Whether you need to give a presentation at work to executives, deliver a eulogy at a funeral or you one day want to perform a TED Talk, there are many situations where it helps to be a great public speaker. However, few people are naturally gifted public speakers and, as such, this is a skill you must hone if you want to excel in both work and personal situations.
While many people fear public speaking, mastering it can help you transform your career and improve your future potential. Here are seven easy ways to improve your public speaking skills.
Take an online public speaking class
The first and perhaps easiest way to boost your public speaking skills is to take an online class where you can learn all the fundamentals. Almost all major online course providers offer popular paid classes on public speaking, including a Coursera class from the University of Washington, an edX class from Harvard University, a Udemy class on improving presentations and public speaking and a Skillshare class on 5-minute speeches. Taking one of these classes can force you to engage in a more formal way with public speaking, but it also will cost you more than simply refining your skills on your own.
Practice, practice and more practice
Outside of taking a class, the most important thing that can help you take your public speaking skills to a new level is to practice frequently. If you know you need to give a presentation to a large group in a few weeks, for example, use that time to prepare and test your speech on yourself and others. Try out different versions of the same speech and gather feedback. You can also record yourself on your phone or computer and then make adjustments as you notice anything that looks or sounds incorrect.
Make every word count
If you know how long your speech should ideally be, record it to see exactly how long or short you run on average. Take into account that the average English speaker in the U.S. talks at a rate between 110 and 150 words per minute, and then use this metric to help plan out your speech. For example, if you know your speech should run five minutes, then you only have 750 words to work with, assuming 150 words per minute over 5 minutes. Know that 750 words is the length of a short online blog post and use this to help you think about structure and how you will include the most important or compelling information.