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When you hear that you need to do public speaking and give a presentation in front of someone else, what happens? Do you get excited and ready to show off all of your speaking skills or do your hands start to sweat, your heart start to pound fast, and you get nervous? If you are like most people, then the latter probably describes you and anything to do with public speaking is not fun in your book.
Never fear though, anyone is able to improve their public speaking skills with a little bit of work. As you will see in this guidebook, the steps to becoming a great public speaker are not hard or a bit secret, they are there for everyone to enjoy. We will walk you through these steps and make sure that you are ready to take on the world and improve your public speaking skills.
To speak in public, you do not need to be born with the gift of gab or naturally be good at it. Sure, some people do seem to possess these skills and that can be frustrating to those of us who may have to work a little harder. But even if you are horrible at public speaking and have struggled with this for years, the simple tips in this guidebook will be there to help.
When you are ready to take over your public speaking skills and are ready to impress everyone with your knowledge and expertise of a topic, then take a look at this guidebook and see just what steps you need to take to help improve your public speaking.
Chapter 1: Speaking Plainly But Effectively:
The Key to Success
One of the first things that we need to work on when it comes to public speaking is to figure out the right way to get the message across. While there will be some variations in how you do this based on the audience and the topic that you need to discuss, there are some general rules that you are able to follow, regardless of the situation.
Many people who get into public speaking think that they need to be impressive all the time or no one will listen to them at all. They want to use big words and complex thoughts to get the point across. But this does not work all the time. It can make it hard for the audience to figure out what is being said and may ruin the message. Plus, when you are trying to be impressive, rather than focusing on the message at hand, you may get in over your head, which will make you more nervous than before.
Instead of worrying about all of that fancy talk and big words, it is time to take it in the other direction. Speaking plainly is going to be a more effective tool to getting the message out to the audience you are working with. This doesn’t mean you have to dumb down all of the information that you are presenting. It simply means that you can work with plain language and find that it is more powerful than some of the other options.
If your ideas are important, you should not try to hide them behind a veil of words just to sound impressive. You can use all of the fancy wording that you would like, but if the idea is hidden, no one is going to notice the great ideas. Some of the ways that you can speak plainly, rather than letting the speech get in front of the ideas, include:
Honor the Idea
Being able to speak plainly is going to start and end with your ideas. No matter what the main idea of the speech is, you need to make sure that the idea is front and center and let that do the work for you. Do not ruin all of that work by making it look fancy. A good idea can stand on your own. Try not to soften the idea either. Using things like “think”, “feel”, and “believe” can make the idea look more like an opinion instead and can make things harder to share with others. Research the idea and then own it during the presentation.
When you are giving a speech and working to use all of the fancy information and words, it is because they are trying to appear to be something they are not. This can be smarter, better educated, more professional, cooler or something else. This causes them to hide behind their real self and act in a different way. This is going to appear a bit odd when you give the speech and can make the audience focus more on those bad actions rather than the message that you are giving.
Use the Shorter Word
Big words can sound impressive, but sometimes they will hide the true message that you are trying to share with others. Rather than letting that happen, you will need to pick the word that makes the most sense for your needs. When you have the option between two words, it is always best to go with the shorter one. That will ensure that your message is not hidden behind some of those big words and can be so much better for the message (plus easier for you to remember).
Cut Down the Description
There are times when you will need to use a description. But there are times when the speech giver is going to try and add some more “oomph” to the story. Adding a lot of adverbs and adjectives around the idea is going to just bury it in details that are not that important. It is usually best to just cut to the chase and save the descriptive language for something else. Your focus is on the message, not on all of the extra stuff that is all around the idea.
Communication is Your Top Priority
Sometimes when you are speaking or writing, you may find that there is an urge to step the language up. You may look at the work and feel like the language is not pretty enough or that the audience is not going to enjoy it as much. This means that it is working though. Unless you are working through a ballad or a poem, you need to keep your first priority to communicate the message, rather than make it all flowery.
Add the “You” and “Me”
Another way that you may be trying to use language in order to hide some of your ideas is a vain attempt to sound impressive is to use an impersonal and distant tone. While there are some forms of writing where you can do this, such as journalism, you will find that this is not the case often when you are doing public speaking.
To change this around a bit, you will need to add some I and me to the mixture. This is going to be a great way to make yourself seem more impressive and will help the audience to feel like they are being brought into the conversation more than anything else. You will see that it makes your conversation seem more human, which will engage the audience more than before.
You can also engage the audience more fully when you speak directly to and about them instead of using “one” or “we” in the sentences that you use. Instead of trying to make the speech done in third person, you should address them directly and see what the difference is between the two speeches. You can choose to work with a recorder to see what the differences in the two speeches before you make a decision.
While it is tempting to spend your time working with flowery language in order to get others to listen to you and be impressed, this can hide the message and will not help you to really showcase your ideas and what you want to say. Keeping the language plain and simple will not only help you to showcase your idea, but can make it easier to do a great speech where you do not need to remember all that flowery and complex language.
Chapter 2: Research And Plan, Then Research Some More
Now that you know it is important to keep the language simple when it comes to doing your speech and public speaking, it is time to work on some of the research. If you do not know a lot about the topic you wish to speak about, then you are going to be nervous. You may worry that you are talking about things the wrong way or that someone will ask you a question that you do not know.
People who are experts in their topics for the speech are the ones who tend to do the best. They have a wealth of knowledge to draw from and will feel more confident than others who may have just looked up the information a little bit and called it good. This means that you will need to go through and do as much research as possible about the topic before you ever think about what to put into the speech.
Think about a time when you got into a conversation where you did not understand the topic that well. Maybe you had never heard about the topic before or you were just not familiar with it at all. You may have been able to listen quite a bit, but if someone asked your opinion on that topic, you would have been lost and have nothing to say.
That is the same thing that will happen if you do not research for your speech. You may only have a basic knowledge of the topic and you will be limited on what you are able to share with someone else. You may even have a stilted type of speech because you are trying to turn that little bit of information into a long speech to help you look impressive.
That is not idea, as most of us can agree. Now we can look at it going another way as well. When you are in a conversation and know a lot about the topic, are you the one who is doing a lot of listening or are you the one talking? You will be able to answer a lot of questions about the topic and can keep up with the conversation, leading it, directing it, and having fun in the process. You can even teach others a bit more about the topic because your knowledge is so vast on that topic.
This is a much better way to go into your public speaking role. Knowing as much about the topic you wish to present is going to be important. And surface level research is not going to do it. You should do as much research as possible in the amount of time that you are given. If you have a lot of time, then your goal is to become an expert in the field, getting as many points of view and references that you can find. If you are short on time, you can still do some research to find out as much as possible.
Your goal is to learn as much about the topic as possible. Even if you do not add some of that information into your speech, you will find that it can be useful along the way. It will help you to answer questions and to go off topic if that is necessary. It never hurts during the presentation to have too much knowledge than too little.
Knowledge is Power, And Power is Confidence