Lately I’ve been doing more public speaking and it’s something that I’ve been working on improving. It’s funny starting out with public speaking reminds me very much of when I started out writing some millions of words ago. Things were clumsy and I often hated the end result and would go back and trash the whole thing. To write something as simple as an article would take me an hour and it wouldn’t even be that great. And that’s after editing it and rewriting parts. Now I can scribble something off in ten minutes that’ll not only look better but be more informative as well.
I took speech in college, have given quite a few presentations, and have no fear of speaking but I’ve found that there is a huge difference between doing something because you don’t have much of a fear of it (granted I’ve never spoken to a room filled with hundreds of people, nothing over 100 in fact) and doing something because you’re good at it. For example there’s a big difference between a bar room brawler who doesn’t give a shit and a professional fighter. Sure the brawler is better than the average person because of his lack of fear but that hardly makes him a pro.
So what I’ve set out to do is become as good at public speaking (which includes podcasting, YouTube videos, and the like) or presenting (whatever word you prefer) as I am at writing or a couple other skills I’ve honed over the years. So to help both me and you along I’ve created a list of 50 public speaking tips that have helped me and will help you. They’re geared for beginners as I myself am pretty much a beginner. Enjoy.
50 Tips To Be A Better Public Speaker
- Story telling is the most important skill that you can learn.
- Focus on one major idea per talk/podcast/YouTube video.
- Give people a reason to care about what you’re talking about. Making it emotionally relevant.
- Make it simple and avoid jargon (unless speaking to a niche where using jargon will endear you to them).
- Use metaphors and analogies for complicated topics.
- Focus on benefits over features.
- Record yourself, it’ll suck and be cringe worthy at first but it’s important for your development.
- Go through your speak multiple times before doing it. Do at least 3 dry runs (even for a short YouTube video).
- Change your speech/presentation (YouTube video, pocast, etc.) to fit your audience. For example a marketer presenting his information to corporate women or small business owners will have to change his speech to make it as relevant as possible. Know your audience.
- You can’t wing it, even the greatest pros spend time going over their material. Don’t think you can, sooner you get this the better.
- Cut out “crutch words” things such as “Uhm, like, etc.”.
- To get over your fear of public speaking, exposure therapy is the only way to do it. And you’ll still get butterflies but instead of being fear they’ll be adrenaline that make you perform better.
- Use an outline, don’t have to read from it but have one that you’ve written before hand. Will help your brain get the information as well.
- Use lower grade level language. The exact grade doens’t matter and varies (like 3rd of 4th I think is the average person). Don’t use fancy words imagine a 12 year old has to understand your speech (mentally wise) and go from there.
- Repitition is the mother of all learning, whether through spoken, written, or kinesthetic mediums.
- Tell that what you’re going to tell them, tell it to them, then tell them what you just told them.
- Use hand gestures when really trying to make a point. “Pound” the table, point down, etc. Watch Trump for great examples of this.
- Identify a common enemy and “throw rocks at them” metaphorically speaking.
- Speak conversationally, don’t be boring and “wooden”.
- Speak slow and make sure to enunciate and project with every word.
- Read this article.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets.
- Span your eye contact to different sections of the audience. Don’t focus just on one spot. When doing a YouTube video treat the camera lens as the eyes of your audience.
- Know your material cold, yeah this is sort of a repitition of other tips but it’s that important.
- Use humor with caution. It’ll either work great or bomb like crazy, no middle ground.
- Enthusiasm is contagious and emotions transfer when you express passion. Speak with energy.
- Keep open body language. Don’t cross legs/hands, be open like you’re embracing the audience/world.
- Read this article.
- Emote. When talking about sadness frown, happiness smile. Know that sounds basic as can be (and it is) but you’d be surprised how often one’s facial expressions don’t mesh with their words. Record yourself and remember that a large part of communication is body language (even when just audio, that’s why it’s recommend to smile when answering the phone during sales calls).
- Address objections. Understand that before you inform/teach people you have to address their doubts and sketicism. Changing belief patterns is way more important than actually informing.
- Learn to use pauses effectively. After a big point, when you want the audience to think about something, or when you want the impact of what you just said to sink in.
- Learn to use your voice properly. As in don’t be monotone, learn to use inflection to add to your speech. Much can be communicated through how you say something. Even more important than what you say many times.
- Never rely on your slides, even in a webinar where the slides are the focus. The slides should convey one image or general idea and that’s it.
- Start your speech/presentation off with an attention grabber. Same way you would start a novel. Number one goal at start is to get people intrigued from the start.
- How you present yourself matters. Whether on stage or simply recording yourself in your studio. Doesn’t mean you have to always wear a suit, as a matter of fact in some cases that’d work against you. Just understand that your appearance matters.
- Use your personality. You want to polarize, no one remembers a boring speaker. Let your personality shine through don’t try to hide it, it’ll just sound stilted and fake.
- People will remember the last thing you tell/show them. This is especially important in sales.
- For YouTube videos/podcasts (and well speeches too just do it differently) always have a call to action and a place people can learn more about you. Mention it multiple times.
- Use talking points. Big simple basic ideas that can be described in a sentence or too and even a ten year old can understand.
- Stay hydrated. Yeah seems obvious but learned this the hard way half way through my first podcast. Have some water with you so you don’t end up sounding like croaking frog at the end of your presentation.
- Practice to friends and family. Work with a smaller crowd and then work your way up to larger and larger crowds. Also good if they can give you honest feedback.
- Don’t worry about audience reactions. Yeah if everyone laughs (and you wanted them to) that’s a good thing and if everyone gasps (and you didn’t want them to) that’s a bad thing. But what I’m talking about is the one guy yawning, the girl scrolling through facebook, or the person who looks angry as hell but turns out it’s just their face.
- Study good speakers. Churchill, Hitler, Reagan, Trump, Patton, study the greats regardless of how you feel about them.
- Know your script backwards and forwards, there is no getting around this. You don’t know enough to wing it.
- Don’t apologize. People aren’t going to realize you made a mistake unless you point it out to them. Just keep going, no one cares.
- Practice daily.
- Focus on one person at a time. Speak like you’re talking to someone one on one, not an audience.
- Emotions sell and cause action. Logic rationalizes things after the fact.
- Copywriting skills translate nearly 100% to speaking. Only difference is spoken vs written word.
- Storytelling is the most important skill you can learn (yes, I know that’s number one).
Reading, Writing, & Presenting Are Essential Skills
I’m a big fan of classical education. It’s what got me interested in teaching in the first place. Rhetoric has a major role to play in classical education and was considered just as essential as things like reading and writing (which are also essential). In today’s day and age you need to not just learn reading, writing, and rhetoric but also information dissemination. Things like using word, wordpress, YouTube, and podcasts. We are after all living in the information age, making these essential skils.
A man who knows how to read, write, and speak effectively as well as desseminate what he has learned will go further and farther than that man who has not mastered these things. I’ve let myself off here for too long and now am working to remedy this. Dale Carnegie also has some great books on the topic that are worth checking out as well. Anyways these are tips that I found useful and hope will prove useful to you as well.
If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.