CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – JULY 13, 2021 (PT.2)
Better Public Speaking
Becoming a Confident, Compelling Speaker
Strategies for Becoming a Better Speaker
The good news is that speaking in public is a learnable skill. As such, you can use the following strategies to become a better speaker and presenter.
First, make sure that you plan your communication appropriately. Use tools like the Rhetorical Triangle , Monroe’s Motivated Sequence , and the 7Cs of Communication to think about how you’ll structure what you’re going to say.
When you do this, think about how important a book’s first paragraph is; if it doesn’t grab you, you’re likely going to put it down. The same principle goes for your speech: from the beginning, you need to intrigue your audience.
For example, you could start with an interesting statistic, headline, or fact that pertains to what you’re talking about and resonates with your audience. You can also use story telling as a powerful opener; our Expert Interviews with Annette Simmons and Paul Smith offer some useful tips on doing this.
Planning also helps you to think on your feet . This is especially important for unpredictable question and answer sessions or last-minute communications.
Remember that not all occasions when you need to speak in public will be scheduled. You can make good impromptu speeches by having ideas and mini-speeches pre-prepared. It also helps to have a good, thorough understanding of what’s going on in your organization and industry.
There’s a good reason that we say, “Practice makes perfect!” You simply cannot be a confident, compelling speaker without practice.
To get practice, seek opportunities to speak in front of others. For example, Toastmasters is a club geared specifically towards aspiring speakers, and you can get plenty of practice at Toastmasters sessions. You could also put yourself in situations that require public speaking, such as by cross-training a group from another department, or by volunteering to speak at team meetings.
If you’re going to be delivering a presentation or prepared speech, create it as early as possible. The earlier you put it together, the more time you’ll have to practice.
Practice it plenty of times alone, using the resources you’ll rely on at the event, and, as you practice, tweak your words until they flow smoothly and easily.
Then, if appropriate, do a dummy run in front of a small audience: this will help you calm your jitters and make you feel more comfortable with the material. Your audience can also give you useful feedback , both on your material and on your performance.