How To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills: 38 [Practical] Ways

Want to know how to improve public speaking skills? Then you’re in the right place.
We all have troubles when we need to speak out. There could be a little doubt about doing so, sometimes we just do not want to hear a response or see the reaction after our words. Words mean a lot, but they should never come out too late.

Remember when you saw that person and thought they were cute, or you’re high school crush you never had courage to talk to, that could have been a love of your life, but you never said anything because you got scared. Someday your best friend is going to get married and you’re going to have to give a speech, and you have absolutely no idea how to do that.

If you’re one of those people who go to a party and end up listening to everyone, and I mean EVERYONE. You just awkwardly stand there, nod and maybe say a few yes or no’s, while you learn life story of the persons next to you. Or maybe you need help with the speech you need to give in front of people, a lot of people may I say. If you think you deserve more, maybe a bigger paycheck, but you just can’t tell that to your boss.

How To Improve Public Speaking Skills:

 1. Prepare

If you don’t know how to say something, prepare. Really think about what do you want to say, and the way you want to say it. You also need to think about how the other person/people will react and what your response to them could be. Great speakers often say that they need only 10 minutes to prepare a two hour speech, but 2 hours to prepare a 10 minutes speech

2. Practice

Practice in front of the mirror, or someone close to you. Always try to imagine the person/people you’re talking to. It’s better if you ask someone to listen to you and tell you their opinion.

3. Think about the best and the worst scenario

Try to imagine the best and the worst case scenario of what could happen. They say we are our on worst critics, so it will probably go better then where your imagination leads you to.

4. Think about what you are aiming for

Think about what you want to say and what kind of audience you have. Think about your goal, and what reaction you want. Try to imagine yourself as a listener and see if you are going in a good direction with what you’re trying to say.

5. Opening word and final word

Opening and final word of your speech are the most important. Commit to them a little bit more. Try to make a funny introduction that will immediately catch the attention of the audience. Remember that the good speech should be like a mini-skirt. Short enough to be interesting, but still long enough to cover the important parts.

6. The body language

The body language is what people use to catch and keep the attention of the listener. Teachers are told to use body language to keep students attention longer. But that doesn’t mean you should marc and run around the room, like a fly without a head. Essentially what you should do is follow the dynamics of the speech.

7. Notes

You can always make some kind of notes. It’s better if you talk and not read the whole speech out of the cards, but if you are nervous and cant remember them its okay. You can make little reminders in dashes or something in case you forget something and that will also make you feel a little bit better if you are nervous, because you won’t forget anything.

8. Quote

Use quotes. They will give a little more power to your speech, and they can even make you creative when you are writing or planning the speech. Quotes can’t turn out bad, or ruin the speech and even if someone doesn’t like it, you can always say that you didn’t write that.

9. Humor

Funny stories and jokes are the perfect way to grab the attention of your audience. If it’s a personal event you’re speaking at you can use old embarrassing stories. Just make sure that jokes and stories are always appropriate for the occasion.

10. Eye contact

In the course of a speech let your eyes wander over the faces of your audience from left to right, so that the audience gets the impression that you address them all. It’s always better if you look at the persons eyes when they or you are talking. First of all they will listen more carefully if you’re looking at them, and we all like when person we are talking to is looking in our eyes, because it makes us feel special and it gives an impression that you are interested in what’s talked about, even if you are not.

11. Smile

It’s important to smile, it gives impression that you are not nervous and that you’re comfortable. We all like people who smile more, and laughter is contagious so if you smile, and laugh your audience will probably too. Also to smile you need less muscles than when you’re frowning so if you are frowning you’re working to hard, and it gives you wrinkles, so if your not feeling like smiling remember it keeps you and makes you pretty if nothing else.

12. Don’t be late

Make sure to come on time; do not be late, because it is an insult. By coming on time you’re showing respect to your listeners, or anyone really. It’s good if you came a little bit sooner, you can prepare and calm down if you need to.

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13. Breathing

Very useful exercise to overcome the fear of public speaking is the practice of so-called abdominal breathing. You should take slow and deep breaths which helps you relax and it affects your body and your mind is less tense and more willing to work without excessive tension and it’s easier for your brain to focus on the task.

14. Power of voice

Use the power of your voice. No screaming and yelling, of course. However, the modulation must exist, raise your voice a little bit so you sound confident, emphasize what you believe is necessary. You need to keep some kind of a rhythm through the whole speech.

15. Frowing

Don’t frown while you’re speaking. It will make you look nervous and unsure. The audience will notice and think you are bored and uninterested in talking to them, and they will stop listening.

16. Find your “thing”

Find that thing that makes you feel better. Someone has a song, or a good book, a place; someone has an activity that relaxes them or even a person that makes you feel better. You always need that something that can cheer you up, and make the jitters go away.

17. Pay attention to the signals

You need to make sure your audience is comfortable and interested in what you’re talking about. If they are not interested two minutes of you talking will be too much. If you see them getting bored you need to do something to bring the atmosphere up. You can include them in the talking, ask them questions or make them be apart of it somehow.

18. Prepare for questions

You need to think about the questions people may ask. Prepare some answers but also be prepared for unexpected questions. If there is a question you are not prepared for, give yourself a minute to think. Don’t rush you might say something wrong. To get some time, ask the person to repeat the question, but make sure it doesn’t look like you weren’t paying attention. Make sure your pause isn’t too long.

