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How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills


You can handle flying, snakes, spiders and bungee jumping but public speaking always gives you a bad case of jitters. We all have that stage fright or fear of public speaking more than you would think. However you also need to realise that the fear is not of speaking in public so much as that nagging thought in the back of your mind telling you that you will make a mistake and embarrass yourself while speaking in public. That’s where all that anxiety stems from and that is the toughest challenge for any public speaker to overcome.


(Source:Slideshare – Public speaking 101)

Over the past decade or so, public speaking, be it motivational or otherwise, has become popular. People pay to listen to skilled speakers take the stage. It’s a great forum for learning for most spectators and for the public speakers themselves, it is a big career opportunity.

Can You Become a Good Public Speaker?

Chances are with practice and the right tools, you certainly can. Here are some public speaking tips and methods to help you become an effective public speaker.

The Stages of Public Speaking

There are three main stages of public speaking

  • Preparation
  • Construction
  • Delivery


You need to aim to prepare for four main areas before you take the stage. Know your audience, the topic, the objective of your speaking and the time that you have for it. When it comes to the audience know about their background and if possible (if it is a limited audience) their names and general areas of interest would help too. You should also understand what they would expect to gain out of the session that you are conducting. Next, tackle the topic. Make sure that you have enough data and information to speak about it and that you can speak about the topic with confidence. It also has to be interesting so your audience won’t get bored. Now, look at the main objective of the session. Are you giving them a training? Are you speaking for entertainment purposes only? Your final delivery has to achieve this objective. Finally look at the allocated amount of time. The most effective public speaking sessions will last for 45 minutes or slightly less and nothing above. The more you know about the time, the better you will be able to plan out your points of discussion.


When you construct the public speaking session, first imagine what it will be like delivering the message that you have. Can you deliver it like a story? What is the best way to present the message clearly? Once you know this, you can start researching for your session. Develop a presentation that has interactive pictures and plenty of valid data that the audience will find interesting. After you think you have completed your research and presentation construction, stand in front of a mirror and rehearse it. As you speak pay attention to how complicated or simple the session sounds. If it is too exhausting simplify it. Remember, your presentation is just a guideline. Don’t pack it full of long chunks of text. Simply use it as a reminder for you and elaborate on your own.



(Source:Slideshare – Public speaking 101)

You are the delivery of your public speaking. Your appearance matters. Dress comfortably and don’t underdress or overdress. Use the right body language that exudes positivity and confidence. Use your facial expressions, interact with your audience and use hand gestures, but be sure to avoid any nervous gestures. Most importantly, don’t fidget. When you deliver your speech use the right tone of voice and the right articulation. Don’t use unnecessarily complicated terminology that can leave the audience struggling to keep up with you. Take enough pauses and don’t rush through the session.


Watch for Feedback While You Speak and Adapt to It

This may take some experience to get used to. While you are speaking look at your audience. Do they all seem interested? Are they having fun? Are some of them falling asleep or on their phones? Based on that non-verbal feedback you get, adjust your speech. Some speakers even stop the session for five minutes for an energiser exercise so that people can come back to the session refreshed.

Be You

Don’t try to be somebody that you are not. The audience will connect the most to what you are saying, if they see your personality shining through while you speak. The more they can see the real you, the higher the chances that they will trust what you are saying and pay more attention.


Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes

You are human just like the audience and therefore you are allowed to make mistakes. If you forget something be humorous about it. If you feel like you need to stall for time, come up with an activity that will allow you to do so and if you genuinely cannot answer a question, simply reply that you will get back to them with a response and thank them for asking a good question. Don’t make up answers that lack accuracy and don’t say anything that you cannot prove.

Give Them an Interesting Start and a Dynamic End

Most public speakers will never open saying, “today I am going to talk to you about….” That is just boring and your audience will mentally prepare themselves to sit through a tedious lecture. Instead, ask an interesting and thought provoking question or bring up a current incident that is linked to what you are about to say. When you end your session do so with a quick and simple summary and of course a strong statement that will help your audience remember what they learnt.

Gain the Skills You Need and Improve Yourself

For you to teach others, you also need to teach yourself. Look for public speaking courses that you can take up for your education. There are many public speaking short courses available online that will easily fit in with your schedule. The importance of you learning before you attempt to teach others, cannot be stressed enough.

Where Can You Find Public Speaking Courses?

1Training is a leading online education provider in London that offers you a range of accredited public speaking courses with a certification that is industry recognised. You can look through our programs here (Source:1Training – Public Speaking Training) All the courses that we offer are taught by experts who know the art of public speaking so that the course material is simple, fun and insightful at the same time.

Good luck on your next public speaking session and remember, stage fright is just a state of mind.

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