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11 Tips to Be a Better Public Speaker


Sooner or later, everyone has to do it. Still, speaking in front of an audience is regularly ranked against the greatest fears plaguing mankind. For many, it's right up there with sharks, spiders, heights and being attacked by a vicious dog. Public speaking is simply not something that most people look forward to.

public speaking

Public speaking is a skill -- one that takes practice and perseverance to master.

Public speaking's bad reputation stems from most people's fear of looking foolish in front of others. What if they don't like what you have to say? What if you forget your thoughts, offend somebody or, worse, bore them? This fear can be greatly relieved, however, simply by learning a few tricks of the trade. When you are empowered with the insider tips to give a great speech in front of any audience, your fears may just subside.

Even for those who adore public speaking (after all, you get to share your opinions with a captive audience), honing up on the following tips can add some pizzazz to your speaking style so that every speech truly impacts the audience.

And now, without further ado, here are the 11 top ways to become a better public speaker.

  1. Know your audience. Tailor your message directly to this group, then greet some of the audience members as they arrive so you feel like you're speaking to friends.

  2. Know your material. In general, you should only give a speech about something you know very well. Make sure you know even more about the topic than you intend to include in the speech.

  3. Practice makes perfect. You should practice every speech, out loud, and including any visual aids you plan to use, numerous times.

  4. Take a breath. Pauses can lend just the right emphasis to an important point, so be sure to include them when appropriate.

public speaking

Remember to use body language, including your facial expressions, eye contact, posture, and hand gestures, to engage your audience and convey your confidence.

  1. Use body language to your advantage. Your posture, eye contact, hand gestures and facial expressions speak volumes. Here are some tips to use this non-verbal form of communication.

  2. Visualize a successful speech. Picture yourself wowing the audience with your charisma, poise and wit. It will help to ease your nerves.

  3. Do not apologize. If you stumble on your words, appear nervous or mix up a part of your speech, don't say anything about it. The audience will probably not notice, unless you bring it up.

  4. The audience is your friend. It's easy to think of the audience as the big, bad wolf. But in reality, they want your speech to be a success.

  5. Figure out your take-home message. What is it that you want the audience to leave with? How would you want them to sum up your speech if they were to describe it to someone else? This is your take-home message. Use it to build your entire speech.

  6. Start with a bang. The first few minutes of your speech will set the tone for your entire presentation, so use them to your advantage. Try a joke, a shocking statistic, an inspiring quote or a news headline that will get the audience's attention and peak their curiosity.

  7. Get personal. When appropriate, share your personal stories, experiences and thoughts. This keeps your speech unique while sharing your motivations and enthusiasm with the audience. Also, speak to the audience as you would a friend. It's generally not appropriate to keep things overly formal or technical.

Recommended Reading

How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Taking Risks: How to Take Calculated Risks to Get Ahead in Anything


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