5 ways to become a better public speaker

Public speaking is rarely anyone’s favourite task, but here is how to master the art

Starting your own business is an exciting experience, but one that’s not without its challenges. You’ll go through many ‘firsts’ as you begin getting your business off the ground, but one which tends to set nerves on edge like no other is the first time you’re required to discuss your business in a public setting.

Public speaking isn’t the most pleasant experience for many people, particularly those who are shy or reserved by nature. Yet communicating effectively in front of groups is a skill you may need to master if you want people to sit up and take notice of what your business is offering. By getting the art of public speaking right, you’ll also learn one of the most important skills required by any small business owner: confidence.

With that in mind, here are 5 steps to take to become a better public speaker.

Practice makes perfect

The best way to dip your toe in the waters of public speaking is simply to practice. This doesn’t necessarily mean signing up for other public speaking roles, although this is one option if you’re keen to jump in at the deep end. You could sign up to give a talk at a local club or society, or you could do something less daunting which is still going to make you speak up, like joining a drama club, becoming a volunteer guide or running an exercise class. Whatever you go for, this is your chance to get used to the sound of your own voice.

Learn from the best

As well as practising speaking yourself, you should also gain some inspiration from others around you. We learn a huge amount simply by listening and watching others perform the kinds of tasks we are unsure about, so take some time to attend other public speaking events and listen to the masters at work. It doesn’t really matter what subject matters these speeches tackle, as you should be focusing less on the content and more on how the speakers are delivering their words. Jot down any useful phrases, mannerisms or ideas you notice.

Train your voice

Simply using your voice is a good way to get used to the idea of sharing it with large groups of people. Word games, tongue twisters and vocal warm ups are all easy ways to improve the accuracy and clarity of your speech, and you could even hire a vocal coach to gain extra confidence.

Have a dry run

As well as public speaking in general, you should also do a few rehearsals of the speech you plan on delivering. Perform your speech in front of family, friends, trusted colleagues and maybe even a professional speaking coach. Not only will this get you more accustomed to delivering your speech, but you’ll also get constructive feedback on both your content and performance that you can put into practice before the big day.

Keep it simple

Some people say that if you cannot explain your area of expertise to a five year old, you don’t know it well enough. In other words, you should be able to simplify your content to get to the true essence of what you’re trying to say. Always bear your main point in mind and cut down any jargon or waffle which is diverting from it. Follow a simple structure and use plain language in order to get your message across. This will also make the actual task of public speaking seem less frightening as your content will be more natural and less scripted.

 

TEDCO Business Support provide guidance on all aspects of small business success. If you’re looking to start a business or grow your existing enterprise, let us help. Give the TEDCO team a call on 0191 516 61 02 or email us at enquire@tedco.org.