9 Tips for Better Professional Speaking
Some people are paralyzed when engaging in professional speaking. Others just hate it. Some people freeze. And other people avoid. There are very few people out there who love professional speaking. Many have to go through leadership development speaking training, or engage with a leadership development speaker. But even though it does take some concerted effort to conquer professional speaking, there are some tips you can use to help. Follow these guides to success for a better speaking experience.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
The more you practice, the more you'll be able to do your speech without even thinking. It's like muscle memory. Thousands of years ago, people could memorize entire lengthy speeches without paper. If you focus on memorizing your own speeches, you'll have less to worry about when up there.
2. Engage with the Audience
It's easy to feel like looking away. But rather, you should directly engage with the audience. Talk directly to people. Field questions. Make eye contact. For some, this is all easier said than done. But the more you engage with your audience, the less scary they will be.
3. Start with Smaller Venues
Everyone will be paralyzed with fear if they're suddenly talking to 10,000 or 20,000 people. Don't take the first speaking engagement you can get. Instead, go with smaller ones until you start to feel confident about the bigger ones.
4. Get Someone Else on Stage
Sometimes a co-host helps. If there's someone else you launched a business with, or someone else within your networking experience who knows your industry, consider inviting them to also speak and answer questions. If you're hosting with someone else, the pressure is off you, and you'll be able to lob some of the questions that you can't field towards them. It's also a great way to get closer to your colleagues.
5. Try Working on a Podcast
A podcast actually has a lot to do with a speech. On a podcast, you need to pay attention to your own brevity and clarity. You need to think about your word choices and which words flow for you, which can be different from the words that flow when writing. A podcast gives you practice that isn't live and is especially useful if there are specific things that you find yourself covering quite frequently.
6. Use Media and Other Tricks
PowerPoint slides are popular for a reason. Slides are a great example of using media to distract the audience, and in so doing, take the pressure off you. Things like small demonstrations can also help you, such as demonstrating new technology. You'll be able to put on a show, but the show won't focus on you specifically. This can be a significant relief to anyone who is simply nervous about appearing before a crowd.
7. Really Know Your Stuff
Sometimes the uncertainty relative to speaking is related to not being sure that you can answer questions or that you know your topic well enough. Do some additional research to make sure you're well-versed in your topic. If you feel confident about your topic, it's likely that you will start to feel more confident speaking about it, too.
8. Imagine Yourself in the Crowd
Few people can really imagine the crowd naked. And even if they could, they would probably be more distracted than calmed. But what you can do is imagine yourself. Imagine that you're explaining your thoughts and concepts to you, yourself. That can be enough to break yourself out of any anxiety that has developed.
9. Get Physical
There's a reason that people on stage pace back and forth. Walking back and forth, drinking water, and other physical movements can help you concentrate. If you're finding it very difficult to stand still at a podium, consider moving around a little. It'll also make your speech more engaging.
Anyone can become good at professional speaking and leadership development speaking, even if the skill isn't necessarily innate. If you're still having trouble, consider the above guides to success, or working with a professional leadership development speaker. Shaan Rais can help you develop your speaking skills and improve your communication overall.