Most people find themselves in careers and positions that require them to make presentations or speak to a group of people. Conversely, there are still those who do not have to talk regularly as it has little or nothing to do with their career path.
However, shying away from learning public speaking is hardly the wise choice for anyone for so many reasons. Not having the skill of public speaking puts you at a disadvantage if you unexpectedly find yourself in a situation where you have to address people or make a presentation.
It does not hurt to have the skill, whether you use it often or not, so that you won’t face the brutal reality of learning it from scratch when the need arises. Finally, just having the confidence that you possess public speaking skill makes you more relaxed instead of being on edge with the possibility of a surprise occurrence.
Public speaking is not just limited to professional and formal situations, it is also useful in informal settings. For instance, you might have to give a speech during a friend’s wedding at a family gathering or even a high school reunion. These situations are not formal or professional, but you still have to address many people.
The fact is that you need to have public speaking skills, whether the situation is formal or informal. Without the required public speaking skill, you may likely make many mistakes when speaking publicly in both formal and informal situations.
Acquiring public speaking skills can even help one deal with their social anxieties and get you more prepared to stand before a crowd to deliver compelling speeches and presentations. Here are some helpful tips and strategies that can help you become a better public speaker;
Tips and Strategies for Becoming a Better Public Speaker
All skills are learnable. It takes dedication and focus, but you can learn everything you need to know about public speaking. Using the following strategies and tips will set you on the path to becoming an excellent public speaker and presenter.
- Appropriate and Adequate Planning
Without planning, you run the risk of being unprepared, which only reinforces your anxiety which in turn takes a toll on your confidence. When you are in this position, it is nearly impossible to give a good presentation or speech to your audience. It would help if you made plans for your communication. Planning with tools such as 7CS of Communication and Rhetorical Triangle can help you decide and structure whatever you want to say. Planning helps you ensure that your delivery is top-notch and you have the attention of your audience.
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When you plan appropriately before speaking, you are certain to pass your message with orderliness. You also score great points on delivery to have the audience’s rapt attention because you, of course, know what you are saying. Planning provides you with a catchy headline or an informative statistic that piques the interest of your listeners. You also learn that you could open with a great story.
To learn any skill effectively, one must practice. Practicing regularly helps you to deepen your knowledge and grow your confidence. And these skills are important for effective public speaking. It is almost impossible to be a good and confident public speaker when you do not practice.
Even the most renowned public speakers still practice often to sharpen their skills. How does one practice public speaking? Easy! Do not shy away from the opportunities to speak in front of people. You can start small with friends and family gatherings where you might not be comfortable with everyone. Doing this often would make it easy for you to build your confidence.
It is also easier to get feedback when you practice with people you know.
They can tell you where you need to make improvements. It is even okay to seek public speaking opportunities actively. You will become good at it when you practice and master the art and skill.
- Positive Thinking
Public speaking has everything to do with confidence. One way to put yourself down and erode your confidence is to have negative thoughts. When you allow the negative thoughts to get in, you begin to doubt your abilities, and this could hurt the outcome of your presentation and speech.
The best approach is to envision yourself giving an excellent presentation, and believing that nothing would go wrong makes it easier for you to bring the imagination to life. It is also important that you avoid people that make it a habit to criticize you with whatever you say or do. Rather, surround yourself with positive-minded people.
You can go as far as having a pre-speech ritual that reinforces positivity in your mood and thought. Always understand that your audience can tell when you are not feeling good about yourself and your presentation. So saying things like, “I suck at public speaking”, or even “The audience won’t like me” would be doing yourself a huge disservice. You do not want to sabotage yourself and your presentation.
- Make Time to View Video Clips of your Speeches and Presentation
When you can, try to get video recordings of your speeches and presentations. The value of this is to see first-hand where you need to make improvements. The speedy development you can make when you adopt and implement this strategy cannot be overemphasized. When you watch and give yourself honest feedback, it becomes easy to take note and practice more efficiently.
Things you must take note of are stalling in your speech. Verbal stalls such as “uh”, “Um”, “like'', or “You know” are things you must work hard to get rid of. You must also watch your body language and mannerisms so that you can notice if you fidget or stand at akimbo or any other body language that communicates a lack of confidence to your audience.
Also, see your strengths like smiling, clarity, and other things that give you a solid presentation to improve on these aspects. Take notes of how you handle interruptions, look out for frustration triggers and enhance your interaction with the audience.
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The Importance of Public Speaking Skills
You may not make public presentations regularly. You may never find yourself in a position where you have to address a large audience, but the skill of public speaking can help you even if you never have to make presentations and give a speech before a crowd.
For example, public speaking skills can help you advance your career just because you possess them. Also, when you have built the necessary confidence that comes with the skill, you can address any audience and people in authority who sit in influential decision-making positions. You stand better chances of getting opportunities when you have acquired this skill.
Another value of possessing public speaking skill is that you could find yourself in an impromptu and unexpected situation, where you are asked to deliver a speech. The skill will keep you to stay prepared and provide you with the boldness to proceed. Put it this way, a skilled instrumentalist might be called upon unexpectedly to play their instrument, and the mere fact that they are skilled will help them navigate the situation and deliver an ovation-worthy performance. This applies to one that is skilled in public speaking.
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The unexpected situations you might find yourself include; receiving an award on behalf of your boss when he is unavoidably absent. You might have to address a class of recruits or give an interview or talk to clients at any time.
Asides from professional and formal areas of your life, there may be situations in your social and informal life that demands speaking to people. For example, when you are the host of a party, when it is an anniversary, a meeting to resolve disputes, when you have to address volunteers for an event and even speak at a funeral to deliver a eulogy is a good example that demands you have the public speaking skills.
The lack of public speaking skills may cost you a lot of opportunities. You can also find yourself in embarrassing situations when you are required to give a speech or presentation. People believe a good manager or leader should be an expert in public speaking.
If you struggle because of a lack of these skills, many career opportunities might pass you by. Once you have delivered a bad presentation, most times, it is difficult to get a second chance to make another impression, so it is better to be ready and equipped with the skills beforehand.
Acquiring and improving your public speaking skills is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Interactions with people are not often limited to conversations and dialogues or debates. It could be something that requires tactfulness and public speaking skills. You have to learn and develop the skill to be ready.
Are you prepared to become a public speaker soon? Don’t let anything stop you now!