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How To Be Better At Public Speaking

13 SEPTEMBER / 2023 / 06:28

In today's article, we'll be discussing public speaking - a topic many of you have requested after my videos on being a good speaker and listener. We'll cover what public speaking is and provide valuable tips for preparing for your next speech or presentation. As an important skill in various areas of life, effective public speaking can make a significant difference in how your message is received. Stay tuned until the end. Let's dive in!


What is Public Speaking?


Public speaking involves addressing a group of people in a structured manner. Its purpose could be one of three things: to inform, persuade, or entertain. Informative speeches aim to educate the audience on a particular topic or subject. Persuasive speeches seek to convince the audience to believe in a particular idea or standpoint. Entertaining speeches are given to make the audience laugh, be interested, or enjoy the speech. Public speeches can also incorporate two or all three of these purposes. Understanding the three intentions of public speaking is essential for delivering effective speeches and engaging with your audience.


The History of Public Speaking


Public speaking has a rich history dating back to ancient Egypt, but it truly flourished in ancient Greece, where men were required to give public speeches as part of their civic studies. This tradition spread to ancient Rome, where Cicero became a master orator and rhetoric became an integral part of men's daily lives.


Today, public speaking remains a crucial skill for people in all walks of life, from delivering presentations to giving toasts. The enduring significance of public speaking is evidenced by its inclusion in the liberal arts education of men during the Renaissance and Middle Ages. The ability to speak confidently and persuasively in front of an audience is a timeless art that continues to be valued and celebrated.


Why Do People Fear Public Speaking


Many people experience a fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, which can be attributed to a variety of reasons. They may fear making mistakes, being judged, lacking knowledge on the subject, looking like an imposter, or making pronunciation errors. Glossophobia is a common anxiety disorder, and it can be challenging to overcome without the right mindset and training.


However, with consistent practice and training, anyone can become a better public speaker. It's important to remember that public speaking is a skill that can be acquired, and even politicians who may struggle with public speaking at the beginning of their term can make significant progress over time.


Tips to Be Better At Public Speaking


1. Know Your Listeners


To connect with your audience during a public speech, research their demographics, interests, and cultural backgrounds. By adapting your language and examples to be coherent and accessible, you can engage your listeners. Sharing personal stories or finding common ground helps establish trust and build rapport, ultimately delivering your message more effectively.


2. Know Your Subject Inside and Out


Knowing your subject is more than just having facts and data to support your ideas. It's about feeling passionate about it and truly understanding it inside and out. Passion is contagious, and it's what will make your audience feel engaged and interested in even the most boring topics. To truly know your subject, you need to inspire yourself to learn more about it and prepare your emotions before you prepare the text. So, next time you're giving a presentation or speech, remember that passion is key.


3. Organise Your Speech in a Clear Manner


To deliver a memorable speech, organise your thoughts coherently and start with a catchy introduction. Use a catchphrase or repeat a sentence to emphasise your main idea. Incorporate three or more examples to support your message. End with a conclusion that evokes emotions and leaves your audience thinking. Be confident, test your jokes, and practise your speech.


4. Know Your Body


Effective public speaking requires not only the right words, but also effective body language. Your body language should be coherent with your message and can be used as a visual aid to emphasise important points. Observe politicians and prominent speakers to learn common gestures such as pointing, leaning in and using fists.


Keep your palms visible, use the space on stage and maintain eye contact with different parts of the audience. Remember the acronym SOLAIRE (Smile, Open, Gesture, Lean in, Eye contact, Relax) to help you remember these tips. Practise your speech and be confident in yourself and your message to deliver a successful speech.


5. Find A Role Model


When I was a beginner in public speaking, finding a role model was a game-changer. I stumbled upon Queen Rania while searching for female public speakers and was inspired by her style and mannerisms.


Emulating her helped me develop my own unique style and boosted my confidence while speaking in front of an audience. Even experienced speakers can benefit from having a role model for fresh perspectives and ideas. Find your inspiration and improve your public speaking skills.