Whether you’re a business executive with time to time meetings, or a social worker who has to address large crowds, and upcoming motivational speakers, a common thing is that you have to speak in public from time to time. Today, we are going to focus on “How to become a more polished speaker“
If that made you twitch, it’s even more terrifying than the way you speak publicly strongly affects the way people perceive you. This is why the thought of delivering a presentation or a public speaking event causes so much anxiety and concern.
But there’s a ray of hope. A simple answer to how to become a more polished speaker is thorough preparation and practice. A more detailed answer is what you’ll find in this article. Keep reading to know where you should focus and improve to get better at public speaking.
A public speaking gig is your opportunity to move people in a short time with just your words. It doesn’t need to be a detailed speech with all the facts and numbers but a valuable string of words. So, keep your time limit into consideration when writing your piece. It’s best to keep things high level and dip into the details if/when needed.
Secondly, consider your audience when structuring your piece. It’s not fair to ask a group of people to listen to you attentively for a whopping 45 mins window. So, break your speech up into short stories. You can segment your public speaking event into 10-15 minutes blocks dedicated to a specific theme. You can either explain a topic, provide advice, or deep insights.
Though some speaking ninjas can captivate a large audience with a long speech, usually this framework of structuring your speech is how you become a more polished speaker.
What would you rather listen to—a relatable and interesting story or a monologue that’s tone-deaf in all entirety.
Stories hold a higher ground over a speech or presentation that’s monotonous. In a story, you can use a few key tools: emotional contrast, vulnerability, open loops, and more to make it more interesting.
You must have noticed these key elements in some of the popular TED talks where the speaker shares a personal story, which helps the audience see them as vulnerable and more importantly as a human. It’s one of the qualities to learn to become a more polished speaker.
Storytelling can actually help you to connect better with your audience, You can read about 5 C’s Of Storytelling which will definitely help you and boost your confidence.
You’d be more convinced to share your personal stories in a public speaking event when we tell you that a groundbreaking study. The research found that sharing personal and emotional experiences with a stranger for only 45 minutes makes you 30% more connected to that person than someone you have known for years.
This is one of the sure-fire ways to become a more polished speaker. You can ask for feedback from your friends and family or even your audience but what helps one improve the most is a visual aid. About 65% of people are visual learners. They learn by watching something get done. So, if you record yourself and return to that video later, you will learn a lot about your movement, and your nervous ticks. It will help you realize your problem areas and where you need to work to become a more polished speaker.
Also, you can record a practice run of the presentation, and pay close attention to your body language, movement, tone of your voice, and the pace at which you talk.
This is perhaps the most common advice which is the least implemented. It’s a common problem among novice speakers that they talk too fast to squeeze in as many ideas as possible.
But talking fast doesn’t do you any good. It leads to stammering, getting lost, and re-explaining things you’d already explained. Eventually, you will start to lose track of your thoughts, stress yourself out, and the whole presentation will go off the rails.
So, practice talking slowly and enunciating important points. The fix for this is simple mindfulness as you notice your brain skipping too far ahead in the line of thoughts.
Remind yourself constantly to think slower and work down your thoughts.
Now to address the most pressing issue among speakers which stops them from being proficient—anxiety.
The nerves of stepping on the stage can derail any speaker from the right track. But if you think only amateur speakers struggle with stage fright or nerves, we’d like to tell you that even the most seasoned of speakers experience the same issue.
The trick to surpassing this feeling is to harness those emotions into excitement instead of allowing these emotions to consume you. One way to do this is to think of the presentation as a conversation with the audience rather than a speech in front of a huge crowd. Try thinking of one person and how you want your message to help them with a problem. When you focus on the purpose of the speech instead of the speech itself, it won’t feel as daunting. That’s how you become a more polished speaker.
If you still feel anxious when you think of being on stage, then learn How To Overcome Public Speaking Panic Attacks.
Pro tip: Remember that you are not alone in this. Your audience wants to see you succeed and they are rooting for you. So, have fun with the opportunity and give your audience what they came to see. Lastly, be proud of yourself for stepping up and onto the platform.
If you converse with an experienced speaker, you’ll likely get to know that they too get nervous every single time they step out in front of the audience, but the really exciting thing is that you can overcome this fear.
All you need is some guidance and proper training to become a more polished speaker. This is where our professional public speaking courses come in.
We have helped a lot of aspiring speakers overcome their fear and get closer to their dream of becoming pro-public speakers. If this is you—enroll in our public speaking online course now!
The art of public speaking is not learned in a day or week, it takes months of practice, multiple events, and proper guidance. If you have started practicing but noticed a few problem areas in your skillset that need more attention, this blog will help you learn how to become a more polished speaker through tried and tested ways of experts.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.