You suffer from stage-fright, and yet you can’t avoid speaking in public. Regardless of whether you need it for your job or just for interpersonal skills, it’s always a good idea to build up your public speaking ability.
Here are 10 tips and tricks that would help improve your oratory skills:
Nothing beats a well-prepared speech. Research your topic carefully, and learn to organize your thoughts logically. Thinksimplenow.com has a great article on how to organize mental clutter. Use this to guide you on your speech preparation.
Just don’t overdo it – keep it short and concise.
Practice makes perfect
The best way to improve at any skill is practice. You can easily gauge and edit your speech once you’ve practiced it in front of a mirror. And, you can also practice voice modulation and your speaking pace.
Take a course
Learn a bit more about public speaking by taking a short course. It beats reading and watching videos because you’ll be dealt with by a professional.
Think of it as going back to high school. Only this time, you don’t need to be grade-conscious.
If you can’t afford a course, then settle with reading and watching videos. They say President Obama’s success lies on his public speaking prowess. Learn a thing or two by visiting Say It Like Obama, where there are great articles that study Obama’s oratorical style.
Use body language
Some people think body language is overrated, but it’s actually very helpful. Moving around the stage and using your hands don’t only add a dramatic effect on your speech. They also help in reducing your nervousness while speaking in public.
Connect with your audience
Great public speakers can hook their audience with the first few lines of their speeches. Learn to know when the crowd is hooked or bored. Tug at their emotional side using empathy.
A quick joke can break the tension between the speaker and the audience. It also makes the atmosphere light and cheery. Just be careful with your jokes, and know when to use them.
Jokes are meant to “wake” the audience and not distract them.
Join a club
One of the best ways to learn is from peers. Join a debate club, or form one with your friends. You can learn from each other by sharing tips and styles. You can also exchange constructive criticisms with one another.
Speaking of constructive criticism, don’t take it personally. Feedback is the best way to improve. Knowing another person’s point of view on your speech can help with your delivery and content.
Confidence is the key to the success of many public speakers. If you speak without confidence, the audience can see and feel it, and it takes away your credibility.
Speak with authority and practice your charm. A good public speaker can win his audience by just standing in front of them, brimming with confidence.
You don’t really have to copy Obama’s modulation, Steve Jobs’ charm, or President Lincoln’s hand gestures to become a great oratorical speaker. All you need is careful preparation and constant practice. Practice at home, at reunions and during parties. Take notes, and be open to what others will tell you. And lastly, be confident, and then you can win the crowd.