6 Tips for Being a Great Public Speaker

Public speaking is one of those things that you either love or hate, there is no in between. Public speaking is also usually something that people say they are either good, or terrible at. But the truth is that those who say they are bad at public speaking simply haven’t learned how to do it comfortably and confidently. Anyone can be a great speaker if they believe in themselves and follow these tips. 

1. Fall in love with what you’re saying

Especially if you aren’t the author of your speech, take time to appreciate the things you say. Spend time with the wording and the language. Notice if you like or dislike how certain words or sentences flow together. If you are simply going off the cuff, at least have an idea of what you plan to say. Then, say it in a way that is unique to you. What about the tone of your voice? How will you convey your message? If you put a piece of yourself into your speech, the more likely you are to connect with it.

2. Have a goal

What are you trying to convey? Are you convincing your audience to do or feel something? Think about why you are doing and what you’re doing. Is this something you feel strongly about? As you speak, keep your goal in mind. Your message will be much clearer and more focused. Your audience will then be more likely to understand and connect with you and your message.

3. Practice, practice, practice

In the shower, while you drive, as you get dressed, while you walk to class, etc. Find moments, no matter how small, where you can run through your speech. It doesn’t even have to be out loud. Any time you can put into simply running it through your mind will help you become more familiar with it in the long run. Then you don’t have to worry about fumbling over your words.

4. Memorize, but keep notes handy

Going along with practicing, although it is not usually everyone’s favorite thing to do, memorizing your speech will help you tremendously. You will feel more comfortable because you are not only familiar with your speech, but you can practically rattle it off without thinking about it.

Don’t stress about it, though. If the thought of memorization causes you more stress than not, simply practice it and keep notes handy in case you trip up on your words.

5. Take a moment to pause before you speak and pause throughout

Consider it a brief, last minute, strategically planned meditation. A pause is incredibly beneficial; it can help you relax, catch your breath, provide sharper focus, etc. You will be a more powerful speaker, too. It will be as if you have total command of the room, with your audience’s undivided attention.

6. Make eye contact, or at least pretend to

Audiences love when speakers appear to engage with them. If the thought of looking someone directly in the eye is terrifying to you, though, don’t fret. Simply look towards the audience, but fix your gaze slightly above everyone’s heads. Your listeners will feel like they are connected with you and you won’t feel traumatized. It’s a win-win!  

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