Public speaking doesn’t come naturally; it takes skill, flow, and charisma. If you ask any good motivational speaker, they will immediately tell you that they did not start off knowing what to do or how to do it. Like any skill, it takes practice and the willingness to be humble and vulnerable so that your ego does not get the best of you. Because in the end, for you to make it as a professional speaker, you must develop confidence.
Confidence Of A Speaker
You must be confident and use certain skills to capture an audience; whether you’re teaching a group, giving out specific information, or trying to persuade the audience to vote for you or share your views.
“The key to a powerful presentation is when you are able to inspire your audience to take some form of action which takes a great deal of confidence ” says Alex Miller, editor of Motivational Speakers. “Because most events have an agenda, it’s important that when you speak, you are able to support their overall objective by getting the audience to participate in some manner.”
Master Your Material
The biggest part of a speech or presentation starts before you hit the stage. You must know your material, and not just know it, but know it front, back and inside out flawlessly. If you’re presented with a question or problem you want to be able to answer it. Ask yourself challenging questions on the subject. Can you answer them? Can you deliver them?
“When giving a keynote speech, I only focus on points that I have mastered” says Dan Smith from Keynote Speakers. “By being able to talk about what I know, I sound fluent and I don’t have to rely on my flash cards or presentation as much which allows me to spend more time connecting with the audience.”
Research Your Audience
Audience analysis is another skill you must learn if you want to succeed as a speaker. Do some research…what age group? Is it a mixed age group? What’s the atmosphere? If you’re presenting to a younger crowd you might be more loose then you would say if you were in a work environment with your peers and/or superiors. Before you get on stage prepare yourself. Put yourself in a calm state of mind. Don’t picture everyone in their underwear. Do what works for you. Everyone has their own safe place.
Project Your Voice
If you want to deliver a good presentation you have to get the audience’s attention. Speak loudly and clearly, and start off with something entertaining. It could be something simple like a joke, or an interesting piece of information related to the topic. Read your audience, you want to keep their attention. Keep them into it. Be animated, use props, articulate your words, explain things in laments terms when you feel the audience isn’t following your explanations, try to draw them a mental picture.
Show that you are confident, know what you’re talking about, and are comfortable. Try standing up straight and never lowering your head or looking down towards the ground. Keeping good posture can even make you feel better about yourself and help your confidence level. Maintain eye contact with your audience. Try to spend at least 5-10 seconds on each person and work your way around to make everyone feel included in on your speech. Control your pitch and tone. Try to come off like you are having a regular conversation.
Don’t forget to breath! Keeping your inhale and exhaling normal can also help you to stay calm in stressful situations. Be personal and friendly with the audience. The easiest way to do this is to smile. Try to smile from the heart, and not force it. This will ease up not only your tension but also the audiences. You are the focus of attention so if you’re having a good time then your audience will be more likely to have a good time too.
Use visualization to imagine the audience is hanging on your every word. Viewing yourself as a great speaker will raise your confidence and make your presentation better. Remember the audience is listening because what you’re saying they want to hear, or else they wouldn’t be there.
Don’t forget to use your body language as an asset. Hand gestures can go a long way in helping the audience to visualize the points that you’re trying to make.
Closing Your Speech
Closing is key; if you want your information to stick you must close properly. Make sure you covered everything you wanted (you could use some sort of check list if you needed). Talk to your audience. Ask for feedback. You will find that when you teach you also learn. When the audience leaves you want them thinking about what you just showed or taught them. Leave them with a question or story that’s significant to the topic
If you utilize and apply these techniques public speaking will become a strong weapon in your arsenal. We can use these skills in the classroom, in the workplace, and in our everyday life.