Many people from all different walks of life are able to utilise public speaking to create authority and influence, including individuals such as sports coaches, business professionals, educators, and public figures. It is a skill that can definitely be learned and improved upon with great practice, preparation, and time.
Public speaking and change management specialists, The Speakers Gym, provide some useful tips to help you improve your public speaking skills:
Prepare and Practice
The first step to the transformation of your public speaking methods is to prepare and practice. There are many different methods out in the world for you to follow when preparing and practising your speech, such as working on different vocal variations and delivery. Good methods of this can be by performing tongue twisters, creating a rap out of what you're trying to say, or even practising in a different voice. These techniques can help you to transition into a more natural variation of volume and tone.
Another method can be to adapt the length of your speech to be as concise as possible whilst still addressing and accomplishing the ultimate goal of your speech. Remember, the audience is key, and they need to be able to understand the topic you're speaking about and your key points, so it's important that you understand it fully, too.
Understand Your Audience
Understanding your audience is critical to delivering an effective speech. Research your audience to learn about their interests, needs, and expectations. This will help you tailor your speech to their needs and interests.
If you're delivering a session to a group of educators, for example, the focus will need to be on strategies and techniques that academics can find relatable. Another example is with sports coaches - it would be a useful strategy to include sporting references and metaphors as a method to understand your audience, as it allows you to connect with them on a deeper level and engage with them more effectively.
Using Visual Aids
The use of visual aids can enhance your speech as it allows you to relieve the pressure of concentration being central to you. There are many ways to utilise visual aids through your speech, such as:
Presentations are particularly useful when delivering a speech due to its ability to create attractive and professional examples to follow along with your speech.
Interactive whiteboards are great for providing further explanations and examples to your audience as you deliver your speech. They can be used to write down audience suggestions or any answers to your questions if you run a segment that is interactive.
Engage Your Audience
Engaging your audience is key to keeping their attention and conveying your message effectively. Use humour, personal stories, and interactive elements such as polls or questions to get your audience involved.
For example, you may ask your audience to raise their hands if they have experienced a particular challenge, or you may ask for volunteers to participate in a role-playing exercise. By engaging your audience in this way, you can create a more interactive and memorable experience for them.Speak With Confidence
Confidence is essential for effective public speaking. Speak slowly and clearly, and maintain good eye contact with your audience. Use positive body language, such as standing up straight and using hand gestures to emphasise your points.
If you are nervous about public speaking, it can be helpful to practise relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation beforehand. You may also want to visualise yourself delivering a successful speech, which can help boost your confidence and reduce anxiety. The mirror technique also helps with this.
In conclusion, public speaking is a valuable skill that can help you achieve your goals in both your personal and professional life. By preparing yourself adequately for your speech, knowing your audience, using visual aids, engaging your audience, and speaking with confidence, you can become a more effective and engaging public speaker.
Remember that public speaking is a skill that can be developed with practice and persistence, so keep working at it and you will see results.