Public speaking. Those two words either instill a rush of adrenaline and excitement or sheer terror in a person. But the reality is, whether you love or hate giving presentations, the odds are, like taxes, they’re inevitable. That’s why we believe at Ethos3 that it’s crucial that everyone learns the tools to improve their public speaking skills and learns how to deliver engaging presentations.
In this blog, we will discuss five strategies to ensure that you’re prepared for whatever speaking engagement comes your way. By following these tips, you can build confidence, connect with your listeners, and become a more effective communicator.
1. Record Yourself Speaking
I know, it’s a bold move to make arguably the most uncomfortable tip as #1. But it’s earned its way to the top of the list for a reason. Easily the most effective way to become a better speaker is to not just listen to a recording of you speaking, but to watch a video of you giving your presentation. Some key things to watch for:
- Body language
- Facial expressions
- Use of hands
- Alignment, does your tone, topic, and body language all fit together
This process allows you to identify areas for improvement, such as reducing filler words, improving posture, or refining your delivery. The odds are, you aren’t aware of what you’re actually doing while you’re on stage. So make sure to record and watch yourself. And don’t worry, that is how you sound and you’re the only one who thinks it sounds funny.
2. Seek Constructive Feedback on Your Presentation
In addition to self-reflection, seeking feedback from trusted individuals is essential to enhancing your public speaking skills. Share your recorded presentations with people you respect. Here’s the hard part, give them permission to share completely honest feedback. The reality is that it’s difficult to accurately judge ourselves. Most likely you’re too hard on yourself, but you might also be blind to some of your more… unique habits… flaws is probably a better term for it. As specific questions around aspects such as your clarity, engagement, and organization. Their input can highlight blind spots and offer fresh perspectives. Constructive criticism enables you to fine-tune your strengths and address any weaknesses. Embrace feedback as a learning opportunity, and use it to refine your delivery and content.
3. Personalize Your Presentation
Creating a personal connection with your audience is crucial for capturing their attention and fostering engagement. Share personal stories or experiences that relate to your topic. By revealing your own vulnerabilities, you humanize yourself and establish rapport. Personal anecdotes also help illustrate key points and make complex concepts relatable. Authenticity and emotional resonance go a long way in captivating an audience, allowing them to connect with you on a deeper level. Remember, your personal touch can make your presentation memorable and inspire listeners.
When thinking through what stories from your life to share, it’s important to remember this piece of advice:
Make sure you’re not always the hero of the story.
Nothing turns off an audience than hearing someone either subtly or outright bragging about how great they are. Be real. Be relatable.
4. Find Enjoyment in the Process
Public speaking should be an enjoyable experience, both for you as the speaker and for your audience. When you genuinely enjoy the process, your enthusiasm shines through, captivating and energizing your listeners. Incorporate humor, share relevant anecdotes, and inject your personality into your delivery. Experiment with different techniques or games to bring joy into the practice sessions of your talk. Additionally, practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, before your presentation to calm your nerves and center yourself. For a full list of strategies on calming your nerves, check out our posts on that subject here.
Embrace the opportunity to share your knowledge and connect with others, and your passion will radiate throughout your presentation.
5. Learn from the Masters
Studying the techniques of successful public speakers can provide valuable insights and inspiration. Watch videos of renowned speakers and observe their delivery, body language, use of visuals, and storytelling techniques. Take note of what makes their presentations compelling and how they engage their audience. Additionally, consider seeking professional coaching from a public speaking expert. A coach can assess your current skills, provide personalized feedback, and help you develop strategies to improve your presentation style. They can guide you in areas such as structuring your content, refining your delivery, and enhancing your overall stage presence. Working with a coach allows for targeted growth and accelerated skill development. If you’re interested in our custom presentation training check that out here.
Public speaking is a skill that can be learned and refined through practice and deliberate effort. By employing these strategies, you can improve your public speaking skills and deliver engaging presentations that will leave a lasting impact on your audience. If you’re interested in working with us on an upcoming presentation, we’d love to help you enlist all of these strategies and even more – so contact us today!