Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Public Speaking

Do you have a big public speaking engagement coming up soon and are getting a little jittery and nervous? No worries! Public speaking causes most of us to experience some sort of anxiety. Yes, even professional public speakers get sweaty palms on stage! 

Below are five tips to help you become an improved and more confident public speaker.

1. Record yourself delivering a speech

That’s right, get in front of your computer or video camera and record yourself delivering that important speech or presentation you have coming up! A handful of us do not like being on camera, but getting over the fear of seeing yourself in the present and hearing yourself speak will give you an extra boost of confidence in your public speaking ability. In addition, this will allow you the opportunity to pay close attention to the details regarding speech delivery, body language and hand gestures, and the pace and clarity of your speech.

2. Get another person to provide you feedback

Grab a close friend or family member to listen to your speech and pay attention to your presentation. Make sure that before you begin, you create or print out an assessment rubric for them to use to help guide them in evaluating your public speaking. The rubric should include categories such as delivery and clarity, content and visual aids, body language, and overall performance. More importantly, you, as the presenter, should educate your evaluator on your expectations in terms of what you hope to get out of the session. For example, have the evaluator pay more attention to the visual aids portion of your presentation if you are confident with your public speaking delivery.

3. Do a brave activity that will put you outside of your comfort zone

While public speaking opportunities get a handful of folks’ energy running, there remains a handful of others that would rather run away from public speaking engagements. If you have a fear of public speaking, doing one or two things that you consider to be brave may help boost your confidence a week or a few days before a big presentation. This brave activity must have two results: 

a) you overcome an obstacle or accomplish a task and 
b) you relieve feelings of stress or anxiety. 

Why these two results? Because these are the same two results one experiences after finishing a speech or presentation! Brave activities may include picking up an old hobby and going hardcore (e.g. basketball, boxing, video gaming) for one or two hours or simply running a reachable but challenging distance.

4. Recite a speech by one of your role models

What’s a better way to practice public speaking than performing a speech given by one of your very own role models? Watch and listen to one of their speeches and pay attention to the many aspects of their speaking ability, including delivery, clarity, and body language. After you finished examining your role model speak, find and grab a transcript of the speech and emulate his/her performance. If you really want a challenge, try incorporating your own elements while attempting to deliver the speech in your role model’s style. This activity should help you notice speaking styles and emphasize tone and delivery, and hopefully inspire and motivate you for your next big speaking engagement!

5. Pay attention to your hand gestures and body language

Incorporating body language creates an exciting and theatrical element into your speaking. This helps amplify your performance by making you, as the speaker, more visually appealing and active to the audience. Some tips include taking notice of and using the space provided by your speaking platform (e.g. move around on the stage) and do not let both of your hands rest by your side at the hips at any given time for more than 5 seconds. Some speakers even find it more energizing and motivating to walk throughout the stage and increase their heart rate, while periodically and purposefully engaging different sections of the audience.

Thank you to Mr. Larry Thi for submitting these tips! You can meet Larry and practice your public speaking at SpiderSmart of Tysons Corner's Public Speaking Workshop on July 16!

All ages are welcome, but space is limited! Register online here: https://tysonscornerpublicspeakingworkshop.eventbrite.com

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