Public Speaking Tips For Beginners
Date: June 25, 2016
More people fear public speaking than you would know. In fact, more than death itself. But you can’t allow that self-doubt to hold you back.
The good news is that everyone starts somewhere and as overwhelming as starting a new project can be, developing public speaking skills isn’t impossible.
The qualities of an amazing speaker may be fairly subjective, but there’s no denying that passion and a never-ending drive to improve are key components.
Speak In Public As Much As Possible
It’s a bit of an understatement that to become a speaker you have to speak aloud. But to understand and get over your fear of something, you have to do it until you can override negative feelings with positive ones.
No-one will pay thousands for a speaker who’s starting out, so don’t be disheartened when your applications and emails are ignored. Saying that, don’t let it put a halt on your motivation.
Start small. Contact local authorities, communities and schools in your area to see if your service could be of use to them. Volunteering will gain you experience and build your CV, whilst providing something valuable to others.
Know Why You Want To Become A Speaker
As with any career, it’s easy to forget why you started in the first place, and with speaking being a difficult industry to master and succeed in, many individuals remould themselves to fit in and feel appreciated by their peers.
Ask yourself from the very beginning: “Why do I want to be a speaker?” There may be a mammoth of reasons, and your answer doesn’t matter. All that is relevant is that you stick to your true self.
Once you’ve established your reasons for starting out, it’s then important that you share these very passions with others and don’t lose sight of them. When the pressure is on, it can be difficult to stay in control of situations, but you should always have your eyes on the future and never let the short-term moments break you.
It can be intimidating to enter a field where everyone is mavens and you’re questioning your ability to even get out of your seat without crumbling over.
It may be that others are pros and you’re not. But that’s okay, because everyone starts somewhere. Rather than comparing your abilities to others’, focus on a handful of positive traits which you have.
Maybe you’re really knowledgeable about your subject area, or passionate about helping others, or friendly, or calm… whatever it is, imprint that skill/or skills in your brain and never lose sight of it.
Build on your strengths and never cease to cave under pressure.
Practice Speaking In Front Of Supportive People
Nothing makes you feel better like presenting to people who want to see you succeed. Before plunging into a fearful world where you’re feeling anxious about others judging you, begin speaking in front of friends and family.
Ask for their feedback and rate yourself too. How did it feel? What do you think your strengths and weaknesses were? What would you do better next time?
Once you’ve got all of these answers ready, you can then give it a second try by focusing on what you’ve learnt.
If it’s not possible to speak in front of others, or you’re just not ready, present in front of your worst critic – you! Talking to yourself in the mirror or recording a presentation will give you plenty of practice and a chance to see what others will see and hear.
As cringing as it may be to watch yourself awkwardly stand there, it’s better to do such in your bedroom, than on an open stage with a bunch of strangers scrutinising you.
Try to look for the good and bad in your presentation. Would you be comfortable watching yourself present? And if not, why not? Here are a few things to examine about yourself:
- Was your body language relaxed?
- Did you enable yourself to get lost in the passion and emotion of it?
- Did it sound like you actually cared about what you were saying?
- Was the tone of your voice fitting with the subject of your talk?
- Were you boring or entertaining?
- Do you have annoying habits, like scratching your head often, fidgeting with your feet or mumbling?
- How engaging was your introduction and did you leave people with something to think about at the end?
These are just ways you should be analysing your presentation. Don’t be beat down if it’s not all good, and don’t get too confident just yet if you think it went smoothly; there’s always room for improvement.
Spend Time Watching Other Speakers
In order to become great, you need to know what that means, and to know what it means, you need to watch other speakers in action.
If you live in a rural area or it’s too expensive to be in the audience, do your research on YouTube; there are millions of videos available to novice speakers.
When watching and listening to them, make notes of what you like about them and how entertaining they are. For example, their tone of voice, pauses, language, humour are all things we are unknowingly drawn to.
Although every speaker is unique, it’s perfectly acceptable to replicate their tricks and ideas to help improve your skills.
It’s surprising how much the mind can achieve when it wants something enough. With a great quantity of passion and a desire to learn, there’s nothing you can’t do.
You just have to believe and do. For new speakers, this is just the beginning and it’s an exciting journey ahead. It will be hard work, but by following the tips above, you are off to a successful start.