Ultimate Guide: How to Become a Great Public Speaker
An entertaining and interesting speech can make an already great evening spectacular. Taking note from some of the world’s best public speakers, Champions Speakers have assembled this comprehensive guide for nailing your speech!
If you really want to connect with your audience, you have to do your homework. By understanding the industry professionals or group of individuals attending the event, the better your speech will relate to attendees.
Not relying on tools such as Autocue also allow you to keep an eye on the audience, giving you a good measure of where to go next in your speech. Once you have written your speech, keep practising until you can make eye contact instead of reading from your script.
KEEP YOUR COOL
If nerves get to you when giving your public speech, it can become difficult to keep your audience's attention. Before attending the event, practice stress-management techniques so the stage fright jitters do not impact your speech.
How to Find Your Audience
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Before your speech, research the very best speakers on the circuit and look at the type of audience they perform to. If you can, attend as many speaking occasions as possible which will show you what works and what does not when it comes to your specific audience.
CHOOSE YOUR TOPIC CAREFULLY
If your speech discusses FinTech, it will not be appropriate for an audience of marketers. To best appeal to your audience, it is important to consider which topics would help them grow and improve as professionals. Additionally, identify any potential issues that your speech could solve within their sector, and choose your topics accordingly.
DON’T FORGET TO ENTERTAIN
An important thing to remember when you are trying to find a suitable audience is that no one wants to attend a monotonous speaking engagement. Irrespective of the topic, if you are entertaining, charismatic and funny you stand a good chance of capturing the imagination of most audiences.
7 Ways to Perfect Your Delivery
IMPROVE ON FEEDBACK
Feedback is your most important ally, as it allows you to improve on unbiased critique. By performing your speech to friends, family and professional peers, you can use their honest opinions to produce a better quality speech on the night.
Whilst completing your speech, it is also beneficial to take note of how the audience is reacting to your performance. If, while you’re giving your speech, you notice your audience losing interest then switch up the speech by introducing a shocking statistic, encouraging audience participation or playing a video clip.
OPEN AND CLOSE WITH A BANG
As aforementioned, you need to captivate your audience as soon as you step onto the stage. Though this isn’t always easy, it is important to put your point across. We advise that you start your speech with a reliable statistic, personal anecdote or a quote from a recognisable source, all of which immediately referencing the purpose of your discussion.
For example, if I were to perform a speech about climate change my first line may be;
“There were 60% more animals per species walking our planet in 1970,” or, “in 5 days, on July 29th, all of the earth's 2019 resources will be consumed.”
To conclude, summarise your discussion in a concise, hard-hitting statement that your audience will remember. To make a real difference to the people in that room, you need to make sure that you leave a residing effect.
USE STORYTELLING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
A memorable speech is entertaining and interesting. People are more likely to engage with funny stories and exciting personal anecdotes, which they then may relate to their friends, family and co-workers. Ideally, your audience will be on the edge of their seat, eager to how your story of personal hardship and triumph ends.
An audience laughing is an audience interested. Though you want to avoid forced comedy, a well-paced speech that is both enlightening and light-hearted will stay with the audience even after they have left their seats.
INTERACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
On the topic of audiences, we advise that you get them involved in your speech. It is common for public speakers to ask their audience a question to open their presentation, getting them to raise their hand in response.
Though you should avoid inviting your audience to be lectured and critiqued, for example, “raise your hand if you don’t recycle and are killing the planet”, gaining a consensus will help you understand the audience and get them involved too. This will also help to maintain interest and concentration, especially if you use it further on in your speech, by placing the attention back on the audience.
USE AUDIO/VISUAL MATERIALS
Every person engages with information, some people are visual learners, some are audio and others need to be hands-on with a specific topic. To pique the interest of the entire audience, it is advised that you mix up the mediums you use.
Used wisely, video clips, statistics and quotes projected onto a screen behind you will give your audience a visual representation of the information you are relaying to them. This can keep the speech exciting, stimulating the audience with a variety of informative formats. Though you should always keep in mind that YOU are giving the speech, so shouldn’t be overshadowed by the projected information.
AVOID NERVOUS MOVEMENT
Body language can be a key feature of any speech, with animated presenters commanding the stage with hand gestures and movement. By standing still and only using robotic movements, you are showing your audience that you are lacking in confidence, which will cause them to doubt your knowledge and credibility.
Convey your ideas to the audience by taking advantage of the full stage, using hand movements to highlight certain points and including well-placed pauses in your speech. Remember, you are the expert, so your audience should be hanging off every word you say.
LET YOUR PERSONALITY SHINE
More often than not, a good speaker is not just one that is knowledgable and confident but also has a likeable, engaging personality. There is more to public speaking than simply discussing a topic, the audience wants to engage with you on a personal level.
The best public speakers are naturally charismatic, entertaining and likeable, so don’t be afraid to let your unique personality shine through your speech. If the audience wanted to subject themselves to a robotic presentation they would flick through a Powerpoint of statistics, instead, they want to connect with a “real” person through their relatable stories.
Join the Champions Team!
Now you have perfected your public speech, join our roster and receive professionally managed event opportunities from our booking agents.
Jack Hayes was appointed Director of the Champions Speakers agency in 2012 becoming one of the youngest Directors in the UK. A year later, Jack became a founding member of the European Association of Speakers Bureaux (EASB) collaborating with speaker... Read more
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