Public speaking remains one of the single biggest fears that people have, and even seasoned public speakers are always on the lookout for new tips, tricks and ideas on how to improve their public speaking skills. Whatever it's something you've always been terrified of, or you're looking to prepare yourself for a specific upcoming event, you can use the following public speaking tips to begin making progress in the right direction.
- Always Practice: Practicing really does make a huge difference. You want to rehearse out loud, and practice not only the message, but your voice projection, timing, and breathing. This will also help you with your overall comfort level. When you really know the material, you'll have a much easier time with the speech or presentation.
- Visualize: Do some visualization, picturing yourself making your speech, and doing a fantastic job, speaking loudly, confidently and clearly, and being received well. Visualization techniques have been proven to improve confidence as well as performance.
- Be Positive: People are not rooting for you to fail, so do not start going down that road mentally. Be positive in terms of what you're thinking, and how you think you're doing. Additionally, do not call attention to “negatives”, such as forgetting what you're saying or being nervous. Just keep moving ahead and regain your line of thought.
- Focus on the Message: Do not think about how many people are listening to you, who they are, or why you're up there. Instead, just think about what you're saying. Focus on the message, and let the rest disappear. Again, as mentioned above, the more familiar with your material and the more well-practiced you are, the easier this will be.
- Watch Videos: Watch videos of presentations made by others who you think did a great job. What made them so effective? Was it their level of eye contact or audience engagement, the tone of their voice, their confidence, hand gestures, or anything else? Watch and learn from others, and take note of what you want to do for yourself. You'll gain some inspiration and some tricks which you can instantly begin incorporating. Additionally, try recording yourself in a practice session, and then watching the footage. You'll see what you may want to improve on, and you may also be aware that you were much better than you thought.
While many people can successfully improve public speaking skills all on their own, for many others, a speech and language pathologist can provide a superior, long-lasting solution by addressing any potential root problems or conditions, and overall confidence, clarity and comfort.
Whether it's a speech at a wedding, a problem with work, or an overall desire to simply improve your quality of life and ability to face any public speaking scenario you may come across, it may be time to consult with a speech therapist and learn more about how he or she will be able to help.