I love to speak to groups of people. The size of the crowd or the topic does not matter. Becoming a confident and great public speaker doesn’t just happen. It is a skill that requires practice and honing. One of my goals is to become the best communicator I can be so I read a lot on the subject. Not too long ago I came across an article in Entrepreneur written by Ross McCammon of Esquire. He gives some great advice so that even if public speaking is not your thing, you can gain the confidence to step up to the podium.
There are two important things to take note of:
- You are a better speaker than you think. You are your own worst critic and the truth is you are not as bad as your think.
- A little anxiety is good. It means that you care.
When it comes to public speaking, you have to focus and care about the right things, the audience. Audiences are selfish. They are there to hear you speak and they want someone who is in control. The person that is in control can help them specifically. You are they key to getting the message heard.
Here are some other key public speaking tips to becoming a better public speaker:
- Look at the audience. How can you help them? How can you make a difference to them? What do you have that they need?
- Make eye contact. Square up your shoulders to the audience. You are saying, I want to look at these people in front of me and really see them and provide something of value.
- All speeches should be conversations, even though you are the only one talking. The audience must be addressed on a personal level for a conversation to have taken place.
- State the facts about what you have to offer. Put yourself in their shoes. What do you have? What do they need? Where do they overlap?
- The subject can be boring, but the story cannot be boring.
- You are in charge of the story.
- People will not miss what is not there.
- Be cool. Your energy level should be somewhere in between “excited to be here” and “mildly enthused to be here.”
- Success is people having questions. You want people to wonder how your story affects their lives. Questions mean you have been talking with them, and not to them.