Those of us who have the opportunity speak publicly to business groups, professional seminars and in churches are always looking for ways to improve. Here are five ways we can dramatically improve our abilities to become a more effective public speaker.
1. Learn How To Tell Stories
From the dawn of time humans have told stories. Stories are extremely effective; and we respond to stories that are written or told orally. Stories move us; they make the complicated simple. The ability to tell a good story can be learned. The National Association of Storytellers suggest these steps to start your journey as a storyteller:
- Be Brief – The best stories are told with descriptive language that covers a lot of ground with few words.
- Develop Characters – Stories are best when they are told with and about people. Don’t forget the best stories are ones that include you. Therefore, make yourself a character in your stories.
- End on a High Note – Some stories are engaging. Others are filled with action or horror; and some are hilarious. Whatever the direction of your story, always end on a high note. Give your audience something to think and laugh about; leaving them feeling that the time they spent listening to you was worthwhile.
2. Make Your Body A Communication Tool
- Don’t be afraid to use your hands
- Move away from the podium
- Use your voice to bring emotion, clarity and humor to your speaking
3, Watch And Learn From Other Speakers
Regardless of what you find, remember that it is important to be you. Sure, you may love Ronald Regan’s flair, or Martin Luther King’s oratory. However, trying to mimic them when you speak will make you look like a bad version of the real thing. Therefore, use the stuff that you learn and weave it into your style.
Remember, no one can do you better than you.
4, Write, Practice, Rewrite
- Writing – Putting your thoughts down will make any speech better. Writing allows your speech to be clear and it will make it more concise. Writing the speech does not mean that you have to deliver your talk by reading it word for word. Actually, writing your speech will give you the ability to go “off the cuff” and deliver the remarks you have written earlier without notes.
- Practice – The Reverend Billy Graham one of the great speakers of our time said, “Great speeches are made with greater practice”. Here are some suggestions:
- Practice alone or with others
- Practice in front of a mirror
- Practice by recording your voice
- Practice with video
Your practice will give you the information for the next step:
- Rewriting – Any good speech gets better when it has been reviewed and rewritten. There is a real balance between the rewrite and overwriting. Speech perfection is not possible; while we always want to do our best there is a time when you have to put away the pen and just do the speech.
5. Join Toastmasters
If you want to become a confident, strong, and effective speaker you must have a place to regularly practice your craft. Toastmaster is a supportive learn-by-doing environment that allows you to achieve your goals at your own pace. Toastmaster was the launching pad for my professional speaking career. It can be the blastoff post for what you want to do with your speaking. Go to http://www.Toastmasters.org to start or power-up your speaking journey.
Public Speakers: Some are born most are made
Sure, you may have natural speaking ability. However, great speakers know that there is always more to do and learn. I hope these 5 tips will help. As all of us try to dramatically improve our speaking ability.
© 2015 Marben Bland