’s important not to focus only on the negatives.
You may think you need to focus on the negatives to improve, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Identifying some of the good public speaking skills we have can help us gain confidence and improve those skills. An excellent exercise to try is turning off the sound on your video and just watching your body language.
Pay close attention to how you’re using your hands and facial expressions. Then, instead of focusing on multiple things you might have done wrong, focus on one thing. Watch only 5-10 minutes of the video and choose one thing to improve on.
Remember, you can’t improve everything at once. Perfecting your speaking takes time, so focus on one thing to correct and go from there.
4: Ask Yourself a Few Important Questions
Public speaking is more than delivering a speech to an audience. It’s about communicating and connecting with others. So take a few minutes to sit down and ask yourself some questions.
What are some important points to keep in mind? These questions can help you gain a better understanding of public speaking skills.
- When was there a time when you gave a public speaking speech and did well? Why did this specific speech go so well?
- When was there a time when you gave a public speaking speech, and it didn’t go so well? Why was this? How have you tried to improve since then?
- What’s one thing you want to change or improve about your public speaking?
- Who’s a person who you admire for their public speaking skills? Why? What can you learn from them?
Write down a few questions of your own to help you navigate through your public speaking growth.
5: Take on as Many Public-Speaking Roles as You Can
Everyone gets a little nervous before speaking publicly. It’s normal, and it’s okay to admit when you’re feeling a bit nervous. However, don’t let this stop you from taking on as many speaking opportunities as possible—so long as they make sense.
These opportunities will only help you improve your skills. You can find a variety of these opportunities everywhere you look. For example, your boss might need someone to run a company meeting or give a presentation.
Volunteer yourself to do so. There might also be volunteer groups in your area that need people to help with presentations or represent them. Take these opportunities and look at them as a chance to grow.
You can never have enough practice.
6: Remember to Take a Deep Breath and Breathe
Sometimes, it can be challenging to remember to breathe when you’re nervous. Why? Because your heart rate speeds up once you become nervous. When this happens, you can start feeling anxious and even sweat.
Your mind will then focus on your anxiety and sweating rather than delivering an exceptional speech. To help ease these things, remember to stop and take a deep breath before beginning your speech. Take a couple of deep breaths and calm yourself down before entering the stage.
If you need to stop and breathe while on stage, don’t hesitate to do this.
7: Get Comfortable With Pausing
Aside from stopping to take deep breaths, it’s also okay to stop and pause while speaking. Some people avoid pausing while public speaking to prevent any awkward silences. In place of the silence, they use a filler word.
Filler words can be some of the following:
It all depends on how a person uses these filler words, but you want to make your best effort to stay clear of them. So instead, take a couple of seconds of silence to think about what you want to say next. To become more comfortable with this pause, you can practice it when saying your speech aloud before the big day.
A pause can sometimes give an audience member the time to process what was said before and reflect on it.
8: Move Around When Speaking
You don’t want to stand firmly in one place while speaking. But, on the other hand, don’t jump all around the stage unless your performance truly calls for it. So instead, move around just enough while avoiding pacing.
You should feel free to walk away from the podium, though. Some public speakers tend to pace back and forth when nervous so do your best to catch this if this is something you do.
The same is true with your hand gestures. You want to move your hands around some, but try not to overdo it.
9: Control Your Voice and Body Language
Learning how to use your voice properly while public speaking is key. Controlling your body language is as well. One helpful tool to help you control your voice is diaphragmatic breathing. Doing this helps prevent shortness of breath, which may occur when suffering from anxiety.
It can also help your voice sound more powerful and clear. To try this out, start by relaxing your belly. Then, let it expand as you take your breaths.
Each breath should extend to four seconds. Start by practicing this without speaking and then transition into using it while speaking. This can also help calm your nerves.
10: Speak With a Business Coach
If you’re struggling to improve your public speaking skills or get started with public speaking, never hesitate to speak with a business coach. A great business coach can help you have an abundance mindset, reflect on the process, and gain insight into what needs work and what you’re doing well.
You can find a good business coach by conducting an internet search for business coaches near you and then letting them know you want to improve your public speaking skills.
Let's Summarize The First 10 Tips
11 More Public Speaking Tips From The Experts
Have you enjoyed what you’ve read so far? Want a few more public speaking tips from some very smart people? Here are a few public speaking quotes to wet your whistle further.
- “You are not being judged, the value of what you are bringing to the audience is being judged.” – Seth Godin
- “The first time you say something, it’s heard; the second time, it’s recognized; the third time, it’s learned.” – John Maxwell
- “The first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds have the most impact in a presentation.” – Patricia Fripp
- “My best advice is to not start in PowerPoint. Presentation tools force you to think through information linearly, and you really need to start by thinking of the whole instead of the individual lines.” – Nancy Duarte
- “Your ability to communicate with others will account for fully 85% of your success in your business and in your life.” – Brian Tracy
- “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” – Dale Carnegie
- “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain
- “Every single person needs to breathe in through their nose, fill up their tummy as if the air was going in there, and then only speak while their stomach is coming in.” – Roger Love
- “If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will.” – Harvey Diamond
- “Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.” – Michael H Mescon
- “Public Speaking is a skill that can be studied, polished, perfected. Not only can you get good at it, you can get damn good at it and it makes a heck of a difference.” – Tom Peters
Let's Discover How to Be a Better Public Speaker
Are you ready to discover all of your amazing public speaking skills and how to improve on your weakest ones? You can discover how to become a better speaker by talking with your business coach today.
Contact Dean Mercado to learn how to get started in a program that can help you excel!