how to improve your public speaking skills in 10 steps
By Tips for job seekers

Speaking in public is one of the most difficult things to do when you are not used to it. However, public speaking is a mandatory step in personal and professional development.

Let’s discover together in this article some tips that could be very valuable to you.

The preliminary steps to public speaking: working on your mind

First of all, we would like to point out that a large part of the points raised in this article are based on the elements put forward by Dale Carnegie in his excellent book: “How to speak in public”.

Learning to speak in public is part of a personal development process.

Indeed, it is important to understand that no one is born with an exceptional oratory capacity. It can be learned and worked on!

Before you start working on your public speaking skills, you need to work on your mind.

Many of the things we don’t do or don’t dare to do are the result of mental brakes that we set on ourselves.

So here are some tips on how to get rid of them:

1-Be inspired by the best speakers;

2-Visualize yourself giving a great, poignant speech;

3-Set a realistic goal.

These three steps, which may seem trivial, are actually the most important ones for public speaking.

They will allow you to work on many points:

  • As we said, it allows you to blow up your limiting beliefs;
  • By taking inspiration from the best, you will adopt, without even realizing it, the mimics that make them so charismatic;
  • You will also play a character, wear a mask and dissociate yourself from your “self”;
  • Visualization allows you to project a powerful and successful image of yourself. It gives your brain something concrete and it sees the benefits it can get from such work;
  • The realistic goal allows you to move forward step by step.

If you aim for an unrealistic short-term goal, it is likely to scare you.

Tip: You can repeat these three steps throughout your process to condition your brain for success.

Meditation, visualization, taking inspiration from the greats and setting goals are practices that all the greats, from Oprah Winfrey to Michael Jordan, have adopted in their lives.

-Psychological brakes: working on your fear

In reality, the main obstacle to your success, in any field, is fear.

This fear can come from several aspects:

1-Fear of failure;

2-Fear of success;

3-Fear of change;

4-Fear of the other’s gaze;

5-Fear of being laughed at.

6-There are an infinite number of possible fears.

And you know what? Fear will never leave you. It is inherent to the human species in case of unusual situations.

Be aware that even people who are used to public speaking, such as politicians or actors, have stage fright before they go on stage. Fear can be reduced by habit, not eliminated.

The important thing is not to avoid fear, because it is impossible to avoid it. But the important thing is to tame it.

To do this, you must learn to speak in public and face your fears.

Fear is irrational, and to counteract it, you need to be very brave.

Here are some good ways to combat your fear of public speaking:

  • Prepare yourself for a great reward that you can only access if you face your fear.
  • Take small steps. Don’t try to speak in front of a crowd of 1,000 people if speaking in front of 3 people is already difficult for you.
  • Try to prepare your speech and ideas without memorizing it. Knowing what you are going to say will help you avoid a big blank when you speak.
  • Congratulate yourself on each of your failures. They prove that you tried and faced your fears!

10 tips to improve your public speaking skills

Now let’s talk about the real thing.

Here are some tips to improve your public speaking skills.

Tip 1: Talk about something you’ve experienced

Speaking in public about your life experiences, adding anecdotes and emotions is the best way to captivate your audience.

And it’s easy to do because all you have to do is think back to your past!

Never make up a story that you have supposedly experienced. It will show up.

Tip 2: Communicate your emotions

One of the best ways to captivate your audience is to make them experience strong emotions!

Humans are emotional animals and the brain secretes different hormones depending on each emotion felt.

Play on the weakness of humans by adding lots of emotional elements to your stories.

Example: The fear you felt when you saw that lion during your safari in Africa, the joy you experienced when you found that dear friend you had lost, the sadness you felt at the end of the movie Titanic…

Tip 3: Understand that form matters more than substance

Politicians are masters in the art of :

1-saying a lot of words,

2- playing on emotions,

3-without promising anything,

4-and never answering the question itself.

How to take advantage of this for public speaking?

They simply understood that the human brain has a memory capacity of only seven seconds.

So, if their answer is longer than seven seconds, you have already forgotten the question!

You will then focus on the way they speak, the emotions you will feel while listening to them.

Never forget that the form is more important than the content of the speech. So, play on this principle as much as possible!

Tip 4: Don’t hesitate to provide specific and detailed information at the appropriate time

Another good way to captivate your audience is, when necessary, to show that you know a subject inside out.

Don’t go into technical details unless it’s necessary, such as in a debate. Otherwise, you will put the audience to sleep.

This allows you to show your superiority over the subject and immediately gives you a status of dominance. Your words will be heard more.

Tip 5: Be clear, precise, concise and give examples

The worst thing you can do when you speak in public is to constantly switch from one topic to another.

Try to be as clear and specific as possible.

Limit the number of topics you talk about and give real life examples that people can relate to. The simpler and clearer it is, the more people will listen.

You can also:

1-Use character names;

2-Imitate dialogues;

3-Say when and where it happened.

In short, anything that makes your message more human, direct and anything that allows the audience to identify with it.

Tip 6: Be convinced to be convincing

This tip is fundamental. To defend an idea or a message, you must be convinced that what you are saying is important.

Therefore, you must focus on subjects that interest you and that you take to heart. This will be reflected in the way you express yourself, with confidence and determination!

Tip 7: Engage your audience

A good way to get attention is to engage the audience.

Top-down presentations, where one person speaks and explains to others, are probably the least effective form of communication and learning.

Example: Form working groups, ask questions, give compliments, create an interactive game.

Tip 8: Give an easy-to-implement recommendation

A speech without a “call to action” is an empty and hollow speech, which will be quickly forgotten after your speech.

If you want to make a lasting impression, encourage your audience to take an action at the end of your speech.

This action must be easy, not too restrictive and have an immediate impact.

For example: “Go vote on Sunday” or “Eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day”.

Tip 9: Rely on visuals

Pictures speak louder than words. That’s how you could sum up this tip.

Use objects, images, visual elements to support your words.

They will carry all the more weight because they will be easier to remember.

Tip 10: Show how your audience can benefit from your presentation

This last tip is applicable to many other areas (e.g., negotiations or discussions with clients).

If you want to get your audience to agree with you, show concretely what the benefits of listening to you are.

Saying in your introduction: “by following my speech, you will get a promotion in less than two years” is a start that is bound to interest your audience!

This way, you will have an audience that will drink your words!

Tip: Make promises to them. These should be concrete and directly related to their personal life.

In conclusion

Speaking in public is a delicate step for everyone.

It forces you to expose yourself to others and their judgments.

Experience will bring you serenity and a way of doing things that will allow you to face the most difficult situations.

In the meantime, get started by learning how to speak in public, by practicing in front of a few people.

Apply our 10 tips, test yourself and find your style. Gradually build up your skills. And before you know it, you’ll be a great speaker!

Do you have any additional tips for public speaking? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

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