Photo by Richard Clyborne of Music Strive

Having to speak in front of a group of people is something that becomes more and more essential as time goes on. In the beginning, it would be something minor such as introducing yourself to your new classmates or at worst, having to speak in front of an auditorium during a function. But during the later stages of your career, the need to be an effective public speaker becomes more apparent as the occurrence of important meetings and presentations in your career is imminent. It is for this reason that we at StuCred would like to provide you with a guide on how to be the best public speaker that you can. Here are some tips on how to be an effective public speaker:

  1. Prepare And Rehearse: Think about it this way, how are you going to give a good speech if you do not know what you are going to say or how you are going to say it. Prepare your material to the best of your ability and familiarize yourself with it too before you give the speech. Moreover, you need to ensure that your speech adequately covers all the points that you want to make. If you’re still not confident about your speech or your delivery, you can recite your speech to a friend and ask for their opinion.

2. Use A “Grabber”: Have you ever been to a keynote speech or talk that was so boring that you couldn’t manage to keep your eyes open for more than 10 minutes? This happens usually because of the fact that people may tend to focus on the topic at hand to a higher degree and fail to realize that a speech needs to be entertaining too if the speaker wants to connect with the audience. This can usually be circumvented by adding a personal story, experience or anecdote at different intervals in your speech. Make sure that whatever grabber you use is both interesting and mildly related to your speech at the very least.

3. Understand The Audience: To put this very plainly, giving a serious speech at an event for children will not work in your favour. In the same manner, giving a casual and entertaining speech during an important business meeting may not be your best course of action either. Make a note of the audience that you’re interacting with as well as the tone, language and even the body language that are being employed by you for the speech.

4. Practice With A Distraction: When you do give your speech or presentation, distractions can be fairly common in the form of someone’s phone ringing or people discussing something amongst themselves among others. As the speaker, it is your job to ignore these occurrences and to focus on delivering your speech in the best manner possible. It is for this reason that we suggest that you practice rehearsing your speech with a distraction in the background like a TV show or loud music. What you choose to practice with is completely dependent on you.

5. Use Pauses And Breaks Effectively: Using pauses in your speeches will help to accentuate the importance of certain statements. Always remember that the longer you pause after a statement, the more important it will seem to the audience. Moreover, it will also help in eliciting an emotional connection with the audience.

6. Maintain Eye Contact With Audience Members: A big mistake that many beginners make when it comes to public speaking is that they will either look in a random direction to ensure that no eye contact is being made with any particular audience member or they will maintain eye contact with a single audience member for much longer than is needed. Try to make eye contact with as many members of your audience as possible as it conveys the sentiment that you are speaking directly to each audience member.

7. Finish Within The Time-Limit: Always remember that when it comes to speeches, less is more. Long speeches that stretch beyond their allotted time are never completely appreciated by audience members and are also deemed to be quite disrespectful and inconsiderate of the event/meeting, its agenda and the audience members attending the event as well.

8. Ask For Feedback: Feedback can be a mixed bag, especially if the feedback that you receive turns out to be negative or critical in nature. But despite this, you should know that feedback will always aid you regardless of its nature and if you’re truly serious about taking up public speaking, you will need to get used to it. But do not fret, feedback and criticism can be a good thing. It can help you gain some awareness about some of the mistakes that you make when delivering a speech and can even help you improve your public speaking skills on the whole. Take any feedback you get with an attitude of improvement and you’ll become a great public speaker in no time!

Public Speaking can be daunting and even terrifying to some people, but like any other skill, all you need is a practice to excel in it. We hope this article gets you a little bit closer to that goal.

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