Nobody is born a great public speaker. In fact, more people than you think dread getting up in front of a crowd. Despite how intimidating it can seem, strong public speaking skills can give you a huge advantage in your career. Use these 7 tips to learn how to get comfortable in front of audiences, speak with confidence, and deliver memorable speeches at work.
Watch Strong Speakers and Consider Their Public Speaking Skills
Is there a coworker whose public speaking skills you admire? What about any speakers from conferences or TED talks? When watching these individuals present, note their body language, movement, pace, tone, and any pauses that they use to capture their audience’s attention. These are all great skills for you to emulate during your next presentation!
Don’t Be Afraid of Being Nervous
Despite how it may appear, everyone gets nervous from time to time – especially when speaking in front of a crowd. Nerves are normal, so don’t let them stop you from speaking confidently! Even the strongest of public speakers feel nervous every once in a while.
Narrow in on Your Audience
Do you have a friendly face in the crowd? Maybe a favorite coworker or stranger who looks eagerly engaged in what you are saying. If so, focus on connecting with one person in particular rather than the entire audience. This one-on-one connection will make your presentation feel less intimidating now that you can imagine you are only speaking to one person.
It goes without saying, but perfecting any skill requires practice. Be sure to rehearse your presentation with trusted colleagues, friends, and family members to ensure you have it down. The more you practice, the more prepared you will feel!
Outline Your Speech – But Don’t Overly Script
The audience can tell when speeches and presentations are overly scripted – they can sound unnatural, stiff, or awkward. Instead, create an outline of all the points you want to cover in your speech. Speaking naturally, rather than reading from a script, will show that you are confident and capable!
Consider Your Body Language
When you are tense, the audience will be able to sense it from your body language. Try to relax, move in ways that seem natural and confident, and make eye contact with audience members. Avoid crossing your arms, fiddling with your notes, or staring at the ground. Instead, use hand gestures to emphasize points and portray confidence.
It’s common to find yourself talking too fast when public speaking – after all, the sooner you finish your presentation, the sooner your public speaking nightmare will be over. However, fast speaking often portrays nervousness rather than confidence. Embrace pauses from time to time and don’t be afraid of a little quiet in the room!
It’s normal to have a fear of public speaking, but with these tips you’ll feel more confident in no time. With more and more presentations under your belt, your nerves will become a thing of the past. For more professional tips, keep following our blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel.