How to Hone the Skills of Public Speaking? 10 Steps for Students
Wildlife threats? Fine. Flying? No problem. Public speaking? Oh no! Just think about public speaking, and it gives you goosebumps. Right? Public speaking is a skill that many people are afraid of, and for good reason. It takes confidence to stand up in front of an audience and talk about what you know. When we are younger, this can be difficult because our fear gets the best of us and we have no idea how to prepare for it. Wondering how you can help your kids hone their public speaking skills? This blog is a must-read. Here are 10 steps that will help you do just that!
Why Do People Get Nervous While Public Speaking?
It’s natural to feel nervous when public speaking, and it doesn’t just happen in front of a large audience. People feel like having butterflies, a dry mouth, or even their heart racing. It takes confidence to stand up in front of an audience and talk about what you know. For students, this can be difficult because of their age, the fear gets the best of them. According to a study, 90% of students fear public speaking; this is one reason why they’re not as confident in their own abilities.
Steps to Excel Public Speaking
If you’re a student and you want to shine while speaking in public, these steps will make your dream come true.
The best way to get better at anything is to practice. And public speaking isn’t any different, you have to keep trying out what works and doesn’t work before getting an idea of how to progress. There are some methods to practice public speaking and it all depends on what you’re comfortable with.
Some methods include:
- Practicing in front of a mirror and recording yourself while doing so
- Auditioning for school plays or other extracurriculars
- Practicing in front of a friend or sibling can improve your public speaking skills
- Practicing in front of family members will mold your public speaking skills
- Finding a mentor who is successful and practicing with them
- Daily reading for becoming good at fluency
Find Your Voice
One common fear of public speaking that students experience when they’re talking in front of others is the fear of losing their voice or not having enough breath. One way to combat this fear is by the use of visualization and imagery
Focusing on your breathing during public speaking or giving any speech can help you maintain composure while giving a speech. Another method for overcoming the fear of losing one’s voice or having enough breath is through deep-breathing exercises. Breath deeply at least 20 times before the speech and continue throughout the speech.
Have a Plan for When You Get Stuck or Don’t Know What to Say Next
It is important that everyone has an idea of where they are going with their public speaking skills or speeches so that they can keep focused on one topic, instead of getting off track repeatedly. You should have a written outline just in case you don’t remember where you were going with your speech.
Think About What the Audience Will Like
Regardless of what you are speaking about, it is important that the audience likes and agrees with your message. This can be done through research or asking for feedback from friends in advance to figure out if they will approve of what’s being said.
Don’t Choose a Topic That You Don’t Understand
It can be tempting to choose a topic that you think will sound good, but this is the worst approach. When speaking about something that you don’t know well, it’s easy to get off the message and confuse your audience in the process.
Prepare for Questions
No matter what kind of speech you are giving, prepare for difficult questions from the audience. You can’t anticipate what they will ask, but you can prepare for the most common questions and practice your answers ahead of time.
People are drawn to speakers while public speaking who are passionate about their message. If you want people to listen to what you have to say, make sure that it’s evident in how you speak whether through your tone, inflection, or gestures.
Be Authentic and State True Facts
People are more likely to listen when you don’t try to be someone else during public speaking. Be genuine in your speech and let that come through with every word that you say. A little vulnerability goes a long way! Also, make sure all the content in your speech is real and authentic. People who figure out a fact to be untrue might raise disputes and it will end you in panic.
Convey Only One Message
Be concise and only state one message or idea in your speech. The goal is for the audience to walk away with something fresh that they can put into practice, so don’t try to squeeze too many thoughts into a small amount of time.
Creating metaphors during public speaking can help people visualize what you’re saying; it allows them to use their imagination to create a world that you’re telling them about.
Avoid being generic or vague; instead of saying, “I want to thank everyone for coming,” say something personal like, “Thank you so much for turning up.” This will help the audience feel appreciated and it conveys your gratitude more deeply.
Watch Videos of the Best Public Speakers
Watch videos of your favorite public speakers and try to identify what they do that makes them so good. You can also visit a speaker’s live stage and enjoy their show. Taking notes from such speakers will help you in figuring out how you can perfect your speech.
Avoid Fillers During a Speech
Fillers are unimportant words or phrases that you use in your speech to fill the silence like “Um” and “Ah.” They make it hard for people listening to understand what you’re saying. Fillers should be avoided at all costs, as they can interrupt your flow of thoughts during public speaking.
Avoid Using Too Much Jargon
People can feel like they are left out of the discussion because you’re using a lot of technical terms. They might get lost in your speech and not understand what you’re trying to articulate. Try to use simple language that anyone could understand, even if it’s not as academically worded or eloquent
Keep Eye Contact with the Audience
Maintaining eye contact with the audience can be one of the most important public speaking tips. It shows that you are paying attention to them, and it makes your speech more personal.
The best communication is never perfect, and people never expect you to be perfect. However, putting in the required time to prepare will help you deliver a better speech. You may not be able to shake your nerves entirely, but you can learn to minimize them. Public speaking might sound hard but with lots of practice and strategies, you can ace it. We hope you found your go-to tip!