If you dread the idea of speaking in public, you are not alone.
A small poll carried out in Canada revealed that public speaking appears in the top five list of the things Canadians fear the most.
Unfortunately, you are unlikely to go through life without being called upon to make a speech in public. As much as you might abhor it, the best way to go about it is to work on it just as you would any other skill.
Here are four tips to help you improve your public speaking skills.
1. Take Lessons
Just as you would take singing lessons to improve your vocals, you can take public speaking lessons to improve your public speaking skills.
Credible public speaking instructors will work with students individually and structure lessons around their strengths and weaknesses.
Different personalities take to public speaking differently, and this aspect should be factored into the instruction method as well.
2. Preparation is Essential
Nothing helps instill confidence when delivering a speech more than being well-prepared.
Do a lot of research into your topic, watch videos, tutorials and take some talk points.
You want to prepare a logical, well-thought-out speech with images, anecdotes, and props beforehand. Once you have this in the bag, practice your address aloud in front of a mirror or a mock audience. Do this as many times as it takes for you to get through the entire speech comfortably.
3. Think About Your Audience
One of the worst scenarios when giving speeches is losing your audience. When this happens, and murmurs fill the room, it’s pretty difficult to win their attention back and get back on track.
When preparing to make a speech, engagement is central to the entire experience. Think about your audience, their needs are and what a great speech should accomplish for them.
Draw a roadmap of this in your introduction to win their attention. Public speaking skills are not just about the oratory part of it. Good public speaking skills are about mastering your audience.
4. Get Comfortable In the Environment
Familiarizing yourself with the environment you will be making the speech in can go a long way in helping calm your nerves. The calmer you are when making the speech, the better you will be at delivering it.
Whenever possible, request to visit the location you will be delivering the speech at beforehand. Note where your audience will be, stand on the podium and even arrange to have a few familiar faces present as you deliver your speech.
Learning a new sill does not come overnight. Besides this, keep in mind that everyone is gifted differently. While some people can make perfect impromptu speeches, some need to put some work into it.
With some time and effort on your part, making stellar speeches might just become second nature.