Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Public speaking is one of the most important skills you can have in life. Not only does it help you land jobs and advance in your career, but it also gives you the confidence to speak up in any situation, whether it’s a job interview or a board meeting. However, public speaking is many people’s worst nightmare, and the term ‘glossophobia’ is the fear of public speaking. To help you become an effective public speaker, I’m going to share some advice from public speaking experts.
First, practice makes perfect. The more experience you gain with public speaking, the better you will become at it. When preparing for a speech or presentation, practice beforehand as much as possible. Speak out loud and make sure that your words are clear and concise. If you’re not confident enough to deliver your speech in front of others yet, try practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself on video so that you can review your performance afterwards.
Second, be prepared for public speaking. Before giving any kind of speech or presentation, make sure that you know what topic you are going to be discussing and research it thoroughly. Having an extensive knowledge base on the subject matter will give you a stronger foundation to build your speech on and allow you to answer any questions that may arise during the presentation. Also make sure to go over your notes so that when it comes time to speak, everything flows smoothly and naturally.
Third, be confident in yourself and your material. Often times the key to being successful at public speaking is having confidence in yourself and your material. Letting go of any doubts or apprehensions about speaking in front of people will help boost your confidence level when presenting. Make sure that when delivering your presentation that your voice projects strength and authority by using vocal variety such as changing pitch or volume when appropriate. Additionally, use body language such as gestures and facial expressions to show enthusiasm for the topic being discussed and emphasize key points throughout the speech.
Fourth, engage with your audience. Relying solely on slideshows or text-heavy presentations can lead to disengaged audiences who quickly lose interest in what’s being said. Instead of relying solely on reading from notes or slideshows, engage with the audience by asking questions or encouraging discussion among them throughout the presentation. Doing this will hold their attention longer while also making them feel more involved with what’s being discussed which helps create an overall positive atmosphere for everyone involved in the public speaking experience.
Fifth, use visual aids effectively (Such as PowerPoints). Visual aids can be incredibly useful for conveying complex information or communicating abstract concepts in a more straightforward manner than words alone could do justice for; however they should only be used sparingly as too many visuals can easily overwhelm an audience and take away from what’s being said rather than add to it (Mendes et al., 2019). When using visual aids such as PowerPoint slideshows make sure that there are no more than 3-4 words per slide (Sawyer et al., 2018) so as not to overload viewers with information all at once which can easily lead to confusion since their eyes must first focus on absorbing written words before they can comprehend what’s being said orally.
Finally, don’t forget to take a few deep breaths before beginning a speech/presentation (Spaulding & Brownlowe 2017). Taking a few deep breaths helps calm jittery nerves while also providing clarity of thought which allows speakers to better focus on delivering their message successfully without getting lost along the way due to nerves taking over thinking processes (“The Benefits Of Deep Breathing”).
Public speaking can often seem intimidating but following this advice from experienced professionals should help anyone become more comfortable with giving speeches/presentations while also helping them improve their overall performance while doing so (Gardner & Moore 2020). With enough practice and dedication anyone should soon find themselves enjoying giving speeches/presentations rather than dreading them!
- Gardner & Moore (2020). “Best Practices For Public Speaking: Tips From Professional Speakers”
- Mendes et al., 2019 “The Effects Of Using Visual Aids In Oral Presentations: An Experimental Study”
- Sawyer et al., 2018 “How To Create An Effective PowerPoint Presentation”
- Spaulding & Brownlowe 2017 “The Benefits Of Deep Breathing And How It Helps With Public Speaking Anxiety”