Best ways to improve your public speaking skills

Are you a shy kind of person? Afraid of speaking in front of a large audience? Does your nerve give up or palms start sweating, just by thinking of public speaking? Find in this article some of the best ways to fight such anxieties and fear of public speaking.

Speaking well in public is an ability that many men and women simply die for. Everyone, sometimes or other, dreams of becoming a great orator. For someone aiming to be a leader, especially a political one, it is one of the most foremost qualities required. But interestingly enough, public speaking is one of the most feared of activities across the world across all ages. Just the thought of standing in front of an audience and delivering a speech is enough to bring most of us to a shiver. Even those at prominent positions fear of speaking in public. Many famous politicians, film actors and other notable personalities too had to work hard to fight off their fear of the stage. Even ace politicians like Winston Churchill of Great Britain used to be fearful about speaking in front of an audience in their initial days as politicians. No matter how fearful it might be, public speaking is an art and just like other art forms, it takes practice to become an ace speaker. Here in the following paragraphs, we will discuss a host of tips that will go a long way in dispelling our fear of public speaking.

Speaking in front of an audience as a public speaker is a lot different than speaking or chatting in an informal group. For most, it won't be a big deal speaking to other people in a gathering. But things take a turn for worse, when the setting is changed and we have to address people from a dais or pedestal. That you are now the speaker and they the audience is certain to put you to discomfort. That the audience is now all ears to you in anticipation and expectation gets on your nerves and in no time your voice starts faltering. That you are at a different level than your audience doesn't help either.

To improve as a public speaker one has to thus get to the same level as the audience. Confidence should ooze out from the words you are speaking. Talk in a manner that the audience understands and remains with you throughout your talk. But for that to happen you have to practice. Practice helps you shed your fears and inhibitions. Few in this world are born as great speakers, for most it takes a lot of practice and application to be a good orator. Let's now see some of the best ways to become an effective public speaker.

  1. Prepare yourself well

    Nothing can be more effective than a well prepared speech. The more you rehearse, the more you are likely to put up an exhilarating performance while delivering your speech. It is usual for us humans to feel intimidated when put up on a pedestal facing an audience for the first few times. That fear can be overcome to a large extent by practicing and preparing well. Soon after putting up a few performances your public speaking skills will improve drastically. It is said that a little bit of nervousness helps, as it brings in the adrenaline rush that helps you to prepare well and deliver an optimum performance. Grab every opportunity for public speaking. The more you speak, the more confident you get.

  2. Have the best of content

    The content of your speech is the base around which your whole speech revolves. It is the foundation for your talk. It has to be as appropriate as possible. There should be a sequence to your thoughts and the words selected should be simple. Avoid difficult sounding words. Have more material with you than you may actually require. Bring a human touch. Add humour and funny anecdotes. It helps connect with your audience. Sprinkle them throughout the speech very judiciously. The audience enjoys it the most when you are laughing at yourself. However, don't overdo them. The focus should be on the main matter.

  3. Focus on how you speak

    Extensive research on communication techniques and public speaking has found that the way you speak, mostly decides how much of an influence your speech is going to have on your audience. Interestingly, the content of the speech ranks very low in comparison to how we speak or how we conduct ourselves. What you speak probably has an impact of only 7%. Even though the content part has the minimal effect on the audience, it is still the essential part of your speech. As mentioned earlier it is the foundation on which the whole performance is based. Voice modulation, pitch, tone, volume, speed and knowing when to pause are some of the important aspects about how you should speak.

  4. How we conduct ourselves counts the most

    Presenting the speech in the best of the manners is the most important aspect for becoming a successful speaker. Your audience will take you seriously, if your appearance, posture, entry, exit and body language are picture perfect. Approach the dais or pedestal gracefully and confidently. Do not be unnecessary worried about how God has created you. Bear a smile and be cheerful. Let your composure, gait and posture speak for you. Once you are settled, begin with your talk very confidently. Do remember that the audience will every moment watch your body language. More than the content, their focus will be on how you conduct yourself on the stage while delivering the talk.

  5. Structure your speech

    It is essential that your speech should follow a certain structure. Every good speaker divides his or her speech into three main parts. The beginning, the main body and the ending of the speech. In general, the beginning and the end should each have 15% of the allotted time. The main body with the bulk of the matter should get 70% of the time. At the very beginning itself try to capture the attention of the audience. Start with a story, shocking facts, quotations, questions to capture immediate attention. In the first few minutes itself the audience should be taken over, otherwise the whole speech will fall flat. Good diction, simple words, clarity of thoughts and proper linkages is what matters in the main body. While concluding, summarize it well and compliment the audience. The ending should be as bright as the beginning.

  6. Know your audience

    It helps if you know your audience beforehand. That way you can prepare your speech according to the pulse of your listeners. When you know what the audience expects from you, it becomes all the more easy to prepare it well. You can then interact with them, address their issues and take on questions. That adds to the charm and the talk becomes immensely interesting. The interactions that you have with your listeners, ensures that they are never bored or short of attention.

