Successful Public Speaking

9 Steps to Successful Public Speaking

It is very certain that at one point during our personal lives or career; we will be required to provide a public speech or presentation to a group of people. Perhaps the audience will be top-level or senior management; maybe the group is a group of peers;  perhaps the group will include just people who wish to learn something from you. This is an opportunity that can hinder or boost your career path.

When that time comes to give that public presentation, will you know how to deliver an effective speech? Will there be sleepy eyes and yawns in the audience? Or will you captivate your audience? While you may wish you had paid attention during that speech coach’s presentation some three months ago. You still have to prepare to hold the interest of an audience for a period of time. Preparation is the key to success in public speaking any professional speech coach will always stress that. Lets now look at the nine steps to successful public speaking

Speech Coach’s Tip 1: Know your Audience

Get to know your most likely target audience before you begin to prepare your material to present. It is very important to speak at the level of understanding of your audience. If you are speaking about computer technology to grade school children, make sure you will be speaking at the level they can understand clearly and find the topic interesting. If you are speaking to computer science graduates about computer technology, a totally different and much more technical speech would be required.

The most sure way to put an audience to sleep is to talk far below their level of knowledge or over their heads. The very best speaking coaches will agree that targeting the level of knowledge of your audience is crucial. Its a good thing if you know exactly what group you will be presenting to and their level of understanding of the topic. If you don’t have access to this information, find out by calling the group or person who invited you to speak.

Speech Coach’s Tip 2: Know Your Subject

Some speech coaches sometimes  say that anybody can speak to a group of people on any subject and captivate them  for a short time. This is true, but only to a certain extent. Obviously, you were invited to present this speech because you are an expert in the field. However, its not all the time that happens. You must know the topic you are presenting to such an extent that you will be able to answer questions from the group. Read, research, talk to experts, search the internet, or whatever is needed to gather the information so that you know your subject well. Put it in mind that, you will need to be able to offer specific facts if you are to make a lasting impression with your speech, so ensure that you take mental notes of real-life examples to include in your speech.

Speech Coach’s Tip 3: The Rule of Three to Successful Public Speaking

In general human beings can focus on three things and remember them well. The recommendation from speech coaches is that a speaker should identify the three main things they want the audience to remember from the presentation they give. Establish what three things you want to highlight to your audience. The other recommendation from speaking coaches is that not more than three examples of each point be made as sub-points. This will be the basis for your outline of the speech. You should also repeat the three main points three times in your presentation: in the closing statements, during the introduction and while covering each point.

Speech Coach’s Tip 4: Prepare Your Material

A number of speech coaches recommend you take your time and work on the material you will be presenting. The three points you identified as your major points or the body of the speech. Do not worry about opening or closing the speech at this point, just get your three points formatted and defined so that you can convey knowledge and excitement about your topics.

Speech Coach’s Tip 5: Compelling Opening Statements

Now that you have your material ready for your speech, professional speaking coaches recommend reviewing it and developing an interesting and compelling opening comments section. Give your audience a reason to listen to you. Make them want to know what you have to tell them. You can include humor in your speech provided you are an individual  who can deliver it intelligently and naturally to the target audience. Though, it is not that necessary. In the body of speech (In the opening), you should include the three points you will be covering.

Speech Coach’s Tip 6: Closing Statements

When closing the speech, close it with a brief review of the three main points included in the speech. These should be to the point, but, remembering the Rule of Threes, will allow you to reaffirm your main points.

Speech Coach’s Tip 7: Read and Re-Read Your Material

After you done working on your speech, make sure to read the material until you know it well. The recommendation from speech coaches is that you do not attempt to memorize the material word-for-word. But that you should get to know the material very well in your head such that you can discuss the topic even if you had to lose the notes! By knowing this material by heart, you are now prepared to give the same knowledge to other people. I once attended a series of lectures where the speaker would enter the room, get his stack of notes, and then recite them word for word.  The speech and notes were not even in his native tongue. You have the full control of being perceived as being informed and prepared though you might not be the most dynamic speaker in the world.

Speech Coach’s Tip 8: Audience Involvement to Successful Public Speaking:

You must involve the audience to hold their attention and this is one thing speech coaches often stress. Depending on your audience, this can be achieved in a number of ways. For a formal audience where you can not put the audience into groups, try asking questions such as what would you do if this occurred?  Another technique is to ask for a show of hands of how many people had the same questions you are answering in your speech or have been in similar situations.

If the group is informal and small, you may be able to engage the audience by asking groups of several people to comment or write a question to be reviewed and collected at the end of the presentation. Any technique you can come up with that will engage the audience and get them to participate is definitely much better than ending with, Are there any questions? According to the best speech coaches, that ending almost never, results in a response from the audience.

Speech Coach’s Tip 9: Present with Confidence to Successful Public Speaking

Take a few minutes to practice deep breathing to calm yourself, when the time comes to make your presentation. You must be animated while speaking, remember that body language is very important. These people came to hear you, not read your work! Rather than reading, talk the speech.  Make eye contact with the audience, moving yours eyes from person to person.

If the room is spacious, walk about the stage and move your hands. Animate your face and your body to remain dynamic and interesting. Show facial expressions of concern where appropriate, smile where necessary. Laugh at yourself, If you make a mistake and have to correct yourself. This one speech is not the end of the world, accept that you are just human. Use clear, short sentences spoken in a clear, calm voice. At the main points you should pause, there is no need to rush.

By following these nine tips to successful public speaking, you will be able to come up with a speech for any audience on any topic on which you have some knowledge. Don’t allow stage fright to hold you back and enjoy the moment. You will shine in the spotlight, when presenting your well-prepared material.

Also check out this article: How to be successful without a college degree

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