8 Ways to be a great public speaker

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8 Ways to be a great public speaker

At some point in your life, you’ll have to speak in public. You may have to give a speech at a friend's engagement party, or maybe at a conference where you have to talk about your organisation. Giving a speech is nerve wracking and even seasoned speakers get nervous. It’s not an activity many people enjoy. But there are techniques you can learn which can help you navigate your way through your speech and make it easier.


Here are a few ways to improve your public communication skills.


Rehearse your speech

It’s important to go through your speech and practise it several times. You can do this by practising in front of a mirror or saying your speech in front of your family. When you give yourself time to rehearse, you’ll discover awkward tongue twisters which you may not have noticed while writing your speech. You may also notice some information you added to the speech which is unnecessary or important information you forgot to add. The other benefit of rehearsing your speech is you’ll become more confident and will be able to avoid gabbling and pausing which occurs when you’re nervous.


Prepare in the actual setting

You should also consider practising in the room where you’ll be giving your speech. Familiarising yourself with the environment where the speech will take place will help minimise anxiety. The more adjusted you are to the place, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel.


Watch your pace

Learn how to pace your speech so your audience clearly understands you. When you’re nervous, you may end up rushing through your speech. But talking faster will make it hard for the audience to interpret what you’re trying to say. Slow down your speech so you’ll be able to be an effective speaker and get your message across.   


Keep calm

Calm down. Your knees may shake and palms may sweat but you need to take control of your nerves. Otherwise, you may forget parts of your speech and come across as unconfident to your audience. It's normal to experience speech anxiety but you need to have your nerves under control otherwise you may find yourself umming and ahhing through the speech.


Be optimistic

Attitudes are contagious and you need to make sure yours is worth catching. Smile when appropriate and be friendly. Audiences respond to speakers who are confident, enthusiastic and energetic. Ensure you're positive throughout your whole speech because when you’re negative and fearful, it’ll show. And your audience will be able to detect it.


Encourage participation

Listening to a  monologue can be monotonous. So, encourage the audience to take part in the conversation by asking leading questions. Ask easy questions which anyone in the room can answer. And make sure not to put people on the spot or embarrass them in any way. Ask questions which are relevant and will drive the point across. Just make sure you plan ahead. You want the response of the audience to help you make a point.


Body language

Make sure you pay attention to your body language and that you convey the right message. For example, you can use your hands when appropriate, to emphasise a point or express emotion.


Choose words wisely

Be careful of the words you use in your speech. If you use sentences such as, “I think this a good idea” or “It may work” then you won’t inspire confidence in the audience you’re trying to persuade. Cut out words such as “I  think’ or “I feel” because they don’t make your speech credible. Don’t use weak language because it will diminish your authority. For example during your speech  instead of saying ‘I feel’ rather say ‘I expect” or “I’m convinced”


Be interesting

Tell your audience something which is useful and interesting. Your speech needs to enlighten your audience and make them feel like you're catering to their needs. Make sure your topic at hand is relevant to your audience. If you pick a topic which is not relevant to them, you won’t be able to persuade them and win them over.

Be honest with yourself, does the speech you're about to give excite you or are you bored with it? If you’re not enthusiastic about your speech, then chances are the audience won’t be fired up too.


You might be required to do a presentation as part of your marketing course or for a function at work. You need to make sure you study the right techniques to make your speech stand out. Learning the correct tools to give a good speech will make you confident and, who knows, may even get you a standing ovation.


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