5 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking | See Girl Work

5 Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking

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Even if you don’t consider yourself a public speaker, knowing how to articulate your ideas effectively is crucial in nearly every job. Use these five tips to improve your public speaking.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a public speaker, knowing how to articulate your ideas in a group setting and communicate effectively is crucial in nearly every job.

The good news is that you’re probably already practicing. Have you ever given a presentation at a meeting? Led a college tour or group discussion? Taught a class? Yep, that all counts.

Here are five tips to help you improve your public speaking:

1. Embrace Your Quirks

Don’t watch hours of YouTube videos to pick up someone else’s mannerisms or gestures. Instead, start speaking aloud in front of an audience (or even a mirror).

Think of each of your speaking experiences as opportunities to introduce your most authentic self.

You will never be Oprah or Tony Robbins—they’ve got that covered—but with practice, you can get really good at channeling the ultimate version of yourself.

2. Spend Time with Your Audience

Many public speakers simply show up when it’s their turn to take the stage. Whenever your schedule allows for it, though, make a point to get to your gig early; it can pay to spend some time studying and getting to know your audience before you start formally speaking to them.

Take note of the setting and context. Is it formal? What’s the mood in the room? How are people engaging with other speakers? Your observations and insights can help inform your own presentation.

3. Be Gracious

This is especially true when speaking to smaller audiences. While you’re the featured speaker, someone in the audience may feel the need to chime in.

Especially if your presentation is conversational and interactive, people may not even wait for questions at the end. Always thank people for their participation.

Don’t let anything—even a slightly off topic or rude comment—ruffle you. Smile, carry on with your talk and make the audience wonder how you fielded that obnoxious interaction without so much as breaking a sweat.

4. Be Open to Shaking Things Up

Learning to engage with and command authority over an audience takes practice. Remember, you’re in charge, so if you see people starting to doze off or fidget with their phones, you’re allowed to try something new.

Have people stand up and stretch. Start asking them questions. Prompt them to start small group discussions.

5. Take an Improv Class

You can never count on a presentation going exactly as you planned—no matter how many times you rehearsed. Maybe your slides won’t load or the venue will be experiencing AV issues. Maybe the fire alarm goes off. Anything could be thrown your way once you’re on stage, so knowing how to improvise is essential.

Google your local community centre or a theatre group in your city to see if they have an improv class you can sign up for.

It’ll help you practice keeping your cool under pressure and shifting gears mid-presentation. I’ve found these classes to be really valuable (and a lot of fun, too).

 

This piece was written by The Well and originally appeared on Her Agenda.
Her Agenda

Her Agenda

Her Agenda is an award-winning digital media platform bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. Named a top website for millennial women by Forbes.com our content attracts ambitious women and we give them the tools to become accomplished women. We curate, and host events, workshops, panels and conferences. We publish articles that feature actionable career advice in addition to exclusive interviews with powerful, successful women who offer honest advice from their career journey to our readers. For more visit, www.HerAgenda.com.

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