37 Ways to Become a Better Speaker Today
To become a successful professional, you need to improve at public speaking.
You will impress your boss, colleagues and clients. As a result, you will achieve your goals and make more money.
After interviewing successful professionals around the world, I have discovered that successful professionals never stop learning. They keep moving forward.
Taking these actions can help you become a better speaker:
1. Watch your favorite TED talks and focus on the content, delivery, and design. Apply what you have learnt to the next presentation.
2. Write down 10 ideas every day so you will handle audience questions more effectively. Start with this: 10 ways to improve my public speaking today.
3. Tell a story with 4Cs: characters, conflict, conversation and change.
4. Structure your presentation with a clear message, story, opening and closing.
5. When creating your message, ask “What do I want the audience think, feel or do differently after my presentation?”
6. Open with a rhetorical question or story. Answer the question by yourself so you won’t mess up. Tell a personal story that engages people’s emotions.
7. Summarize your key points so people remember what you say.
8. Repeat your message… and repeat.
9. Give your audience a clear action step. Tell them exactly what to do after your presentation.
10. Storyboard your ideas with sticky notes. Organize them in the order that makes the most sense to you.
11. Go to a stock photo website and find powerful images that express your ideas visually.
12. Sketch your ideas before creating visual slides in PowerPoint or Keynote.
13. Practice and record your presentation in video. Use a smartphone or web-cam..
14. Watch the video and write down what you like and don’t like about your performance.
15. Use mind mapping to organize your ideas.
16. Get feedback at a local Toastmasters Club. Find areas for improvement.
17. Brainstorm possible questions you may get during the next presentation.
18. Practice answering these questions so you will feel more confident and natural.
19. Warm up your voice before speaking.
20. Breathe in through your nose so your throat will not run dry.
21. Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to make sure the computer, projector and microphone are working.
22. Picture that you are talking to friends in the living room (Even Richard Branson uses this hack to become a better speaker.)
23. Relax your body before speaking. Stretch your arms, hands, legs and head and shoulders.
24. Take slow and deep breaths. Calm down…
25. Visualize your success as a confident and effective speaker. You can do it!
26. Focus on the audience, instead of yourself. It’s not about you; it’s about the audience.
27. Share your failures and frustrations. The audience wants to know how you overcame the challenges and become the person you are today.
28. Test your funny lines in everyday conversations (say, during lunch or dinner).
29. If no one laughs at your funny line, say “Well, my friends said that was really funny” and move on.
30. Attend an improv class so you’ll be able to handle questions smoothly.
31. Tell stories based on your personal experiences, client case studies or celebrities.
32. Have no more than three points per presentation. You don’t want to overwhelm people.
33. Explain each point in five minutes. Get to the point.
34. Throw away your word-for-word script. For your notes, use point form and make sure the font size is at least 14.
35. Have Q&A before closing. You don’t want to end the presentation with an awkward question from the audience.
36. Work with a public speaking coach to stay informed and succeed faster.
37. Stop lecturing. Starting having conversations with the audience.
Here’s my clear action step for you: Use one of these recommendations for your next presentation. You’ll become more successful at public speaking and in your career.
Featured photo credit: How Richard Branson Gets Over His Hatred of Public Speaking via businessinsider.com