More than 25% of the US population is afraid of public speaking. If you know how to do it right, it won’t be scary anymore. Read on to learn more about the art of public speaking and how the pros do it!
The Art Of Public Speaking
Public speaking is an important skill to have for all. In your professional life, you will have to address a crowd, do presentations, and more. But to be able to address a crowd effectively may not be easy for many people, as a matter of fact, statistics show that more than a quarter of the US population is afraid of public speaking.
Here are some tips on how to improve your public speaking skills.
Being prepared is highly important for public speaking. You need to know your content and the flow of your speech. You can use bullet-pointed notes to help you stay on track in case you get distracted by something or get interrupted by someone.
Wayne Burgraff, an 18th-century philosopher, said that “it takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time,” emphasizing the importance of preparation.
The famous American philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “all the great speakers were bad speakers at first,” emphasizing that it takes practice to master the art of public speaking.
Practice makes things perfect, no matter what it is. So after being done with all the preparations, it is time to practice. Giving a speech in front of a crowd can be nerve-wracking, but practicing your speech with friends or family members will help you get over that nervousness and make it perfect.
Engage with Your Audience
Award-winning speaker, author, and in-demand speech coach Patricia Fripp said, “the first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds have the most impact in a presentation,” reminding us that the start of our speech sets the pace for the rest of our speech. If you cannot draw your audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds, they will not pay attention to the rest.
Starting your speech with a quote, a joke (if applicable), or a fact that is related to your topic will draw the attention of your audience. The more interesting you start your speech, the more attention you will get.
Finishing strong is also an important step because you want your audience to remember your speech after leaving the premises. End your speech with a memorable concluding sentence, or a question that will linger in the mind of your audience.
Don’t Be Afraid of Repetition
Don’t be afraid to repeat and emphasize the important messages in your speech. When you first mention something, your audience may not pay much attention, but as you continue your speech by repeating some critical information, your audience will realize that it’s important, and they will remember it.
As the famous American author and speaker John Maxwell said, “the first time you say something, it’s heard; the second time, it’s recognized, the third time, it’s learned.”
Keep It Simple
Guy Takeo Kawasaki, an American author, marketing specialist, and speaker, said, “Simple and to the point is always the best way to get your point across.”
As the speaker, you obviously have more information and knowledge about your topic. Depending on the topic and the audience, sometimes they may not have an understanding of what you’re saying. Do not assume that the audience has a background knowledge on the topic.
Keep it simple, give definitions and explanations with examples. Simplify your speech and avoid using too difficult terms, and if you have to use such terminology, provide a quick and simple explanation.
Make Your Speech Interesting
“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives,” said Lily Waters, American author, and speaker, on the importance of engaging with your audience.
Observe your audience as you are giving your speech. As you may be nervous about speaking in front of a crowd, you may talk too fast or too quiet, which would make it difficult for the audience to understand. Pay attention to your audience’s body language; do they seem bored or confused or engaged?
If the topic is not engaging, the audience will zone out. Try to include some anecdotes, real-life stores, or a joke to make it more interesting. You can even make your presentation interactive by asking questions to your audience.
Avoid using too many statistics, difficult concepts that’ll confuse people, and long sentences. As Alexander Gress said, “There are three things to aim at in public speaking; first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your.”
Do Not Give Up
Even if your speech did not go as planned or something went wrong or straight out failed, it is okay. You can always look back and understand what went wrong the last time and prepare yourself better for the next speech. If you are not failing, then you are not improving.
As James Altucher said, “The only truly safe thing you can do is to try over and over again. To go for it, to get rejected, to repeat, to strive, to wish. Without rejection, there is no frontier, there is no passion, and there is no magic.”
We hope that the tips provided in this article will help our readers improve their public speaking skills and give them better speeches.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section! What are your thoughts and useful tips on the art of public speaking?