6 Tricks to Become Better at Public Speaking

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Photo by Atikh Bana, unsplash.com

An interesting fact from research and studies conducted shows that only about 25 percent of us find it easy to mount a stage and address a lot of people. The remaining 75 percent of us find it impossible or rather a Herculean task to speak publicly. Are you among this 75 percent and you desperately need to overcome this so you can be a more confident public speaker? Every public speaker has felt this way at some point; so, if you are looking for pointers on how to turn this around for yourself, continue reading this article.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Be yourself.

There is no specific way to be a great public speaker. If you are a funny person, show the world that side of you. If you are informal, be just that. And if you are a formal person who can drive home their point with powerful words, do just that. Instead of putting on a rehearsed performance, you should focus on sharing your experiences and ideas with other people. You do not have to put on a “speaker disguise” when speaking publicly. Be the person you are, and the audience will connect with you, your awesomeness and flaws.

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”
-Winston Churchill

Don’t seek approval. Focus on passing information.

Instead of being bothered about whether the audience liked you or your appearance or how you talked to them, focus on helping your audience learn something new or encourage them to take productive steps. So, for every public speaking event you have, the question you should be able to ask after your speech is “Did I have an impact on them?” instead of “Did they like me?” The former makes it about your audience while the latter makes it about you.

“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”
-Gerald R. Ford

Do a lot of practice.

There is something called experience and experience they say, is the best teacher. In the same vein, practice, they say, makes perfect. Thus, the only way to be a great public speaker is if you get to speak in public more. Look for opportunities to speak publicly by joining groups, volunteer to be a team leader and find a way to address people. It does not matter if it is a small venue; the most important thing is to address a group of people and get better at it over time. With regular practice, you will become a better speaker.

Watch a lot of public speaking videos.

There are a lot of videos on the internet that you can watch and learn from. Most of the public speakers in these videos have spent enough time preparing and rehearsing for their speeches so they can have the best presentation. Watch how they connect with the audience; how they share their thoughts? What worked for them that you think might work for you and observe how they captured the attention of their audience.

If you watch a set of public speakers all speaking at a single event, you will realize that there is no clue to giving a great speech. You will see different personalities and styles of speaking. Therefore, both the entertaining extrovert and the nerdy introvert can keep you entertained and asking for more.

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy.”
-Jerry Seinfeld

Record a video of yourself speaking.

In the processing of practicing and doing some minor public speaking, you should endeavor to record yourself speaking when speaking to a group of people. It does not have to be elaborate; you could ask a colleague to record you with a mobile device. Most times you may think you have the right poise and carriage, but your audience does not see you that way.

Take, for instance, a public speaker who is conversational and moves around a lot while talking. If that speaker watches their video, they will notice if they walked around a bit too much and adjust accordingly at the next event. For some people, they do not look at the audience enough while some talk too fast. Sometimes, slowing down and pausing for effect are vital parts of a great speech and if you watch yourself in action, you will be able to make the necessary changes.

“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.”
-John Ford

Know your content by heart.

You do not have to memorize or know the entire content word-for-word but try to go over your major points multiple times so you can get familiar with them. Prepare well and rehearse. These will help you deal with nervousness, boost your confidence and help you own the stage. How you handle yourself in front of your audience is important, and you can make this better by being familiar with your content. Knowing what to say at every point in time goes a long way in keeping your focused and driving home your point.

These tips can help you be a better public speaker. All that is required of you is adequate practice, focus and the determination to be an exceptional speaker.

“A wise man speaks because he has something to say, a fool speaks because he has to say something.”

Last but not least remember. It's okay to fail, so no matter if you succeed with your speech or not, the most important thing is that you've tried and that you will try again.

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