How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills
Last updated on June 2nd, 2023
Public speaking is one of the most useful soft skills that a person can possibly possess. Whether you are an employee, student, or business owner, it helps educate, inspire, motivate, and convince others on various occasions.
Developing strong oratory skills improves your confidence level and minimizes shyness, mumbling, and other emotional disorders. If you are living with social anxiety disorder and fear speaking to huge crowds, public speaking will help you cope with this specific dilemma.
This specific article will shed light on different types of public speaking and how to improve public speaking skills with actionable strategies to follow. Before moving forward, you need to have an exact idea of what public speaking is.
What Are Public Speaking Skills?
Public speaking is an act of speaking or presenting in front of a live audience to either educate, persuade, entertain or influence your listeners. The speaker actively engages with his audience and wins their trust through his verbal magic. The speaker relates his experiences with his audience’s needs and demands, resonates with their minds, and effectively delivers his message or idea.
Importance of Public Speaking Skills
Communication is one of the most important factors for achieving your business, educational, and other professional goals. If a person is not highly communicative, his chances of growing in his professional career will not be much brighter. Communication is considered the backbone of our society, where people influence, inform or motivate others through their strong oratory skills and achieve their crucial goals.
Public speaking is a strong communication tool that allows you to interact directly with your audience and deliver your message in an actionable manner. The more interactive you become, the more effective you will emerge in your method of communicating with your listeners.
Public speaking helps in achieving business goals
The importance of public speaking skills gets more highlighted in the business landscape. Whether you are an employee, a boss, or a salesperson, this single skill set will let you achieve your desired targets in a very efficient manner. A good communicator will be a top-notch marketer who can market his business’s products or services in a converting manner to his potential clients. A skilled salesperson with good public speaking skills will pitch his brand’s offer more effectively in front of prospective customers. He will be ready with answers for all possible questions that may get raised over his speech and will handle any type of awkward or tough situation calmly.
A good public speaker is a good boss
Employee burnout, stress, and workplace anxiety are some of the most common factors, known as work-related stress, that can not be ignored in the workplace. Managers must tackle all personal or collective issues of their workers to keep the business tasks and activities running smoothly. A good boss with effective public speaking skills can boost the morale of his employees and motivate them through his words. He can make them realize their true potential and contribution to the company’s success. He becomes an inspiration for his subordinates and persuades them to outperform their capabilities for their own professional and overall business growth.
A good public speaker is a growth-oriented employee
If an employee is a good public speaker, he may deliver his ideas and thoughts about his relevant business responsibilities to his subordinates, managers, and potential clients more effectively. He is a good presenter who can inform his audience about all important aspects and parameters that are involved in workplace activities. An informative public speaker is potentially more suited to growth in his career as he has a strong grip over his subject of interest and reflects his expertise through his persuasive speech.
After conducting comprehensive research, Andrew Zekeri, a famous sociologist, has concluded that oral communication skills play a pivotal role in the success of new graduates entering the business world. Hence, public speaking skills can also make you a worthy employee that any organization will desire to hire for enriching its talent pool.
How to Gain, Train and Improve Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking can assist you in demonstrating your knowledge and expertise in a specific topic and let you persuade your listeners. Being a good public speaker can make you leverage such career opportunities that others may not see ahead.
How to develop public speaking skills? To answer this question, you need to understand one thing. Public speaking can be termed an art, and everyone can master this art by incorporating effective strategies shared by industry specialists and mentors. While you can also read the best books on public speaking, here we present you some actionable tips to improve your public speaking skills today.
How to improve public speaking skills?
To develop public speaking skills, you need to apply a proper learning strategy to master this craft. Here are some tips to improve public speaking skills.
- Studying great public speakers can help you a lot. You can learn exactly how they do it and copy them to improve your skill set.
- Watch your body language and practice break control during speeches.
- You need to practice your voice control as well.
- Follow some talking points during your speech so your presentation can remain synchronized from start to end.
- You need to know your audience well. Public speaking is about understanding the needs, demands, and requirements of different audiences and developing and presenting engaging content accordingly.
- Practice your speaking skills in front of your colleagues, friends, and family from time to time to become the best version of yourself.
- You can also join a public speaking course or class to further polish your skill set.
- Set SMART Goals to be a better presenting and defining actionable goals as a presenter.
How to use SMART Goals methodology to improve your public speaking skills?
SMART Goals can be used to shift individuals from wishing to be better speakers to actively achieving their goals.
- Specific: Narrow down broad goals into specific ones. For example, rather than aiming to “be a better presenter”, individuals should aim for more targeted goals like improving eye contact with the audience, developing content that flows smoothly, or reducing the use of filler words.
- Measurable: The progress towards these goals can be measured by recording presentations and self-assessing, or soliciting feedback from audience members through anonymous surveys or professional presentation coaches.
- Achievable: Every goal set to improve public speaking skills is achievable, given enough practice and preparation. Regardless of natural talents, anyone can improve with consistent work, as public speaking is a skill rather than a talent.
