7 Simple Strategies for becoming an Outstanding Public SpeakerPooja Desai
Are you hoping to become an effective and inspiring public speaker? With so many programs offering public speaking classes, it’s easier than ever to learn the skills you need to deliver a captivating presentation. Whether you’re a child, college student, or adult, take a look at these useful tips to help you reach your goal of becoming a dynamic orator.
Importance of Public Speaking
The significance of Public Speaking has been very well explained in the book titled “The Art of Public Speaking” written by J.D. Rockfeller. Public Speaking is an important skill to master in order to effectively communicate ideas, opinions, and information to a group of people. It helps build confidence, establish credibility, and can even be used as a platform to spread awareness and inspire action. Good public speaking skills can be used to create powerful presentations, teach classes, lead meetings, and facilitate group discussions. As such, public speaking is an invaluable tool for networking and career advancement, as it can help an individual to make powerful connections and gain a competitive edge.
Additionally, public speaking can be used to advocate for important causes, promote social change, and share a unique perspective. Ultimately, public speaking can help make a lasting impact on a community.
Strategies for Becoming an Outstanding Public Speaker
1. Research & Prepare
First, make sure that you have researched your topic and know everything about it. You are the expert on your topic. Then think about how you will structure what you are going to say. For example, if the beginning of a book doesn’t grab your attention, you are likely going to put it down. Same way, your speech must be interesting from the get-go.
In order to keep the audience hooked to your speech, you must know your audience – age range, educational & cultural background. Next question is “Does my topic matter to them?”. Once you have analysed your audience, adapt your speech content accordingly.
Finally comes the practice. We shall see how to practice the art of delivering the speech in the next few points.
2. Build your Confidence
With a well-structured speech, you are halfway there. How can you ensure that this preparation doesn’t go in vain? Remove the factor of nerves or anxiety with plenty of practice. As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect!”
To be a confident speaker, give yourself sufficient time to prepare and practice your speech. Give yourself a self-task saying that “I can do it!” and visualise yourself presenting the speech in front of people.
If you still feel anxious, give the speech in front of a small audience of familiar people, get the layout of the stage and practice. Don’t forget PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and PRACTICE because no one becomes a compelling speaker overnight.
3. Body Language
No matter how good your content is, if you lack good body language, you lose your audience. The body language includes our facial expressions, body movement and posture, gestures, and eye contact.
A small head nod at the right moment, maintaining eye contact with audience, showing suitable emotions on your face as we speak and movement of your hands and whole body keeps your audience engaged throughout your speech.
Negative body language that some people show are clenched fist or holding on to the table, looking over the heads of the audience, standing firmly at one spot, aggressive gestures, etc. Avoid these at all costs as they are bound to show your anxiety to the audience who will lose the interest in speech.
4. Visual Aids
Slides or presentations are a simple and effective visual aid that help in engaging the audience. Visual aids also provide important statistics and information in the form of charts, graphs, pictures and posters which boosts the understanding of your content and helps the audience remember what you, the speaker, is saying.
Many a times, visual aids take up the role of reminding the speaker of the points that needs to be articulated, as well as make the speech persuasive. Remember, visual aids cannot take the place of preparation and practice.
5. Focus on Audience Needs
Audience don’t expect perfect speeches. Rather, they want a speaker with whom they can connect with and relate to. To achieve audience attention and interest, do an audience analysis – “Who are my audience?”
There are four different types of audience. You can use the following strategy when you are trying to make your speech resonate with them.
Friendly – Reinforce their beliefs and interests.
Apathetic – Convince them that your topic matters for them.
Uninformed – Educate them and then share your content with them.
Hostile – Firstly, respect their beliefs and views. Make them open to your speech by presenting new information and then asking for any change in their position.
6. Speak Clearly & Slowly
When you are preparing for your speech, pace yourself and give some pauses after explaining key points. This allows the audience to digest important or complex information, and at times increases the importance of a point.
You can practice to speak slowly, but not too slowly, by focusing on enunciating your words, giving accurate stress to words and following a natural intonation pattern. This will help you convey your message more clearly.
Watch videos of speakers. Record yourself presenting your speech. Compare and modify your speaking styles, and pacing.
7. Keep it Interesting
Interact with your audience; ask questions. Your audience are not rocks listening to a monologue. The speech topic might sometimes not be intrinsically exciting. Engage and interact with them.
Among other ways to keep the audience engaged is by sharing a funny anecdote, narrating a personal experience or story. Audience will love a personal touch that they can relate to in the speech.
Finally, you could use a pop culture catchphrase during your speech. It can be in the form of a punch line, or title of your Slides. Catchphrases can make the audience feel interested and enjoyable even when the speech topic is complicated or serious.
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