At some point, most business owners end up speaking in public. Of course, public speaking is one of the most common fears, and running a business in no way prepares you for giving a speech to a crowd. But speaking in public is a powerful way to promote brand awareness, build your reputation and authority, network, create new revenue streams, and attain other benefits. Even addressing a gathering of your employees can be intimidating. So if, like many, you’re not too comfortable with it, we thought we’d offer some helpful tips to get better at public speaking.
While some people are naturally more inclined to presenting to a crowd than others, it’s ultimately a skill, which means it can be learned and improved by anyone. As you build this skill, it’ll open up new opportunities for your organization and for your personal brand.
Use these tips to get better at public speaking and then to open up more doors. Just keep working at it, and it will get easier and easier every time.
How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
- Get acquainted with the basic mechanics of effective public speaking.
- Play to your strengths. For example, if you’re naturally funny, use humor; if you’re a compelling story teller, rely on that ability to engage your audience; if you have a knack for explaining complex ideas in a simple way, focus on that. And be honest about your weaknesses. If you just can’t tell a joke, don’t.
- Be a brutal editor, or get one you know to look over your speech. Every word should count. Eliminate fluff and meaningless words and redundancy and rambling.
- Rehearse your material over and over again. The better you know it, the more at ease you’ll be while presenting it.
- Record yourself on video when you practice so you can see and hear yourself and catch any awkward parts.
- Then practice in front of a family member or friend to get feedback about the content and delivery of your presentation.
- Get trustworthy feedback on your outfit to ensure you’re conveying the right image. And remember, wearing quality professional business attire always provides a boost in confidence and helps you project authority.
- Check all your audio, visual, and other digital equipment ahead of time so you’re not worrying about technical difficulties.
- Make sure the temperature is comfortable and that you have some water on hand.
- Collect feedback from the audience afterwards if possible (this is really easy if you have the attendees’ email addresses). Asking a few questions like what they liked best, whether they got what they expected, what they would have liked you to do differently, etc. can be a great learning tool.
- Get some training from professionals, like through a local Toastmasters chapter or a public speaking coach.
- The most important of all the tips to get better at public speaking is simply to do it as often as possible. The more you do it, the more you’ll improve.