Mastering Public Speaking: Tips to Improve Your Skill
Martin Luther King’s infamous ‘I have a Dream’ speech, will go down in the annals of history as one of the most inspiring public speeches ever. It helped many Americans stand up for their rights, in a nation that did not seem to treat all its citizens equally.
Years later, that speech still inspires people the world over. The beauty of Public Speaking lies in the fact that a few words uttered in front of even a small audience, can change millions of lives. This is especially relevant in these times, where it doesn’t take long for a powerful speech to go viral.
For those looking to make a difference in this world, the importance of Public Speaking Skills cannot be overstated. And yet, most people are afraid of speaking in front of crowds.
While all of us might have heard of the term ‘Public Speaking’, do we even know what it really means?
What Public Speaking Skills Are
Public speaking, in a nutshell, is a soft skill that requires excellent communication skills, enthusiasm, and the ability to engage with an audience.
Public speakers are people who make presentations to a group. These presentations could range from speaking to a small number of people, to talking on stage in a large auditorium packed with people. Regardless of the size of the group, the same skill set is required by all public speakers.
The Importance of Public Speaking Skills
That live presentation given before an audience, can have several benefits for the speaker. Here are just a few of them.
- It builds Confidence. Speaking in front of an audience can do wonders for that confidence. Simply overcoming the insecurities and fear that stem from speaking in front of a crowd, makes for a most empowering experience.
- It enhances Leadership Skills. When you give a powerful speech in front of an audience, it increases your credibility. That helps you score leadership brownie points!
- It sharpens your Vocabulary. You’re only going to use the choicest words for your speech! By researching the best words to use, you improve that vocabulary by leaps and bounds.
10 Ways to Improve your Public Speaking Skills
Searching for how to improve public speaking skills? Don’t worry, we have it all covered in our list of the top 10 Ways to Improve your Public Speaking Skills.
#1. Research the Topic at hand
You want to do some fine research on the topic you are going to be speaking about.
This might even necessitate reading from books, if the information you procure from the Internet is not all that comprehensive. A speech that shows that you are well-informed on the subject you are talking on, makes a greater impact.
#2. Write that Speech down
Looking for how to improve public speaking skills? Start by writing down that speech!
Add information as and when you stumble upon it. Of course, it need not be on actual paper. A Word Document will do just fine. This will help you organize your thoughts, and make for a far more structured speech.
#3. Engage with your Audience
Are you merely talking to your audience, or engaging with them?
You want to encourage participation by asking them questions. Also, don’t be scared to pause and collect your thoughts. Speak slowly and in a way that your audience will understand exactly what you are saying. One of the most important tips to improve public speaking skills, this one.
#4. Have Mock Presentation Sessions
Practice makes perfect, right?
Speak as often as you can, in front of your inner circle. Your friends and family members. Don’t worry if it’s a small audience. The more you practice, the more you will hone your ability to think out loud.
#5. Listen to Great Speakers
This is one of those tips to improve public speaking skills, that really makes a difference.
Go to as many events as possible, where eminent personalities are making speeches. Or, simply search online from the vast database of TED talks to get inspired for your upcoming speech.
#6. Make Eye Contact
You might be thinking, how do I possibly look at everyone in the crowd? Well, you don’t have to!
Randomly look at people as you are speaking, and make eye contact with them. When you do that, it will make them feel special. Like you are talking ‘only to them.’
#7. Time Yourself
One of the most important things you can do while rehearsing your speech, is to pay attention to how you pace yourself.
That speech that you have to deliver, might have a time limit ranging anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour. When you time yourself, it will give you a good idea as to whether you need to lengthen or shorten it.
#8. Record that Speech
When you rehearse that speech, make it a point to record it!
When you play back the recorded speech, it helps you go over what you have just said. It also helps you make notes pertaining to where you need to pause, and the words you need to stress upon.
#9. Take a Public Speaking Class
People take classes for just about everything. Why not for Public Speaking?
If you join a public speaking class, you will be able to learn some of the critical skills that will help you ace your ability to speak in front of an audience.
#10. Relax your Body Language
Last but not the least, is how you present yourself in front of your audience.
When you speak, make sure you stand upright, and that you move in ways that are natural. Avoid things like putting your hands in your pockets, or crossing your arms. You also don’t want to stare at your notes for inordinate periods of time.
We at EuroKids give our children plenty of opportunities for speaking in front of their fellow students. We believe that Public Speaking is a great social activity that reinforces a child’s confidence and promotes their personal development.