Public speaking is something that many of us fear, and for good reason. A bad presentation can cost you a promotion or even your job. But public speaking doesn’t have to be scary—with some preparation, engagement and practice, anyone can deliver an impressive speech that will impress their audience. Here are 10 public speaking and presentation skills that will help you get over your fears and become more confident with presenting in front of others:
Preparation is key to a successful presentation. Having a plan and knowing your audience will help you make the most of your time on stage.
- Know Your Audience
- Research Your Topic
- Rehearse Your Speech
Practicing your speech in front of a mirror can be helpful because it helps you to see how others might see you as well as what works and doesn’t work in terms of content, body language, and tone of voice. Practice with friends or family members who will give honest feedback (but don’t practice with people who are too harsh or critical). Finally, video yourself so that you can review it later and identify areas where improvement is needed.
When the audience knows you’re speaking directly to them, they’ll be more engaged in what you have to say. When you use an audience name, it shows that you’re paying attention and making eye contact—a great way to start a conversation with someone.
Another way to avoid talking down is by asking questions: “How many people here have cats?” or “Who thinks this will work?” You can also use humor and share personal stories that are relevant or relatable for your audience (if appropriate). Try not to make too many jokes about yourself though! It can come off as self-deprecating and awkward if it’s not done well. Instead of bragging about yourself, try inspiring others by sharing advice from your experience working in the field or something meaningful from your life experiences. The best presenters are able make connections between themselves and their audiences; this is how they form trust.
Pacing is one of the most important public speaking skills. It will help you keep the audience engaged and comfortable, avoid rambling and stuttering, and even make memorization easier for you.
Here’s how to pace yourself:
- Maintain a consistent speed in your speech. This means not speeding up or slowing down as you speak; if anything, try to speak more slowly than usual in order to give yourself time to think about what you want to say next.* Keep an eye on your body language as well as your words. If you’re not sure whether you’re pacing yourself properly, consider whether or not there are any signs that indicate stress (twitching hands or facial expressions) or boredom (head leaning back or away from the mic). If so, take a breath before going on with another sentence.* Don’t forget that pauses are just as important as words when it comes to pacing! Pauses can be used throughout the speech—just don’t let them become too long; otherwise they’ll disrupt its flow instead of helping it along.* Don’t forget punctuation! A comma here or there can help slow down sentences without sounding awkward
Use of the stage
When you have a speech on stage, and the audience can see you, it’s important to use the stage by moving around. You can use the stage to help illustrate what you’re talking about, such as moving from one side of your notes to another as you talk about something that happens in a particular place or time. For example, if you’re talking about how much better it is for your company to send all their customers flowers on Valentine’s Day than just sending flowers to their wives or girlfriends (and maybe getting some appreciation in return), then start by standing at one end of your notes and move down them as though they were rows of seats in a theater.
You also want to make sure not only where you stand but also where your hands go because this will help keep people focused on what matters most: what comes out of your mouth! This means keeping all movements slow and purposeful so that viewers don’t feel distracted by unnecessary hand gestures (like when people do those things with their hands while they’re saying something) or foot shuffling (like when politicians stand there pretending like they care).
When presenting on stage:
- Enunciation is the act of pronouncing words clearly. It’s important for a speaker to enunciate his or her words when speaking in public, because it helps with audience engagement, which can be difficult if the audience doesn’t understand what you’re saying.
- To improve this skill, practice your speech out loud and read it back to yourself before each time you perform it. If there are any words that are hard to pronounce or sound long and drawn-out, then change them into simpler words that flow more easily off your tongue. This will make sure that everyone understands every word you’re saying!
Rhythm and cadence
The rhythm and cadence of your speech are important because they provide structure to your presentation. They also help to keep it interesting, which keeps the audience engaged.
- Use pauses: Pauses in your speech will give you time to collect your thoughts, gather yourself and focus on the next thing you want to say. Pauses can also help an audience member get prepared for what comes next or connect with a certain point that has been made by yourself or another presenter.
- Use inflection: The tone of voice that we use when we speak is called “inflection”, which refers to how our voice varies from one word or phrase through the rest of our sentence or statement. If you want someone who is listening hard enough, then it’s worth practicing this skill until you are able to do it naturally without having any trouble at all! This will give them confidence about what is happening right now instead of just thinking about something else entirely different!
- Vocal variety
- Use different tones, pitches and speeds. A monotone voice is boring; it makes you sound like a robot. Keep your vocal variety natural by speaking at the same volume throughout your presentation, but change the tone of your voice when appropriate to emphasize certain points. For example:
- If you’re telling a funny story, exaggerate your facial expressions in addition to changing your vocal inflection so that people can really see how funny you think it is!
- When talking about something important or serious (like what happens if we don’t stop global warming), use a lower pitch than usual so that people take this message seriously as well
Body language and eye contact
- Eye contact is key.
- Keep your eyes on the audience, and not just when you’re speaking. Even if it’s just for a few seconds, looking at someone who’s asking a question or expressing interest in what you have to say will make them feel acknowledged and appreciated, which can go a long way towards encouraging participation from other members of the audience.
- Don’t look at your notes (or anything else) while speaking. Many speakers are nervous enough as it is without having to worry about whether or not they’re going to trip over their words—and if that happens, all eyes will be on them anyway! If it helps you relax and stay focused, write out some key points on an index card that fits in your pocket so you can use them as prompts if necessary but otherwise keep all attention on what’s happening up there on stage (or wherever else).
Gestures and movement
Gestures and movement are essential to any public speaking presentation. They can help you articulate your message, express emotion, and make a connection with your audience. However, it’s important that you use gestures in the right way so they don’t distract from the main point of your presentation or cause any confusion.
You should consider whether your gestures will be appropriate for the message and tone you want to convey.
For example, if you’re giving a serious talk about climate change and how it is affecting our planet today, then using large arm movements or pointing at people may not be appropriate as this could make you seem overzealous or rude!
Similarly when giving an impassioned speech on why we need more recycling bins around town; it might be better to keep your arms below waist height and therefore show less energy than someone who is giving an informative talk about recycling bins around town because their audience would find them more engaging IF they raise their hands above shoulder level when making points throughout their speech
Humor is a great way to engage your audience and make them feel comfortable. When used appropriately, humor can also help you make your point more memorable. However, when it comes to public speaking and presentations, there are limits on what is acceptable. For example, offensive jokes will ruin any connection that you have with the audience, so keep this in mind when planning your presentation or speech.
Mastering these skills will help you with public speaking.
To master these skills, you must practice. The best way to practice is by getting up in front of a mirror and rehearsing your speech or presentation. You will be able to see how you look while presenting and determine if there are any things that need improvement.
Another great way to improve your public speaking skills is by practicing with friends and family members who also want to improve their public speaking abilities. This is an excellent way for each person to give constructive criticism about another person’s performance.
It’s important to remember that these are just 10 of the many public speaking and presentation skills you can master. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. And who knows what doors will open for you when your audience is impressed by how well-prepared and engaging your speech is?