So you’ve polished your content to near-perfection. Now comes the tricky part – how do you sell your pitch? Delivery often serves as the presenter’s Achilles heel. Even the most experienced public speakers need practice every now and then.
Fortunately, public speaking skills can improve over time through proper training and determination. Speech training is available for professionals who want to develop their speaking skills.
But if you’re on a budget, here are three ways you can practice at home:
1. Explain Yourself
Put aside your big ideas for a second and focus on improving your thought process. Renowned speaker and professional public speaking coach Brian Tracy provides tips on how to reduce public speaking anxiety focusing on organizing your thoughts away from fear of rejection to positivity and achieving your goal.
Among the positive ways Tracy cited on his personal blog to overcoming the fear of facing a live audience is performing your speech in front of another person. It can be anything from the mechanics of your favorite game to the instructions for assembling a chair. Let yourself be comfortable talking about random things to other people. After all, you have to expound on your points in front of an audience eventually.
Start with someone you’re comfortable with, like a friend or a family member. This prepares you for those Q and A portions after your actual presentation. The important thing is that you’re successful in relating an idea to a person learning about it for the first time.
2. Practice Conversing
Before you get to the level of inspirational speaker, you have to get to know your audience first. One of the most intimate forms of speech communication is the art of conversation. In fact, sounding conversational during a presentation is highly encouraged. This tone eases any lingering tension between speaker and listener, and establishes a stronger connection between them.
It convinces people that while presenters are set on getting their message across, they are also interested in knowing the audience’s thoughts. In order to apply conversation in a large group, you have to master talking with others face to face.
You can start with small talk before moving to more abstract topics. Just make sure that you keep your companion engaged. Otherwise, you’ll end up boring them.
3. Record Your Speech
This is a technique often applied in professional speech training. Aside from getting feedback from others, getting feedback from yourself is important as well. Recording yourself, or watching recordings of your speeches is one way to observe any bad speech habits you may not notice when you’re talking.
Whenever you start feeling self-conscious in front of a camera, you can also watch yourself in the mirror. You can gauge how your facial expressions, body language, and movement appear to someone looking at you.
Once you’re aware of your behavior, you can work on correcting them. Of course, deeply ingrained habits aren’t things you can easily correct overnight, so practice is necessary.
Most public speaking techniques are based on fundamental human rules of interaction. Connecting with other human beings is essential for your improvement as a presenter. Simple activities like explaining things and conversing with others can develop your skills further.
If you need any insight on your performance, you can record yourself or ask other people to watch you speak. This makes you aware of how you look as a speaker as well. A good speaker is one who constantly strives to be better. Practice consistently, mind your audience, and track your progress to grow into a respectable presenter.
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“27 Useful Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking | Brian Tracy.” Brian Tracys Blog. March 4, 2015. Accessed October 8, 2015. www.briantracy.com/blog/public-speaking/27-useful-tips-to-overcome-your-fear-of-public-speaking
“Better Public Speaking: Becoming a Confident, Compelling Speaker.” Mind Tools. Accessed January 5, 2016. https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/PublicSpeaking.htm
Featured Image: “Microphone” by Paul Hudson on flickr.com