21 Ways to Improve Your Public Speaking
You always thought that it is not important to walk up to a stage and address an audience, didn't you? Well, you were wrong. Public speaking is all about conveying your message and building up your career in front of a crowd, even if you don't want to because you think they are laughing at you. Well, here is news. They are laughing at you. How then can you make them like your speech?
Imagine the audience is not snickering at what you are saying or want to say. Tell yourself that every person in the audience is listening earnestly to you, jotting down notes and going along with your lecture. That is the first step - in the space of your mind.
2. Wish to speak well
You need to have a strong desire to become a public speaker. Otherwise, it wouldn't help you to come out of your shell. How can you speak loud and clear unless you want to?
3. Read all about it
There are a number of books that tell you what you need to do to make the great impact on the floor. Try them out one by one, and you are on your way to becoming one of the best speakers.
4. Try publicly available material
Reading open blogs, forums and websites would help you to understand the common problems shared by public speakers. Understanding how they go through their issues and aiming to hit it big can help you to identify and fight against your own inner demons.
5. Listen to a lot on it
You can get so many CDs and audio tapes on public speaking. Listening to tapes helps you to understand the need for public speaking faster.
6. Learn from great leaders
You can understand about good speeches by watching movies like Julius Caesar or listening to the speeches by Mark Anthony or Abraham Lincoln. You can understand how and why they are able to capture the pulse of the public.
7. Check out the average speakers
You can also learn a lot from ordinary public figures. Attend as many meetings by speakers as you can, either in the nearest church, community hall or office place. The not-so-great speakers are also good teachers, because you understand and learn from their mistakes.
8. Attend a training course
Warren Buffet knows all about it, because he started being a great public speaker by attending a course by the famous personality that we've all heard about - Dale Carnegie. A course would give you lots of ideas and opportunities.
9. Learn with friends
You could team up with groups of friends who are on a similar search as you are. You can all get together and learn to speak together, giving each other automatic tips and tip-offs to improve and take things forward.
10. Argue with friends
At first, you have small groups of friends, and they are all eager to air their individual opinions. You can argue and debate endlessly with everyone in order to develop the confidence that can take you places.
11. Speak to small groups
Collect as many friends and classmates as you can to listen to your speeches. You could start with groups of three or four. Keep addressing slightly bigger groups of friends as you go along.
12. Search for a mentor
It would help if you are linking up with a famous celebrity or personality, and working seriously on common goals with him. If you coax him to give you brief one or two minutes of public space, addressing a huge crowd for small, introductory issues, you have paved the way towards a more articulate future.
13. Join organisations
Become part of public speaking organisations and business bodies that aim to train you to become a great orator or speaker. Toastmaster is a good example of an organisation that tries to build up good speakers. Membership of such a body guarantees that you get great exposure to good public speaking.
14. Network with business organisations
You can learn a lot just by joining other business organisations and networking with like-minded entrepreneurs and professionals. Understanding their approaches and techniques can shore up your own skills. Young executives, CEOs and professionals can help to enhance your skills.
15. Analyse your audience
Understand what your listeners are waiting to listen to. Are they ready for your advanced speech on artificial intelligence, or are they a group of undergraduates who need to be told about the basics? Analyse your audience before you deliver your speech.
Start with a smile and keep smiling till the end. When you inject positive vibes into your speech you know that it's coming back to you. There is a lot of interaction between you and audiences, and you set the tone with your optimism and positivity. But if you're nervous and jittery, you are communicating your insecurity to the audience and won't get a welcome.
17. Be prepared for the worst
Before you move towards a public speaking forum, you need to gird up and be prepared to face the worst situations. As you visualise yourself speaking well, also think of how you could stand your ground if you are mocked or jeered at in public.
18. Practise and practise
Keep an outline of your speech in your hand, but don't just read from it. You could jot down a few points with the main key points, and then expand on the speech by practising in front of your mirror. While your speech needs content, it also needs to be delivered with good confidence, which you can do with great practice.
19. Reach out
The best way to win the crowds is to find something common with the listeners, build up your rapport with them and understand how to come to a common ground with everyone. Use personal anecdotes, recall your experiences and sprinkle your speeches with a lot of humor.
20. Speak with passion
What you say is as important as how you say it. While your speech needs to be organised well, with good substance, you also need to deliver it with style. Infuse some passion into your voice. Put some feeling into the speech and talk with emotion that will immediately connect with the audience.
21. Involve your audience
You could help to make your speech more personal and identifiable by throwing some questions at the audience. Begin your speech with a question, pepper it with various interactive sessions and end it with an open question-answer session. That could help to make your audience feel like owners of the presentation.