Around 73% of Americans have a fear of public speaking. That’s nearly 238 million people!
Speaking to a large crowd is overwhelming but luckily, there are many techniques to try as a beginner. Perhaps you’ve got a speaking gig approaching and you’re not sure how to engage with the audience.
Sound familiar? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Here are seven tips to help you with public speaking.
1. Be Prepared
One of the best tips for talking to crowds is to learn from other speakers. Absorb their body language, techniques for keeping the audience engaged, and delivery. You should also read the transcripts so you can see how they crafted their speeches.
It’s also wise to hire a communication coach because they can outline your goals and give you constructive feedback on areas where you need to improve. You can work out your strengths and play to those whether it’s your sense of humor or ability to make complex ideas understandable.
You should also practice talking to people so you’re confident telling stories when you’re out with friends or in networking groups. Another way to feel comfortable on stage is to look groomed and wear an outfit you look great in. When you’re wearing a tailored outfit, you’ll feel more confident so you can focus entirely on delivering a fantastic presentation.
And don’t forget to smile so the audience thinks you’re relaxed, confident, and engaged.
2. Think About Your Audience
The key to communicating effectively is to figure out what the audience wants to hear. Find out which type of people attend the event you’re speaking at and learn about their problems, goals, and what they’re afraid of.
Once you clearly understand this, you can tailor the talk to the audience’s interests. Plus, you’ll know which stories they can relate to and the topics to avoid.
Your talk should have a primary and secondary objective so you stay on track. The former is anything from promoting a book to selling a product whereas the latter is what you hope happens after the talk. For instance, a secondary objective could be podcast listeners or social media followers.
Use these as the bones of your speech so you’re constantly referring to them.
3. Plan Your Talk
Work with your communication coach so the start and end of your speech are perfect. An effective beginning pulls the audience in and proves to them that they’ll learn from you. Once you have a solid start, finding the right words will be easier because you’ve already got the audience’s attention.
You should also be mindful of how you end the speech because the audience will remember how they felt leaving. It’s also important to have a succinct ending so you don’t go over time which would annoy the organizers. But don’t run off once your presentation ends. Instead, make an effort to connect with your audience by answering questions or signing autographs (if asked).
4. Start With a Story
Aside from being articulate throughout your talk, you should draw the audience in with a story. Storytelling piques interest while setting the time, place, and mood so viewers are fully immersed in your talk. You should sprinkle stories throughout your talk so that it’s engaging and memorable.
5. Prepare Slides
Whether it’s to display graphs or important quotes, many presentations need slides so it’s easier for spectators to follow along. But you mustn’t overly rely on slides and read off of them because it’ll muffle the sound and bore the viewers. Instead, plan your talk and imagine you’re not using slides so they enhance your presentation instead of eclipsing it.
You should also create cue cards if you’re worried about forgetting a point. They’re great because they let you make eye contact, gesture, and move freely across the stage. But you mustn’t be over-reliant on them, they’re meant to be a reference.
Effective cue cards have the main subject heading per card, white space around an important point, and bullet points for your supporting ideas. As a result, they’re easily scannable so you know what to say with a glance.
6. Give It Your All
If you want to leave a lasting impression on your audience, you must pour everything you have into this presentation. Turn your nervous energy into a passion so you captivate the audience’s attention.
Aim to act larger than life by making jokes or wild gestures to keep everyone fully engaged. The best orators can perfectly balance high and low-energy so use silence to make an impact.
7. Review the Talk
Regardless of how many talks you’ve done, you should always record them. Rewatch your videos and take notes on your body language and whether there are things you could work on. When you’re dedicated to making small adjustments, your public speaking will quickly improve.
You should also ask the organizers or anyone you know in the audience to give you constructive feedback so you can focus on these with your communication coach.
That’s Everything to Know About Public Speaking
Now you know how to elevate your public speaking skills.
Always plan out your talk from beginning to end, hire a communication coach to guide you, and figure out what your audience wants to hear from your talk. Make sure you’re passionate, enthusiastic, and engaging so your presentation is memorable. Good luck!
Hopefully, you found this article helpful. If you’re interested in similar content, check out our posts on everything from Technology to Software.