Talk of the Town: How to Develop Your Public Speaking Skills

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur and leader, you will also need to be able to speak in public. Follow these tips for help.

No matter what your inspiration or motivation, you will need to have a plan to get ahead and reach the pinnacle of your field.

Successful people always plan their route; have a goal and a single minded purpose to reach that goal.

However, if you are to be successful in any field, you will also need to be able to speak in public.

There will be many times when you need to portray your point accurately, present data or even inspire others; to do this you will need to follow these tips and become a sought after public speaker:

Related Article: Tricks for Memorization: Wow Them With Your Next Speech

Find an Interesting Subject and Stick to It

The most important point when speaking in public is that you are talking about something that you care about.

You should feel passionate about your subject and enthusiastic; ideally you should want to share your ideas and inspire others.

This enthusiasm and passion will show in your speech. Stick to the information you know really well, and avoid making assumptions.

The business environment is cut-throat, and a single mistake can distract your target audience. Focus on things you master, although if you don’t know the answer to a question, try not to panic.

Admit that you don’t know and seek help to resolve it by welcoming your listeners to pitch in.

Plan Ahead

Before you can give any public presentation you must plan what you want to say. You should start with your objective, define the message you wish to get across to your audience.

You will then need to decide who your audience is and the best method for communicating with them. This will need to be at a level they can understand and in a way they can relate to.

You will then be able to create an outline of your speech by simply creating a list of the relevant points you want to pass on.

Practice

The best way to get better at anything is to practice it. To do this you can start by videoing yourself and replaying the speech.

You will be able to pick up on any body mannerisms which are distracting, or too many awkward moments.

You can then graduate to practice in front of a few friends or family and asking for honest feedback.

Related Article: How to View Your Sales Pitch as a Game (And Win)

Keep Your Nerves Under Control

Even the best public speakers have nerves! However, practicing and knowing your subject go a long way towards calming these nerves.

You should also familiarize yourself with the place you will be speaking in and try breathing exercises before you start.

It is essential to remember that, if you do make a mistake, move on; the audience will not know, and if they do, they will just see you as human, which will make it easier to relate to you and your message.

Stories

Another common trick is to start by telling a short, relevant story which involves you and the subject matter.

Ideally it should be possible for your audience to relate to you in the story and see how you overcame some sort of adversity to achieve the right result.

Public speaking is about connecting with the people in the audience, making every person feel as though they could be you and you are speaking to them directly.  Stories invoke empathy and this is a powerful tool.

Be Natural

It is important to be yourself, nothing will lose an audience quicker than if you pretend to be something that you are not and they realize.

Additionally you are the one who has been chosen to give the speech for a reason; probably because you were the best person for the job.

Relax, take a deep breath and allow pauses throughout your speech; these give you the opportunity to catch your breath and collect your thoughts whilst the audience absorbs the information provided.

Related Article: The Deck Is a Dialogue: 3 Steps to Conversational Presenting

Images

PowerPoint presentations, or similar can be very distracting and ruin a good speech. Keep the pictures to a minimum and avoid too much writing on them.

They are there to illustrate the point you are making, not provide your audience with an alternative attention base. 

Above all, have fun when speaking in public. As an entrepreneur you can’t afford to be nervous. If you want people to listen to you, then you must find a way to make yourself heard.

A fluent, informational, and even a slightly humorous speech will keep the audience interested and eager to know more of what you’re sharing.

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