No doubt, public speaking is an art in itself. But what if it isn’t a talent you were born with? Is it actually possible to learn how to be a good speaker and win it every time you take the floor? In this guide, we will go through 10 useful tips that will help you gain more confidence, show off your expertise in the subject and engage your audience regardless of the occasion.
10 Easy Ways to Be a Good Speaker
Work on your presenter personality
For a good public speaker, the first impression can make it or break it. From the choice of your clothes and shoes to the pace and pitch of your voice, everything is going to be closely analyzed by your audience. This is perfectly normal, since it is you who are in the limelight, while they could judge you from the comfort of their seats in the back. Remember to make appropriate choice and don’t try to embarrass anyone unless it is intentional.
Learn from top public speakers
You can’t learn how to be a good speaker by reading motivational books only. Instead, turn to the masters of this art, someone who is or was famous for striking the perfect chemistry with the audience. One of the options is stand-up comedians and TED presenters – all of them know how to deliver on the subject while keeping the audience entertained. While it’s not easy at all, you could steal from them some useful techniques – your body language, pace of speech, use of pauses, and so on, which could help you become truly a rock star of public speaking.
Practice, practice, practice
There is never too much rehearsing, and practice does make perfect. Don’t be afraid of losing the interest in your subject before you actually present it – the more you repeat your speech, the more you grow into it, starting to feel all the weaknesses and strengths of it. Rehearsing in front of your friends or unknown people helps a lot, so don’t miss a chance to ask them to sit for you as you speak. Also, ask for honest feedback afterwards.
Think of the audience as your friends
It won’t help you to grasp how to be a good speaker if you keep thinking that you are going into a lion’s cage. Instead, quiet your mind and address them amicably, as all of you are here to accomplish a common goal (be it learning new information or coming up with a solution to some problem). You can’t possibly guess how nerve-wrecking it was for me as a twenty-something student to pitch a business plan to a panel of internationally renowned bankers. Yet, I survived. How? I knew they wished me well, and I drew them to participation since we were there for the same mission.
Get your props
When delivering a public speech, it should not be only about you talking. Treat your audience to superb visuals and audio materials, where appropriate, to reinforce your ideas and provide additional evidence in support of your point. Just remember not to overdo it – if you make a presentation, your slides should contain no more than 20% of text, while bringing up relevant, sometimes humorous pictures increases the chances that the facts you emphasize will be remembered afterwards.
Start with a perfect lead
You would want your audience to relax and become your friends right off from the start. For this, your introduction should be as compelling as possible, so always try to come up with a perfect hook such as a relevant joke, a weird occurrence from the past or a funny fact that would show you have both a sense of humor and mercy not to bore your listeners to death.
Leave room for improvisation
When preparing for your public appearance, remember that it’s not about impeccable memorizing of everything you or someone else wrote down. A critical part of this art is knowing the ideas rather than just the fancy combinations of words. Practice until you can easily navigate the space of your speech remembering only the hallmarks, so that you could improvise and deviate from the subject without losing your point.
Share your emotional side and draw the audience into your world by mentioning some personal facts to which they could relate. Again, it would show you are not just some nerd who knows the subject so well they invited you to speak on it. Prove that you are not only a good expert but also a human who skyrocketed to that level of expertise by trials and errors, as the art of how to be a good speaker is also about being able to read your audience and guess what can be most engaging for them to hear.
Interact with the audience
It’s important to engage your audience into your presentation as well, so that they won’t feel alienated. Many of your listeners would have something to contribute to your story, and sometimes it can turn out to ease the atmosphere. There’ll definitely be some awkward situations, but dealing with them is part of the public speaking art as well. Also, you are bound to have a good laugh too, it’s always so entertaining.
End on a high note
I know it’s so stressful to make up a perfect conclusion to your speech, but you should leave your audience with both food for thought and a sense of accomplishment. Don’t be afraid to leave it hanging in the air either, for example, for asking an open question for them to think about. Other than this, wrapping up your speech with a neat summary would work for corporate presentations as much as for more general subjects. Just make sure the conclusion won’t take more than 5% of the total time.