Public speaking is one of those skills where practice really does make perfect. The more you learn and the more you practice, the better you become. And there’s no such thing as public speaking perfection. Even the best out there are still learning.
And so in the spirit of learning and continuing to improve over time, today we’re going to share 20 actionable public speaking tips that work like a charm. Let’s go ahead and get started.
1. Vary your tone
Nobody likes to listen to a speaker who constantly talks in a monotone. Find ways to vary your tone so that you can keep people engaged throughout the whole of your talk.
2. Make eye contact
It’s difficult to make eye contact with people when you’re talking in an auditorium, but you should still pick people out in the crowd and try to meet their eye when you can. It shows sincerity and people will notice, even if they’re not the ones you’re making eye contact with.
3. Use the rule of three
The rule of three is a public speaking technique that relies on grouping ideas into groups of three to make them more memorable. A great example of this is Julius Caesar’s famous line, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
4. Tell stories
As human beings, we’re naturally hardwired to respond well to stories. That means that by using stories as part of our presentations, we can take advantage of this piece of psychology to give people something that they’re much more likely to remember.
This one almost goes without saying, but you’d be surprised by how often people forget it. If you want to get good then you need to practice as much as you can, and that’s just as true for public speaking as it is for, say, playing guitar.
6. Know your audience
If you want to give the best possible performance when you’re public speaking, you need to know your audience. Understanding to whom you’re speaking will make it possible for you to tailor your presentations based upon what you know about them.
7. Don’t just read from slides
One of the worst things that public speakers can do is to stand there reading from slides instead of trying to actively engage with the audience. If you’re just going to read from slides then you might as well not show up at all and just send people a print-out.
8. Ask for feedback
You’d be surprised by how many public speakers fail to ask for feedback after their presentations. Feedback is great because it allows you to improve your presentations and your delivery for the future.
9. End with a bang
Ending your presentations with a bang focuses the attention of your audience and means that you can, for example, give people a set of key takeaways that you want them to remember. Even though you’ve already conveyed the information in the body of your talk, consider repeating the key points at the end.
10. Provide actionable tips
This builds on the previous point and is a great way to make sure that people take away what you want them to take away. Actionable tips are tips that tell people exactly what they need to go and do after the presentation is over.
11. Put your personality to good use
As public speakers, we’re making a living on the back of our personalities. Instead of trying to bury your personality, it’s better to put it to good use and let it shine through your presentation so that you come across as more approachable.
12. Have a backup plan
Something can always go wrong, and the difference between a good public speaker and a great one is that the great ones have backup plans so that if something does go wrong, they can still deliver. This may even mean having an alternative talk that you can fall back on.
13. Catch people with hooks
Hooks are the little things that cause people to sit up and pay attention, and they work the same with storytelling and presentations as they do for fishermen. Hooks can be as simple as surprising facts and statistics.
14. Talk from experience
Your personal experience is what makes you different from other public speakers, and so you shouldn’t be afraid to fall back on that experience and use it to tell your story. When you’re not talking from experience, at best you’re just regurgitating other people’s ideas.
15. Focus on key points
It’s tempting to cover a lot of ground during your presentation, but that can also mean that you don’t give any individual topic the time and space as it deserves. Instead, try to pick one or two key points to focus on.
16. Sprinkle in some humor
Humor is a great way to bring people together, and it can also make complicated or dry information easier for people to swallow. The key word here is to sprinkle it in, because there’s nothing more embarrassing than a public speaker who acts as though they think they’re a standup comedian.
17. Use meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are great tools to make sure that you’re protecting your mental health and not burning out. They can also help you deal with stage fright and public speaking anxiety.
18. Project your voice
Projecting your voice will help to make sure that everyone in the audience can hear you, so it’s an important technique to master if you want to be a successful public speaker. The good news is that you can practice at home and you’ll find yourself naturally getting better at it over time.
19. Repeat questions back to people
When taking questions from the audience, be sure to repeat people’s questions before you answer them. This can help if other audience members weren’t able to hear the question, and it also shows that you understood the question and ensures that you don’t go off on a tangent.
20. Stick around to talk to people
After you’ve finished your presentation, be sure to stick around afterwards so that you can network with people and answer any further questions that people might have. It’s a huge opportunity for you, so you’d be crazy to miss out on it.
Now that you’ve seen our top picks for the most actionable public speaking tips that we’ve come across, we want to hear from you. What are some of the tips that you swear by and how have they helped you to become a better public speaker?
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can keep the discussion going. You can also follow us on your favorite social networking sites for more. We’ll see you soon for another article!
This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.