Five quick tips on public speaking
As a voice coach and life coach I meet many people who’d like to feel more confident speaking in public. It is surprising how many people hold themselves back from opportunities for fear of having to stand up and speak. Even amongst those of us that might be able to get up there, many feel uncomfortable and as though they aren’t doing themselves justice. If this sounds like you, see below for five quick tips on improving your public speaking;
- Be clear in your head about what you are going to be saying and what you want your audience to understand. If you aren’t clear in your own mind, once the nerves hit, things can sound confused, muddled and you could lose track of what you are saying.
- Speak out! Feeling embarrassed can sometimes make people ‘swallow’ their words, so as not to draw too much attention to themselves. All that happens in reality is that a muffled speaker is too hard for the audience to understand, they stop listening and the speaker feels worse than they did before.
- Use bullet points, not an essay. Whether using notes, or committing your speech to memory, using bullet points will break your speech down into easy to handle sections. Link each section to create a flow. This gives a shape to your speech and enables you to remember where you are rather than starting to waffle.
- Rehearse out loud when running through what you have to say. Speaking out loud can be very different to words on paper. You will notice and be able to change any sentences that might be difficult to say. It also makes things far easier to remember and will help to put you at ease, rather than placing too much pressure on, when you finally stand up to talk.
- Breathe and pause. You need to breathe so that you can think and you need to think so that you can speak. If your mind has ever gone blank, it is probably because you stopped breathing. You need to pause to give your audience a chance to take the information in. Constant sound makes people switch off as it is too much effort to listen to. Play around with pauses in everyday conversation, so long as you hold your intention, you will be amazed by how long you can get away with.
For anyone who has to stand up and speak, these five tips will make life just that little bit easier!