How to build public speaking skills

Public speaking is often cited as one of the biggest fears we have, which makes it almost impossible for some to speak consistently before a crowd. If you struggle with this, then the good news is that there are several strategies for overcoming this nervousness and mastering the art of giving an unforgettable speech.

In this article, I will outline ways you can build public speaking skills and overcome any fear you have about public speaking. 

Below are ways to build public speaking: 

1. Understand your audience

Think of the audience for your message before you start writing it. Get to know your audience as well as you can. This will assist you in deciding on your word choice, informational depth, structure, and motivating message.

2. Plan your speech

First and foremost, be sure that your speech is well-planned. When planning your speech, make use of resources such as the Rhetorical Triangle, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, and the 7Cs of Communication.

Establish the speech’s structure. Know the kind of message you want to send and arrange it in the most effective way possible. Jot down the essential ideas, fundamental concepts, general and particular purposes, and subjects.

When you do this, consider how crucial the first line of a book is—if it doesn’t pique your interest, you’ll probably put it down. The same rule applies to your speech: you must captivate your audience right away. In the opening thirty seconds, be sure you capture the audience’s interest.

For instance, you may begin with a captivating title, statistic, or piece of information that relates to your topic and appeals to your audience. 

Making a plan also improves your flexibility. This is crucial for impromptu Q&A sessions and last-minute correspondence in particular. Keep in mind that not every opportunity you have to speak in front of an audience will be arranged. Having prepared topics and short speeches in mind can help you deliver effective spontaneous talks. Having a solid awareness of the current state of your company and industry is also beneficial.

3. Practice

Feeling anxious before speaking to a big crowd is common, and can even be considered normal. Everybody experiences certain physiological responses, such as shaky hands and beating hearts. Never connect these emotions to the idea that you’ll perform badly or look foolish. Certain nerves are useful. Sweating produces an adrenaline surge that also heightens your alertness and prepares you to perform at your peak.

The greatest strategy to deal with worry is to plan, plan, and plan some more. Spend some time reviewing your notes many times. Practice until you feel at ease with the content. Record your performance on video, or ask a friend to give you feedback.

4. Improve your delivery.

When giving a speech in front of an audience, your delivery is crucial. Even if your speech has flawless substance, your audience must be able to hear and comprehend what you are saying. The following instances will assist you in enhancing your delivery:

  • Remove fillers: Eliminate words like “um” and “ah,” which might detract from what you’re trying to say. Having a speech outline that covers the main points of your speech can prevent you from stammering when you don’t know what to say next. On the other hand, you should refrain from memorizing a script since it might be detrimental if you miss a word or phrase.
  • Talk clearly and slowly: To make sure your words are understood correctly, talk more slowly than you would in a typical discussion. Make sure your words are spoken clearly.
  • Stop: Incorporate brief pauses to allow your audience to process what you just stated. After you’ve made a point, clarified something, or posed a question, pausing may be quite helpful.
  • Make good use of audiovisual aids: Use them wisely since using too many might sever the direct link to the viewer. They need to draw in and hold the interest of your audience, or they ought to clarify or improve your material.
  • Adopt the appropriate vocal tone: Improve the tone of your voice. Make sure the gathering can hear you when you speak. Instead of speaking in a monotone, use a range of tones to pique the audience’s interest. To hear instances of captivating voice modulation, check out well-known TED presentations or speeches by public speakers you respect.
  • Be sensitive to your audience’s response: Remain aware of your audience. Evaluate their responses, modify your message, and maintain flexibility. Even the most committed listeners will get disinterested or confused if you give a prepared speech.
  • Be true to yourself: In all forms of communication, be true to yourself and avoid becoming a talking head. Your audience will be more receptive to your words if they see you as a genuine person, and you will gain more credibility if your personality comes through.
  • Tell stories: Including a humorous story in your presentation can help you capture the interest of your audience. In general, audiences like speeches with a personal touch. That’s what a narrative can provide.
  • Do not just read from your PowerPoint: The interpersonal relationship is shattered when someone reads from a script or PowerPoint. You can retain the audience’s attention on you and your speech by keeping eye contact. A quick summary might help you stay focused and stimulate your memory.

5. Employ body language skillfully

The majority of communication is conveyed nonverbally. A well-done delivery makes no effort to draw attention to itself; rather, it simply and unobtrusively communicates the speaker’s points. Leave out nervous gestures like stammering, wringing your hands, biting your nails or lips. Let your audience only perceive confidence from you. 

Body language may support your words as nonverbal communication while you’re speaking in front of an audience. Steadily make your way around the stage, following the natural flow of your presentation. Refrain from standing behind desks or tables, but also try not to move around too much to distract the audience. Here are some more public speaking body language guidelines:

  • Sustain an easy, straight posture. Refrain from swinging or oscillating.
  • Make gestures with your hands and arms to illustrate points or specifics from your narrative. 
  • Occasionally go to various parts of the stage without turning away from the crowd. When speaking from a platform, tilt your head and torso to face various sections of the crowd.
  • Align your expression and general level of intensity with the tone of your speech. You want to project a positive, upbeat vibe for the majority of professional presentations.

6. Engage with the viewers

Maintaining group engagement and fostering a sense of connection with the material you are delivering may be achieved by including the audience in your speech. Maintain eye contact with your audience, ask questions and avoid using terminology exclusive to your sector that others may find confusing.

7. Conclude with a powerful statement.

Use a striking statistic, a captivating story, or a relevant quote to begin your speech, and provide a succinct summation and a powerful remark that your audience will not soon forget when you wrap up your speech. Doing this will leave a lasting impression of your speech and they won’t forget what you talked about for a long time. 

Conclusion

Even if you don’t often have to talk in front of a group, there are still many circumstances in which having strong public speaking abilities may help you grow professionally and open doors.

You may be required to give a speech at a conference, introduce your business to new hires, or give a statement after the acceptance of an award. If you lack public speaking skills then these instances will come as a challenge to you. 

Effective public speaking is crucial in other areas of your life as well. You can be asked to speak at a friend’s wedding, provide a loved one’s eulogy, or motivate volunteers at a volunteer event.

To put it simply, having strong public speaking skills may improve your reputation, increase your confidence, and lead to a plethora of chances. This makes public speaking an essential skill to have and you need to start building it as soon as possible. 

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Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa

Habibat Musa is a content writer with MakeMoney.ng. She writes predominantly on topics related to education, technology and business. She is an English language major.

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