Many people claim to fear public speaking more than death. Unfortunately, most people will have to speak in public many times throughout their lives.
Rather than living in fear of your next speech, use these twenty tips to master the art of persuasive speaking.
#1 Watch The Experts
The best way to start learning good speaking methods is by watching good speakers. Ten years ago, this would have been more difficult, but today you can quickly find good example speeches online.
#2 Know Your Material
Before you give you speech, do enough research to have a strong grasp of the subject matter. You do not want to forget an important fact.
#3 Take Notes
Although you do not want to read your entire speech off a script, writing down a brief outline will help you stay focused.
#4 Rehearse In Private
One of the most important keys to giving a strong speech is the practice. Rehearse your speech enough that you can (almost) say it in your sleep.
#5 Rehearse To a Small Audience
After practicing by yourself, give your speech to a small audience. After you finish, ask for feedback on your performance. You can then use this advice to perfect your presentation even more.
#6 Know Your Audience
Your speech should be carefully targeted to your audience. If you have to use terms that are unfamiliar to them, you will need to give the definitions.
#7 Know Your Surroundings
Before you give you speech, visit the place you will be speaking. If possible, you might even try to have a practice run on location.
#8 Dress Properly
Depending on your audience, you may need to dress formally or casually. In addition, dress in layers to prepare for a wide range of temperatures.
Almost everyone feels nervous when speaking. Calm you nerves by pausing before starting you speech and by channeling your nervous energy into enthusiasm.
#10 Start With An Intriguing Question or Fact
Most audiences subconsciously give the speaker 20 seconds to capture their attention. Engage your audience quickly with a engaging question or startling fact.
#11 Realize That Your Audience Is On Your Side
Very rarely do audiences want the speaker to fail. Most of the time, the audience will want you to succeed. After all, who wants to sit through a boring presentation?
#12 Use Gestures
Do not be afraid to use hand motions. As long as you use them naturally, gestures will add to your speech.
#13 Use Visual Aids
In addition to gestures, visual aids, ranging from high-tech Power Point presentations to simple chalkboard diagrams, can help keep visual learners interested.
#14 Do Not Over-Use Visuals
Although visuals are very useful, too much of a good thing can be bad. Use visuals sparingly and tastefully. (Yes, your spectacular slide show transitions will distract and annoy the audience.)
#15 Speak With Conviction
If you want your audience to believe you, you have to first believe yourself. If you do not believe your speech yourself, do not give that presentation in the first place!
#16 Do Not Speak To Your Notes
First-time speakers are often tempted to talk to their notes. Instead, set yourself apart by speaking to surprise… your audience!
#17 Pause In Your Speech
Do not be afraid to add silence to your speech. In fact, this quietness will help keep your audience awake and focused on your topic.
#18 Add Humor To Engage Your Audience
Although too many jokes can ruin your persuasiveness, the occasional humorous anecdote will add levity to your speech and engage your audience.
#19 Don’t Apologize For Nervousness
Some speakers feel a need to apologize to their audience for sounding nervous. Dont do this! Not only does this mistake detract from your persuasiveness, but it will not be useful information for your audience.
#20 Prepare a Good Ending
Rather than mumbling, “Well, I guess that’s it”,
as you slowly back off the platform, plan a strong ending. One ideal ending is a call to action. For instance, in speech about blogging, I might end, Now, go start your blog today!
What tips do you have for strong public speaking?