- Relevant: The relevance of improving presentation skills is important, strong communication was the second most in-demand skill in 2023.
- Time-bound: Setting deadlines and progress markers is crucial to ensure accountability and prevent indefinite delay of progress.
Difference Between Presentations Skills and Public Speaking Skills
Public speaking and presentation skills are often confused with being the same thing. However, there is a significant difference between them. Public speaking is usually considered as a way of a generalized version of oral communication skills. A public speaker delivers his message in front of an audience face to face. Some examples of self-introduction speeches can also give you an idea about how public speaking works exactly. It comprises various forms of spoken communication like storytelling, entertaining, or motivating others through a verbal speech.
While on the other hand, presentation skills involve visual and spoken elements. Presentations can also include slides and graphics and be delivered in audiovisual format. So as compared to public speaking, the topic is elaborated verbally and through visuals.
A presenter must know the tools and techniques to combine visual and verbal elements. He must be aware of tools like PowerPoint, Google Slides, Keynote, Canva, etc. These tools are used in designing slides and developing engaging pitch decks.
A public speaker is an act of creatively expressing your ideas and thoughts as per the needs, and requirements of your audience. You may have to deliver an Extempore which is a speech without preparation. So, it can be spontaneous. While on the other hand, a presentation is delivered in a formal way with a predefined structure, facts, and information. It is usually on a specific topic, and the presenter prepares his slides accordingly. You can look at this PowerPoint for public speaking template to get an idea of how to develop and organize slides during a presentation.
In public speaking, the audience size can range from a group comprising a few people in a club to hundreds or thousands of people listening to you from a massive hall. While on the other hand, a presentation is relatively delivered to a defined and limited number of people gathered for a specific purpose.
Is Public Speaking a Soft or Hard Skill?
Hard skills are usually considered tangible, defined, and measurable, like accounting, social media marketing, copywriting, etc. They are based on facts and can be taught in a systematic manner. Soft skills are relatively tangible, and it is hard to quantify them. They usually depend on the type of person who is learning them, his character, and his personality. For instance, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability can be considered soft skills.
Public speaking is a soft skill that requires constant enthusiasm, the ability to interact with any audience, and effective communication craft. It helps you communicate, collaborate, and connect with other people to achieve a specific purpose. You can inform, teach, inspire or even persuade others through this skill, and it lets you become a confident employee, student, business owner, and even a manager.
Types of Public Speaking Skills
To polish the craft of public speaking, you must be aware of all its possible types. Here are a few most popular types of public speaking.
1. Ceremonial speaking
This type of speaking involves speeches that are delivered on specific occasions. Some examples can be graduation speeches, farewell speeches, Office-party speeches, etc. These speeches include three basic elements, which are occasional relevance, emotional touch, and brevity.
The speaker stays focused on the occasion or ceremony in progress and avoids irrelevant details apart from that specific event. He tries to relate his speech with some stories that resonate with listeners. Through a storytelling approach, he tries to maintain a personal touch in his speech. In the end, ceremonial speeches are not that long. They are short, concise, yet effective considering the event in progress.
2. Informative speaking
In informative speeches, a speaker tries to deliver a piece of instructions, information, or data to a group of people sitting in front of him. General speeches delivered in office meetings are good examples of such speeches.
Informative speeches facilitate managers and business leaders in productive conversations during workplace activities. They help you in building an element of credibility while you speak to your audience. To understand this element of developing a relationship with your audience or public, look at this premade public relation PowerPoint template. Informative speeches also help cultivate specific leadership skills in professionals that further boost their career growth.
3. Persuasive speaking
In persuasive speeches, the speaker tries to convince, inspire and motivate others through strong language and appealing emotional factors. Different types of communication elements are incorporated in such speeches, and their implementation further improves the speech’s quality.
You can change how an audience feels about something through your tone in persuasive speeches. Your gestures, posture, and overall body language also significantly impact the listeners’ minds. The speaker crafts his message to engage more listeners and resonate with their areas of interest.
4. Demonstrative speaking
Demonstrative speaking is when the speaker tries to demonstrate a process, product, or service further to clarify a specific topic or idea in a discussion. They are usually delivered to inform listeners on how to do something. Areas like how to fix something or how to make something can also be covered in this specific public speaking type. The speaker can explain the topic in a discussion through the physical or visual demonstration of a process, product, or service.
Public speaking is an art, and anyone can become a master of this specific skill by implementing the strategies mentioned above and tips. Public speakers try to inform, educate, teach, persuade and motivate their listeners through the power of their words. Various types of public speaking are suited to different occasions. However, every kind of public speaking works on the same set of principles that the speaker follows to achieve his business, educational, and other goals and objectives. This soft skill can play a pivotal role in the employee’s career growth and make them outshine their competitors if they master and apply this craft in their everyday workplace activities.
A good public speaker is a growth-oriented businessman, a successful student, and a value-providing worker for a company. The relevance of such soft skills keeps increasing in the modern business world as more competent candidates enter various professional areas. Acquiring a strong communication skill like public speaking can help any professional to achieve his career goals in a more measurable and actionable manner.