In this day and age, Public Speaking is considered an essential skill needed in probably every field of work and education. Let’s look at the basics of Public Speaking and ways to improve public speaking at home.
First things first, what exactly is public speaking? Most people call it the act of delivering a speech or presentation to a live audience. It can happen in a formal or informal setting. The idea behind public speaking is to state information, convey thoughts, persuade, criticize, entertain, or even inspire. Thus, the types of speeches you can make are-
- Informative speeches: These speeches are designed to educate the audience about a particular topic.
- Persuasive speeches: These speeches are designed to convince the audience to adopt a particular viewpoint or take a particular action.
- Entertaining speeches: These speeches are designed to make the audience laugh or smile.
- Special occasion speeches: These speeches are given at events such as weddings, graduations, and awards ceremonies.
Compelling public speaking includes conveying your thoughts as well as connecting with the crowd through non-verbal communication as such gestures, tone, visual aids, etc. A certain kind of expertise is required to put forth your thoughts in a clear, concise, and impactful manner.
Developing strong public speaking skills can boost your confidence, enhance your ability to communicate effectively, and open up opportunities for leadership roles, career advancement, and personal growth.
The 7 Ps of Public Speaking
Research indicates there are 7 P’s that make up the fundamentals behind successful public speaking-
- Purpose: Why are you speaking? Are you informing, persuading, entertaining, or inspiring? Have a clear purpose that guides the content and structure of your speech.
- People: Who is your audience? Know the kind of audience you are going to deal with. This helps you understand the kind of content you can use to make the speech more engaging and interactive. Trying to understand your audience might seem to be a herculean task, but here’s how you master Audience Analysis to make your speech much more impactful.
- Place: Where are you speaking? There are certain speaking techniques you can utilize in certain places. So knowing the place in which you will make the speech will help you adapt your speaking techniques to make it more effective.
- Preparation: What exactly will you be speaking about? Thoroughly research your topic and gather relevant information. Organize your content logically and ensure it aligns with your purpose. Prepare an outline or structure for your presentation. You can make use of flashcards for pointers.
- Planning: How are you going to keep the audience engaged? Consider opening with a compelling hook, using anecdotes, visuals, or interactive elements to maintain interest, and concluding with a strong takeaway or call to action.
- Practice: How are you going to deliver the speech? Practice your speech multiple times to familiarize yourself with the content and timing. Rehearse your delivery to improve your confidence, pacing, and overall presentation style.
- Pursuit of Improvement: How can you improve? Seek feedback after your presentation to identify areas for improvement. Introspect on what went well and what could be enhanced for your next speaking opportunity.
To improve public speaking at home
While some people have public speaking skills as a natural talent, for some it is an acquired skill. So don’t feel dejected you aren’t the best at it right now. As they say, practice makes perfect after all. Here are 8 simple things you can do to improve public speaking at home-
- Make Vlogs
- Record yourself
- Talk to your pet
- Try vocal exercises
- Practice calming your nerves
- Try the Pecha Kucha Style of presentation
- Engage in impromptu speaking
- Join a Virtual Toastmasters Club
Vlog or Video Vlogs or Video Logs is the process of recording yourself either doing day-to-day activities or when reviewing products or doing similar things. The main purpose of these vlogs is to talk to people about the happenings in your life. Now, if we look at it from another perspective, these can be a great platform for you to practice public speaking. Since you are recording, you’ll be able to review your speaking skills, and at the same time, you can develop your articulation skills.
Record yourself/ Practice in front of the Mirror
These are similar to the concept of making vlogs, you can try recording yourself when you are talking or you can practice in front of the mirror. Watching the recording or yourself in the mirror allows you to identify areas where you can improve your tone, pacing, and overall delivery. This can help you become more aware of your speaking habits.
Talk to your pet
Your pets are probably your best friends out there. Practicing your speech in front of your pet has many advantages. They never judge you so you don’t have to think about your perception in their minds. They are always proud of you which directly boosts your confidence, which in turn will help you deliver much better. This is a fun and low-pressure way to practice your public speaking skills. Your pet won’t judge you, so you can relax and focus on delivering your speech clearly and confidently. This can be used concerning a pet or even any inanimate object.
Try vocal exercises
Another offbeat thing you can try when you trying to improve your public speaking skills is engaging in vocal exercises. Practice vocal warm-up exercises, like tongue twisters, pitch variations, and volume control. This helps in strengthening your voice which can enhance your articulation and overall presentation quality.
Practice calming your nerves
One of the biggest setbacks in delivering an impactful speech is nervousness. Start practicing techniques that will help you calm yourself when are having a racing heart. One such technique is Mindful Breathing which involved controlled breathing that will help you gain composure which is necessary for public speaking. To know more about how you can calm your racing heart, click here.
Try the Pecha Kucha Style of presentation
“Pecha Kucha” deriving its name from the Japanese phrase meaning “the sound of conversation” or “chit-chat”, is a form of presentation that involves presenting 20 images for 20 seconds each. With this method of presentation, you will be able to refine your speech and become more concise and focused. This is something you can try to prevent yourself from over-talking or dwelling too much on a particular topic. To know more about this, click here.
Engage in impromptu speaking
This involves randomly picking a topic of speech from simple or complex things around you and trying to deliver a speech on it. You can give yourself a 2 or 5-minute buffer after which, you can start talking about it. This will enhance your ability to think on your feet and organize your thoughts quickly.
Join a Virtual Toastmasters Club
In a Toastmasters club, members come together to participate in meetings where they have the opportunity to give prepared speeches, and impromptu speeches (known as “Table Topics”), and receive constructive feedback from their peers. Try joining online public speaking groups or virtual Toastmasters clubs. These platforms offer opportunities to practice and receive feedback in a supportive and structured environment. If a Toastmasters club is something new to you, learn more here.
Another extremely important thing you can do is to read. A LOT! Reading expands your knowledge base. The wider your knowledge base the faster you can come up with things to talk about. This is especially helpful when you have little to no time to prepare for your speech. To know more, click here.
After your Speech
As you are done with your speech, once the awkward time of ending it and getting off the stage gracefully. Many times we forget about this part and thus the impact you leave on the crowd gets hampered. Hence, learning how to end your speech is vital. Check out the article “What To Do Right After A Speech: A Step-By-Step Guide” to ensure you don’t take the wrong step at the very end.
Here is another reference for you on how to start and end your speech effectively.
To conclude, while you can do a lot of things to improve your public speaking skills at home, there is one essential thing – Patience. As mentioned, public speaking is an acquired skill that requires a lot of time and practice.
Remember to be passionate about whatever topic you are presenting because that alone will do half the work of engaging the crowd. The more enthusiastic you are, the more enthusiastic the crowd will get! Be mindful of your body language, and eye contact and how effectively you can communicate.
To improve how effectively you can communicate, check our personalized coaching services.