Becoming an Effective Public Speaker

We have all watched or sat through a speech that leaves us mind-numbingly bored and in danger of the telltale glazed eye syndrome. Some public speakers seem to trip over every second word with misuse or mispronunciation, eyes peeled to their notes with an alarming regularity. This leads to total embarrassment for speaker and audience alike. Despite what the television tells you, you can’t become an effective public speaker just by picturing your audience in their underwear – it takes effort and confidence in your abilities to communicate.

Preparation is the key to all public speaking! Standing on stage, spruiking words of wisdom on, say,  solar energy for example, when all you know about this subject is that the sun helps it work, will not stand you in good stead with your often very informed audience and will leave you more than a little humiliated at question time. At times, you will have to think on your feet – not an enticing proposition when you know little or nothing about the subject matter.

What field would you like to improve your public speaking skills in? Maybe it’s something work related. Learn how to keep your employees motivated and keen with succinct, well-delivered weekly speeches. Politics, corporations, medical, environmental, law enforcement (and the list goes on and on) all need the power of a professional public speaker to get their important message across. With a skillset in public speaking, you could be the next ‘go-to’ for some of these organisational fields.

As a public speaker, you will have to pick up on the feel of your audience and sense the mood. A switched-on public speaker can determine this quite quickly and can often spin a bad ‘feel’ around. Audiences can be put off by a number of different factors; did the last speaker send them off to slumber land and they now need strong coffee? Are you making your speech easy to follow and listen to? Even the time of day and day of the week can impact on the mood of your audience. Don’t be deterred by the minutiae though – you are in the prime position to change this.

First impressions do count, so try to humanise yourself with an early icebreaker. Maybe some personal information or a joke (this will depend entirely on the speech subject matter, of course. It’s probably not wise to crack a joke at a funeral, for instance). Don’t ever assume you will carry your audience with you for the whole speech. Watching for the signs of restlessness by listening for quiet whisperings, phones ringing etc. and nipping them in the bud early will be a crucial factor and will allow you to ‘liven’ up your recital and hopefully stop the rot setting in, before your audience starts running for the exit.

Being a sought after public speaker is a rewarding experience and allows you to pass a plethora of information to your audience. You will be the focus of many people’s attention. Think about this for a while – you could change a person’s life with an inspiring speech, save someone’s life by passing on important medical information or just make someone smile with an uplifting tale.

A course in public speaking will take you from what can sometimes be a shaky, intimidating beginning, to an eloquent, melodic, confident and entertaining, much sought after (and therefore, lucrative) public speaker.

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The Career Skill Builder Library features over 150+ career skills courses including our Certificate in Public Speaking in addition to great complimentary courses such as Negotiation Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Communication Skills and much more.

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