How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

By March 30, 2017 February 3rd, 2024 Tips for Business Communication

Last Updated on February 3, 2024 by Dave Schoenbeck

Almost every small business owner has to give a speech at one time or another. Unfortunately, this is often a nerve-wracking experience that many people dread. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Speaking to a group of people is an exhilarating experience that you can feel honored to have. All you need are simple steps illustrating how to improve your public speaking skills. This will allow you to give a successful speech to further your career and boost your confidence.

A businessman gives a speech to a large audience depicting how to improve your public speaking skills

How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills – Step #1: Address Negative Emotions

Overcoming fear and nervousness is the first step to improving your speaking skills. This can be done in a variety of ways.

For instance, many people find comfort in knowing they were asked to speak because someone believed they were an expert. Therefore, their audience is genuinely interested in what they have to say and wants to see them succeed, making it likely that they will be forgiving. This often gives novice speakers the confidence they need to overcome their fear.

Other tricks include being as prepared as possible and turning negative thoughts into positive ones. Some people even take nervous feelings and turn them into excited energy.

How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills – Step #2: Plan and Prepare

Being well-prepared is the most critical part of improving your speaking skills. A prepared speaker has a solid outline to follow. This should be written out in a format that is easy to reference during your speech.

Frequently, trouble spots in a speech come from cumbersome transitions between your opening remarks, different topics, slide changes, setting up your close, etc. You can work hard on creating fluid and seamless transitional comments, and your audience will know you are an experienced speaker.

Additionally, a prepared speaker has thoroughly researched the topic they will be speaking on. This allows you to feel confident in your speech and your points. It also makes it possible for you to answer any questions.

How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills – Step #3: Practice

While planning and preparing are essential to improving your speaking skills, it’s equally important that you add plenty of practice to your preparation plans. This practice should include finding trouble spots within your speech and tweaking them until they flow nicely.

Practicing slow and concise speech patterns during your sessions would be best. This should include removing filler words such as “um,” “uh,” or “like” from your speech. It should also include finding a slow and steady tempo and becoming comfortable with pauses in your speech to gather your thoughts.

Practicing in front of a mirror or video-recording your practice can also be helpful in pinpointing awkward speech patterns and body language so that they can be addressed.

How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills – Step #4: Smile and Make Eye Contact

Believe it or not, something as simple as making yourself smile now and then throughout your presentation can make all the difference. Smiling releases endorphins, which, in turn, give a person genuinely happy feelings. This “happy vibe” is almost sure to rub off on your audience, encouraging them to feel satisfied along with you and leaving them with positive feelings about your speech.

Eye contact is crucial as it makes people feel you are speaking to them personally. Looking a person in the eye for a sentence or two can affect how they think about your presentation.

By utilizing the tips above, anyone can improve their speaking skills. We recommend you begin your practice immediately because public speaking can be crucial to advancing a career.

If you would like to learn more about improving your public speaking skills with the help of a business coach, you can schedule a complimentary one-hour coaching session with me, Coach Dave. Please fill out the contact form to get us started talking.

Dave Schoenbeck
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