Public speaking is one of a business person’s most important skills. It’s how you make your pitch, sell your product or service, and build relationships with clients and customers. But for many people, public speaking is also one of the scariest things they can imagine doing.
To be a successful business person, you need to be an excellent public speaker. Here are some tips to help you improve your public speaking skills.
- Start by understanding your audience.
Many people think the key to being an excellent public speaker is having something interesting to say. But while having great content is essential, you should constantly tailor it to the listeners. The first step to a great speech is understanding who you’re speaking to. You need to know their needs, what they want to hear, and how you can best reach them.
When preparing for any public speaking task, you must take the time to learn about your audience. Only then can you give people the information they desire. Consider their demographic, such as their age, gender, location, and so on. Also, find out what you can about their interests and needs.
- Make sure you’re well-prepared.
The key to every great public speaking performance is preparation. You can’t just wing it and hope for the best. Know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Write out your speech or create an outline of the main points you want to hit. And then practice, practice, practice.
The more prepared you are, the better you’ll do. Some professionals also undergo corporate presentation training to brush up on their skills. This can be an excellent investment, especially if you have to give speeches, talks, and presentations regularly. By being more prepared, you’ll appear more confident and in control, further engaging your audience.
- Use storytelling to connect with your audience.
People love stories. They’re easy to follow and help people connect with the speaker on a more personal level. When you can tell a story that’s relevant to your topic, do it. Stories are a great way to engage your audience and make your point.
But many people freeze up when trying to tell a story. If this is you, don’t worry. Just start with a simple structure:
- The setup: Briefly introduce the characters and the situation.
- The conflict: What problem do the characters face?
- The resolution: How do the characters solve the problem?
Once you have this basic structure down, you can add more details and embellishments. The important thing is to get started and practice telling stories. Get to the point where you’re comfortable, and then experiment.
- Make eye contact and use body language.
When speaking, it’s essential to make eye contact with your audience. This will help you connect with them and keep their attention. But don’t just stare at one person the entire time. Instead, look around the room and make eye contact with as many people as possible.
Your body language is also essential. Avoid crossing your arms or fidgeting. Stand up straight and use your hands to gesture. This will make you appear more confident and in control. Knowing your body language will also help you project your voice better.
Another important aspect of nonverbal communication is your facial expressions. Smile often and make sure your face is expressive. This will help engage your audience and make them more likely to pay attention to what you’re saying.
- Use humor judiciously.
Humor is a great way to engage your audience and break the ice. But it’s essential to use it judiciously. You don’t want to crack jokes the entire time, or else people will tune you out. Instead, use humor sparingly to make your points more effective.
And when you do use humor, make sure it’s appropriate for the situation and your audience. Avoid offensive material or anything that could be seen as controversial. Stick to clean, safe jokes that everyone can enjoy. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to humor.
- Be aware of your vocal delivery.
Your vocal delivery is just as important as the words you’re saying. If you speak in a monotone voice, people will tune you out. Instead, vary your pitch and volume to keep people’s attention.
You should also pay attention to your rate of speech. Speaking too quickly will make it difficult for people to understand you. On the other hand, speaking too slowly will make you sound bored or uninterested. Find a happy medium and practice speaking at that rate.
Some people are naturally better at public speaking than others. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve. By following these tips, you can become a better public speaker and improve your chances for business success. If you put in the effort, you’ll be surprised at how much your skills will improve.