  7. Don't read from a ready-made script

    The worst thing that a speaker can do to spoil his or her speech is to read from a prepared script. Reading from a source doesn't allow connecting with your audience at all. It's not lively. Doesn't allow you to engage with the audience and the kind of monotonous presentation will soon rob you of your listeners. It is always best to speak from your heart. An impromptu speech gets more fan following than a ready-made one. At the most you can scribble down a few points on a small piece of paper and refer it as and when required. It's best to maintain eye contact with the audience. If you find it difficult to do so, then begin with one or two persons you know in the audience. As you gain in confidence you will be soon able to get eye contact with one and all.

A few other things that go a long way in becoming an expert speaker

Other than the above very important points, there are a few other things that help you gain expertise in public speaking. Get yourself to rehearse in front of a mirror. Ask a friend or a family member to record your performance and then learn from the recordings. Very often, the difference between an effective speaker and not an effective one is a good night sleep. So sleep well before you perform. And finally, it will do a lot of good to remember that it is with lots of practice and self confidence that you can one day become an effective public speaker. Nervousness, never really goes completely. Even the best of the speakers can't escape from it. But, once you are into the talk, you get with the flow and shed whatever inhibitions might be left.

Article by Dhruv
Dhruv is an electrical engineer by profession. Apart from liking his job, he has a special love for writing and has often dabbled in writing scripts for skits and short plays. As a Content Developer at ISC, Dhruv is having a whale of a time, showcasing his writing skills.

Follow Dhruv or read 95 articles authored by Dhruv

Related Articles

Tips for public speaking

All of us get a stage fear during some point in our lives, we fear of being mocked or ridiculed, despite the matter spoken by us being of excellent quality. This is only due to lack of self confidence. Speaking is a very important part of developing one's self confidence. Every time you speak well in front of others, then that'll help you in gaining confidence. In the article there are some basic guidelines on how to prepare and present your speech.

Best ways to dispose of e-waste safely

Want to know how to properly manage and dispose of old electronic and electrical equipment and products? This article talks about e-waste management, explaining how e-waste is harmful. Know, too, which are the authorized firms in India that dispose of e-waste safely.

Best ways to fight with Loneliness

Are you looking for ways to invest your time when you are feeling all lonely? Read this short article to know about the best methods to overcome loneliness.

Public speaking is an art

There are various arts and one of them is Public speaking art, read this one for different culture within art.

3 best ways to take care of your teeth

Want to know how to maintain good oral hygiene by caring for your teeth?Three of the basic aspects, namely brushing right, eating right and making regular visits to the dentist, are covered in this article.

More articles: Best Ways To Public speaking


Author: K Mohan17 Aug 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

My appreciation to the author for giving good tips on how to overcome the fear factor while making a speech in public and having a discussion in public. It is the fact that many want to share their views and comments in public but they fear for being weak in oratory skills and they may fumble. To remove this fear factor , one must start speaking standing against the mirror with all kinds of gesture and that will bring immense courage and strength to speak in public. Firstly start with some group of friends and relatives to listen to you and make critical comments on your speaking ability. While starting the speech have the text in hand so that you wont forget the contents. But good speakers are those who tell the content without any text speech or backing. If that kind of confidence in built, then talking in stage would be a cake walk experience.

Author: Partha K.17 Aug 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

At the outset, I thank the author for this useful article. The author has provided many useful suggestions for public speaking. After reading this article, I, a person who thinks public speaking is almost as difficult as climbing Mount Everest, feel emboldened to give it a try. I think this is the utility of this article.

Public speaking is an art which cannot be mustered by all. However, I feel that continuous and rigorous practice, simulation techniques and the tips mentioned by the author can help a shy or introvert person to manage during occasional public speaking.

Author: Nomita Mitra20 Aug 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

First of all I would like to thank the author of this article for giving so many useful suggestions for public speaking. The article would definitely help those who are interested to develop their public speaking skills.

Public speaking is a great art. Like all other arts, it can also be developed by constant practice. Many a times, you may be required to make an impromptu speech where you may not even be aware in advance about the topic on which you have to make a speech. Under the circumstances, you should take care of the following:

  • Prepare the topic by compiling all that comes to your mind.

  • Be careful about your body language. Don't lean on; rather stand straight. Look directly at the audience and even try to engage them by asking questions and getting answers from them.

  • Don't falter in case of an interruption. Try to face them confidently.

  • Always be positive. Never allow negativity come in your mind.
Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao24 Aug 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 0

A very well written article. It gives many inputs for those who wanted to give a try speaking in public meetings. Speaking before the well gathered audience is a very difficult task. As explained by the author we should structure our talk in such a way that it flows automatically with a link. While delivering the talk we should not be very serious and we should ass some light matter which goes well with the audience. Initially for one or two minutes we may feel a little anxious, but once we pass that we can go freely One important point we should keep in mind is we should not go out of the subject so that audience will be always with us. While we deliver the lecture we should keep to the level of the audience. Your speech should be understandable to the audience but not a test for your vocabulary.

  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name: