To take your public speaking skills to the next level demands that you seek multiple ways to hone and develop those skills. Here are some of the things I have learned along the way (and I hope to continue learning as I become a better speaker with time and practice).
1. Step 1
As my college communications professor (who was also an acting coach) told me, when you are presenting BE the expert. Everyone is there to hear from you because you are the expert so don’t second-guess yourself and speak confidently.
2. Step 2
Go see the best speakers in person and decide for yourself what makes them great. Why is Anthony Robbins a good or bad speaker? Is Steve Jobs inspiring? How does he deliver that inspiration through his presentation? What about George Bush? For all the folly and parodies on our president he’s still a better speaker than many of us ever will be and there’s a lot of good and bad lessons to learn from his speaking ability.
3. Step 3
Be human and connect through your emotion. Nobody likes a boring speaker so infuse some energy into your gestures, inflect your voice as you would when talking to someone one-on-one, attempt self-deprecating humor and don’t be afraid to show your failures as an example to learn from.
4. Step 4
Know the basics: be natural, speak from the heart, speak slowly, connect with specific audience members through direct eye-contact, speak to the entire room, etc. This is where Toastmasters will help you quickly build the foundation.
5. Step 5
Public speaking skills are not required but the best leaders and entrepreneurs are at least good at public speaking. Have you ever wondered how being a great public speaker might be linked to being successful? Being a better presenter alone may not make you more successful but it certainly will help you be a better leader, communicator and visionary.
Thank you for reading.
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