Public speaking ability is a key ingredient to success in any profession. Unfortunately, society doesn’t do enough to train individuals on how to effectively nurture and grow this talent. This leaves many professionals feeling ill-prepared when it comes time to step up to the podium.
That’s why we’ve put together five quick tips to help make you a better public speaker:
1. Know Your Audience
The first step to any successful public speaking engagement is to take a page from the marketing department and understand who your audience is. Think about the types of people that will be in attendance. This will help you determine your word choice for the presentation, the level of specificity you will go into, and how the speech will be organized. Think about their backgrounds. What are some things they may all have in common? It’s important to learn as much about your listeners as you can.
2. Work From An Outline
It’s called public speaking for a reason. One crucial mistake that many people make is to read directly off their slides without adding any additional information. This is considered public reading more than it is speaking, and can lead to the audience paying more attention to what’s being presented behind you than the words coming out of your mouth.
Instead, put together an outline of main topics and points which you will elaborate on in person. You want to captivate your audience, which can only be done if you’re providing value with the words you speak.
3. Tell A Story
Storytelling and public speaking go hand in hand. Consider your outline, and think about a personal experience that relates to some of the points you plan to make. Even a short who, what, when, where, and why can do wonders towards establishing a connection with your audience. Paint a picture for your listeners. Explain the value proposition and how it will benefit those who take your call to action to heart. Recanting a relatable situation creates a bridge of trust with those in attendance, ultimately leading to a more effective presentation.
Related article: Storytelling In Business
4. Use Inclusive Language
Inclusivity can often make or break a public speaking engagement. As our societal norms continue to change over time, it’s critical for speakers to understand and adapt to the vernacular that’s considered appropriate for their listeners. Use language that everyone can understand, and steer clear of industry jargon unless it’s common knowledge to the people you’re presenting to. Avoid gender-specific and all-encompassing words, as well as antiquated naming practices that may alienate people in attendance.
Related article: Making Presentations More Powerful with Inclusive Language
5. Prepare For Questions
Depending on the nature of your presentation, there may be a Q&A portion during or after your speech. Be sure to prepare yourself for questions from the audience, including the occasional curveball. Knowing your subject matter is only half of the equation. The rest of your success will hinge on the manner in which you address these audience queries. Answering questions with confidence and conviction will only add to your credibility when it is all said and done. Conversely, if you seem unsure or nervous, it may negatively affect audience sentiment. Instead of letting it show, try to remain calm. Take your time to understand what they are asking and thoughtfully construct your answers.
Related article: 7 Tips to Handle Negative Questions in a Presentation
Learn More About Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Mastery
Dale Carnegie wrote the book on public speaking, with techniques that turned nervous beginners into confident professionals who communicate with assuredness. Attending our presentation training will have you well on your way to being in control of your next speaking engagement. In our class, we’ll elaborate on the tips we’ve listed above and go into more depth on other skills like using effective body language, vocal cues, and more to create an effective speech.