How to Become a Skillful Public Speaker
Not all people have been in a situation where they have had to speak in front of a live audience. But those who have, know all about the anxiety that comes along with it. This blog post is going to give tips on how to effectively write a speech and speak publicly. The first suggestion I’ll make is to consider taking a Public Speaking course at the college or university level. I myself took a Public Speaking course at the University of South Florida and found that courses such as this one are very helpful towards developing your speaking and writing skills.
When writing a speech, it is important to keep a collected and conversational tone. In the writing process, it is sometimes easy to forget that you are not writing an essay but rather a speech that you will have to recite in front of an audience at some point. To help do so, you might want to imagine how you might express the content you are writing about to a friend or relative such as your mom. Practicing your speech on people you are close to will help you get an idea of what you sound like when speaking and will even give you a chance to improve your writing and speaking by receiving feedback from your audience.
The biggest issue most people have when speaking publicly is dealing with the anxiety before and during their speech. It is important to remember that the audience is rooting for you and want you to succeed as a public speaker. Furthermore, it helps to look over the heads of your audience when speaking to block out the idea of so many people staring at you. This will make it seem like you are effectively communicating with the audience while not making direct eye contact. In a recent post by Toastmaster, we are given ten great tips on how to enhance your public speaking.
Speeches are not that easy to remember word for word when standing in front of a large group of people glaring at you. A good way to avoid stuttering or even forgetting parts of a speech is to create good flash cards. Flash cards help you summarize sections of the speech allowing you to insert key words that will help you recollect information from the speech while speaking in front of an audience. Though this is a great way to remember your speech, it is important to keep your flash cards short and sweet to avoid overusing them by lacking eye contact. If you continuously read off of your flash cards, it will make you look unprepared and uninformed on your topic.
My first experience speaking publicly was during my Public Speaking course last year. My best speech was a persuasive piece on texting and driving, convincing my audience to refrain texting and driving if they do so. This was a great public speaking experience for me because I was really able to relate to the audience by informing them that I was guilty of doing so at one point in time. I went on to inform the audience of methods of avoiding texting and driving while listing the dangers of doing so. You can’t improve your public speaking if you don’t go out and try it first.
Punit Patel is a student studying Finance at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He hopes to one day acquire his MBA after graduating from undergrad at USF and eventually become a Financial Analyst.