6 Public Speaking Skills To Work On

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April 04, 2018

It's no secret that public speaking causes anxiety and nerves, even among some of the most experienced public speakers among us. However, for many people, knowing how to address a group of peers is a necessary part of a day's1 work. While everyone is taught to work on the basics like their body language, posture, eye contact, etc. there are many more advanced aspects to public speaking2 that can help even people with public speaking experience become better at what they already do quite frequently.

While public speaking is an art that is perfected with practice, the following are 6 great tips to keep in mind when speaking publicly, so that your audience can get much out of your presentation as possible:

  • Not All Presentations Require Visuals: While you may be accustomed to seeing each presentation you remember sitting through accompanied by a visual that is not always necessary. In certain circumstances, visuals can distract from the person who is speaking. It makes the audience focus on the visual, whether that's pictures or words and not the content of what the speaker is saying.
  • Use Personal Stories: When people share personal stories they make their entire situation more relatable and allow people to feel like they are connecting with them on a more personal level. Personal relations can help build audience trust and help people identify with and "buy into" the overall message being conveyed. People feel they can relate to people more if they honest, forthcoming, and open about the past and the things they have personally experienced and can relate to. It can help convey messages or points clearly.
  • Humor Can Help: In certain cases when discussing certain (not super sensitive) topics can help a little bit of "lightness" to the conversation. It can help engage the audience and keep people paying attention to what is being said longer. This is especially true for dry, boring types of topics. Making the often-dreaded procedure of listening to long speeches, talks, or conferences can be lightened by adding some humor to the situation and helps keep everyone from drowning you out and drifting off into a daydream before the most important information is even shared.
  • Use Inflection In Your Voice: Rather than droning on and on and on use some inflection in your voice Change the tone of it a bit and sound more lively. While you may not always be "into" what you are presenting or find it interesting, consider the audience that has to listen to the presentation. Making it a little more animated and lively can keep the audience engaged rather than possibly making them feel boring as the subject matter actually may be.
  • Share The Stage: Invite other people with some clout or power in the situation or topic will make the talk more interesting and provide more perspective on things that any one person alone could provide. Offering others opportunities to have input engages the audience and often provides information that otherwise would not be included in the presentation, making these speakers invaluable to your presentation and thus your presentation strategy.
  • Practice Your Lines: This may sound "beginner" and cliche, but practicing the speech a few times before getting onstage will give you the chance to know what you are going to say so you have an outline to follow. This will help you avoid stumbling or spending time getting notes and other preparation materials together. Doing that ahead of time saves you and the audience time, and keeps the flow of the entire presentation moving smoothly.

These are just 6 ideas of ways that people who already do speak publically on a regular basis can improve their public speaking. These ideas will help engage the audience and keep you sounding crisp, clean, and professional, no matter who you are giving the presentation to.

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1. https://www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/10-tips-improving-your-public-speaking-skills
2. https://ctl.yale.edu/teaching/ideas-teaching/public-speaking-teachers-i-lecturing-without-fear

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