Public speaking is a skill that really isn’t taught in school. It’s also a very common phobia, one that affects approximately 15 million people on a daily basis. And yet, speaking in public is a skill that can greatly benefit leaders of all kinds. Giving a speech in public shows that you can be more effective in a leadership role, and it can inspire your employees when they need it the most.
Learning how to speak in public can be a challenge, but these tips will help you the next time you need to give a speech to a boardroom or in a virtual presentation.
Never Memorize a Written Speech
People who aren’t used to public speaking often write their speeches out and either memorize them or read them verbatim. While this seems like a good way to get your point across easily, you probably don’t write the same way you speak. You can write something that reads well on paper, but it will usually sound stilted and unnatural when you read it aloud. If you must write something, write out a few key points and concepts you want to discuss. Keep these notes with you, so you stay on task, but you should speak with a more conversational tone.
Public speaking is a skill, one that requires lots of practice. With that, you should never give a speech completely cold. Practice your speech ahead of time. Record it and play it back to find out if it sounds natural, tweak it if you think it needs work, and give it in front of one or two colleagues so they can give you feedback. It’s the only way you’ll get better at giving public speeches if you’ve never given one before.
Take a Public Speaking Class
If you really want to get better about public speaking and ease your anxieties, you can always take a class on the subject. A professional can give you advice on how to improve your speeches, and a class of people who are in the same situation can help ease your fears of getting in front of a crowd of strangers. You might find that speaking in public is a lot easier and less stressful than you think.