How To Become A Better Public Speaker

Most people hate to speak in public because they’re afraid they’re going to make a fool of themselves in one way or the other. While I don’t hate speaking in public myself, I certainly think I can become better at it so I went on a training course called “Own The Room”. The aim was to become better at giving presentations, running meetings and speak at conferences so all in all I could become more impactful. The first advice they give you is very simple.

“Get over yourself”

Once you’ve realised that you’re the only one who think you will make a fool of yourself you’re ready to begin improving. Because the truth is that no one gets up in the morning thinking they will ruin your presentation or want you to fail in general. People want you to be a success and learn something from you when you stand up and speak in public. So reverse your thoughts and think about every chance you get to speak in public as a chance to help people, teach them something and make them notice you.

You only become better through practice

During the course, there is a lot of video filming and you get to see yourself “perform” many times. Where you can really see the difference is when they make you do the same thing twice but beef you up with tips and tricks in between. First, I’ll show you how I did reading a quote for the first time not thinking too much about making an impact while doing it (the sound is not the greatest so better turn up the volume a bit).

The second clip you’ll see the same clip but me using various techniques to make an impact. Before watching it let’s take a look at what techniques I’m using.

  • Loud using the full range of your voice to speak loud when there are words you really want to catch the audience with.
  • Whisper which can be just as attention grabbing as loud as it feels like you’re telling the audience a secret. Just be aware that whisper doesn’t necessarily mean subtle or low tone of voice. You want to make sure the audience hears you and you can actually speak quite loud when whispering.
  • Pause using a pause of approximately 3 seconds is also very impactful when you have the audience’s attention. They will be eating out of your hand to hear what you have to say next. Especially if you’re a fast speaker (like myself) this is a good technique to also allow the audience to catch up with what you’re saying.
  • Staccato meaning putting emphasis on each word when you’re trying to make a point will also grab the audience’s attention but make sure you don’t have too long breaks in between each word.

I’ll let you be the judge of how effective you think it is and certainly different cultures will see it differently but personally, I would be much more interested in listening to the second speaker and hear what he has to say next.

Everyone can become better at public speaking

These were not the only techniques they showed us during the course and to be honest, there were quite a few. The important part is to be aware of your own presentation style, figure out what works best for you and then use some of the techniques to improve. Don’t try and use it all at once as you’ll surely fail but use them one by one and build up your presentation skills. Not everyone can become the world champion at presenting but everyone can certainly become better by…

  • …getting over yourself
  • …learning various techniques to improve your speaking
  • …knowing your own style and which techniques work best for you

Now I can’t wait for my next speaker engagement to make a much bigger impact on the audience. How about you? How will you improve your public speaking?