Public Speaking is an art that many of us try to master. The feeling of standing in front of a large audience can be daunting, especially when you have your reputation or your career on the line.
However, there are several things which will help you to thrive at public speaking and help you to fully keep your composure.
1. Know your Topic inside-out
Rather than memorising your content word for word and reciting it, fully understanding and focusing on the concepts will help you to deliver a more natural and engaging speech.
Creating a list of points that you want to get across to your audience and speaking about them naturally will not only make you come across as more confident, but also as someone who knows their topic.
Although trying to memorise a prepared block of text can settle nerves and make you feel more confidence, it is very easy to lose your place and potentially start to panic when you get to talking. If you have a good grasp of the topic of your speech, you will be able to explain it in a variety of ways without relying on a pre-made speech.
2. Improve your vocal projection and tonality
Even the best speech in the world will be lacklustre and boring if you deliver it in a monotonic and unenthusiastic fashion. To improve your vocal projection, ensure that you are stood up straight with good posture to allow air to move through your airways freely. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply or even meditate before speaking to relax your muscles and aid this process.
One of the biggest, yet subtle mistakes that people make when struggling to project their voice is not opening their mouth enough. Opening your mouth more (not excessively) will help you to enunciate and project further.
One of the biggest tips I can share to improving your vocal tonality is to record yourself speaking. Most people are reluctant to do this as it can be awkward and uncomfortable listening to their own voice, but once you get through this stage it can be of huge benefit.
3. Focus on your Audience, not yourself
Instead of fretting over what you will gain from giving a good speech and how you can protect your reputation, think about what you’re trying to give to the audience. How are you providing value by speaking to them? What are they looking for when they come to listen to you?
Remember that you are there to give your audience some new information or perspectives. This will help you to better understand what exactly you need to deliver and it will also ease your nerves and take the pressure off of you. Concentrate on helping them instead of helping yourself.
4. Use Body Language to your Advantage
The way you present yourself makes just as much of an impact as what you say. The benefits of good posture do not just include better vocal projection. Standing up straight actually makes you more confident in yourself while also displaying a trustworthy persona.
A welcoming and genuine smile will put yourself and the audience at ease resulting in a much more rewarding atmosphere. The way you use your hands, the way you take up space and the way you use facial expressions are all crucial aspects of delivering an impressive speech.
Taking these tips into account will help you in the journey to becoming a better public speaker. As with any skill, this art requires practise and the more you deliver speeches, the better you’ll become.