Public speaking is talking to a live audience to entertain, persuade, and/or educate them. For a public speaker to successfully engage their audience, effective verbal and non-verbal skills are necessary.
Effective public speaking skills can benefit your professional and personal life. It is worth developing to build your influence, boost your confidence, expand your professional and social networks, become a better communicator, and so on.
For most people, public speaking doesn’t come naturally. The fear of public speaking can be overcome with a few helpful tips and practice. Here are a few tips for confident public speaking.
It is often said that practice makes perfect. No one becomes an expert on their first try. The more you practice public speaking, the easier it becomes for you.
Anytime you are allowed to speak in front of people, jump on it. Don’t shy away. Rehearsing alone also helps in getting you more comfortable and accustomed to your abilities.
2. Get to know your audience
Before outlining your speech, ask yourself who your audience is and what they will like to hear. This is because your level of preparation will equal your confidence level. If you have prepared for the audience you want to speak to, your confidence level will be high because you know you have prepared.
Also, the way you present your points should be determined by the kind of audience you want to address.
3. Body language
While speaking publicly, use positive body language. A friendly smile and good posture help in engaging your audience. Using active hand gestures and walking around not only holds your audience’s attention, but also makes you appear passionate about your topic.
When speaking, don’t hide behind a podium or remain stationary. Make sure to move.
4. Envision success
You might be tempted to think about failure before speaking in front of a crowd.
Instead of thinking about failure, visualise yourself knocking it out and imagining how amazing you will feel once it’s over. This will greatly boost your confidence.
5. Eliminate filler words
When speaking publicly, you should eliminate filler words such as “like,”, “um”, “you know” and so on. Watch a video of yourself speaking and pay attention to your speech patterns to make yourself aware of your unwanted verbal tendencies.
Perfecting your diction takes some serious practice, but it will be worth it when you take the stage to speak to an audience.
6. Eye contact
In a smaller crowd, find that one person who is making direct eye contact with you and hanging on to your every word. They will make you feel confident about your speech.
In a larger crowd, look over the crowd’s eye line. This will make it appear that you are looking at everyone while giving you the comfort of not being reminded of the crowd’s size.
7. Simple speech
Impressing the audience with your sentence structure is not needed. Audiences have limited attention spans, so you need to keep them engaged with snappy stories and quick and short phrases.
Your speech can’t always be a hit. When that happens, there is not much you can do. So, keep talking and get through with what you came there to say.
8. Write down bullet points
You might be tempted to write out your speech in full and read it from a prepared script. Reading your speech from a piece of paper won’t make your words sound genuine. Also, delivering a memorised speech can make you sound stiff.
This does not mean you cannot write down anything. Writing down bullet points will help you remember your big ideas.
The more you implement these tips, the more confident and comfortable you’ll be at public speaking.
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