19. Break the illusion

Break the illusion that all people watch and judge you. Often, when we find ourselves before a group of people, we think that everyone is interested in what we say, think wear or do. On the contrary, people are mainly focused on themselves and worried about what others think of them, so they have very little time left to analyze and criticize others. How do you react when you are in the audience; you’re listening to every single word and analyze every speakers move?

Remember that professional speakers use a range of techniques to attract the attention of listeners because people are mostly occupied with other things, and not the speaker.

20. Monologue

Exposure to the audience shouldn’t be a monologue. Simply talk to the people in front of you using the skills you use in everyday interaction with people around you. This technique is often used by professional speakers. Try to make it naturally, don’t make it look fake or rehearsed.

21. Time

It’s good if you pay attention on the time while you’re speaking. You can wear a watch, which is better than looking at your phone. Make sure you don’t look like you’re late for something or bored and just want to go. Just glance at your watch a few times. This way you can control the amount of time each part of your speech lasts, and you know if you have to slow down or speed up. .

22. Get to know the space

It’s important to become familiar with the space you’re speaking at. That way you can get comfortable with it and it’s easier to speak later. It’s another way you’ll get over stage fright or a least you’ll feel a little bit better and more comfortable.

23. Get to know the audience

To get to know the audience means to know the number of people who are attending, composition / profile of the audience, the average level of their knowledge about the subject of presentation. The presentation must be adapted to the characteristics of audience – their knowledge, experience, interests. Make sure everyone can understand and keep up with you.

24. Stand

You shouldn’t sit while speaking. By standing you’re showing respect and you look surer of yourself. It gives you “power” so it will feel easier for you to talk if you are nervous.

25. Type of audience

Pay attention to the audience. Its important for you to decide whose attention you want to win over. First, think about this and adjust vocabulary you use. If you have younger audience, try to use the more modern examples, while in the case of older turn to good old classics.

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26. Introduce yourself

Before you start anything else you need to introduce yourself. If it’s a professional speech or some kind of presentation you need to say more about yourself than if it’s a personal. With the personal the only thing you need to say it’s your name and if you’re talking about someone who you are to them, because probably not everybody knows who you are.

But if it’s some kind of presentation you need to say more about yourself. What you do, who you are, what gives you authorization to hold that, and what are you trying to do with this kind of presentation.

27. Appearance

Appearance is really important. People get the image and the first impression of you in the first 7 seconds. It’s desirable for your clothes to be something in between casual and professional.

28. Presentation

Make the concept so that the message is load and clear and easy to remember. You should answer with simple sentences on all the asked questions. Also you should avoid answers such as “yes” and “no” you should always explain your answer. You should show that you’re informed. You should also prepare “good” questions for the audience too, so you could include them,.

29. Improvisation

Improvisation is very important. If you get nervous you can’t stand there like a tree and wait for someone to save you, unfortunately Superman isn’t real. Your brain needs to work fast, so if you get confused you need to have a back up plan. You need to know how to improvise, and make it look natural. If you don’t know how to improvise, practice. Have someone help you, you can talk about anything and your brain will adjust and if you get in that kind of situation it will know what to do.

30. What does your body language mean

  • If you tilt your head to one side you’re showing interest, and by showing your neck you’re showing trust.
  • If you smile with your lips connected, you seem mysterious and artificial, fake ‘glued’ smile shows that you are not really happy or you’re dishonest.
  • Clenched fist show resistance, determination, and aggressiveness.
  • If you cross your arms, you act as if you closed, as if you want to defend yourself from something or you’re showing hesitation.
  • Double crossed legs mean stubbornness and independence. If you cross your ankles you’re showing defensiveness. If you turn the bend in the direction of a person when you cross your legs you’re showing interest

31. Visual aid

Visual aid is a great way to explain things. It should fit a speech, whether it’s funny, serious or technical. The main goal of visual aids is to help the audience understand what is being said, and reinforce the points of a speech in unique and interesting way.

32. Right rhythm

Discover the right rhythm. Some people make long pauses between sentences; some are constantly talking and do not wait for interviewee to expresses their thought. It is up to you to discover what suits you.

33. Grab the attention

Before you start talking you need to grab the attention of your audience. Wait for everyone to calm down, and take a sit. You can always say “Attention please” before you start, so everyone will listen to you.

34. Slip of the tongue

What do you do if you make a mistake? You can cough and hide it, or you can smile and pretend nothing happened. The other option is to apologize and continue. No matter what you do no one will take it against you, we all make mistakes.

35. Jokes

When you’re making jokes you need to make sure you’re not offending anyone. Don’t make any kind of racist jokes, or stereotype jokes. You don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or offended do you?

36. Culture

You need to make sure your audience doesn’t feel offended by anything. People take different things in a different way. If someone finds something funny someone else may not. It’s all because of the culture. The humor in America or Britain is different for example, what Americans find funny British people may not and other way around. So make sure you adapt for your audience.

37. End

The speech should always end with: “Thank you so much for your time”. The conclusion is important. Try to keep your sentences as simple as possible, taking into account the pronunciation and diction.

38. Have a good closing

People remember the beginning and the ending of a speech; they rarely remember the middle bits. Because of this you want to make sure that you have an ending that they will remember. Make sure that your audience knows why this subject is important and why they should have this information.

Thank you for reading this article about how to improve public speaking skills and I really hope that you take action my advice. I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here