Tips to be a Better Public Speaker

In addition to countless other responsibilities, many of us serve as the face of our brand. There may be no better opportunity to fulfill this exacting duty than by appearing before audiences as a public speaker. It’’s a powerful way to showcase your business and communicate the depth of your industry expertise.

But the art of public speaking doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even those who are adept in this field always look for ways to improve their performance. If you regularly receive invitations to address a public forum — or if you’re just starting out — here are tips for becoming a more compelling (and sought-after) public speaker:

View your material through the eyes (and ears) of your audience. Some speakers forget that the people they’re addressing don’t know as much as they do about a given topic. They fall into the habit of speaking "over" their audience — using jargon or technical language, rushing through complex material without offering sufficient explanation, and so on.

One way to overcome this trait is by breaking down your subject matter and finding ways to explain material in brief, easy-to-understand sections. Make sure people understand the first idea you want to convey before moving on to other topics. Use simple language as much as possible to increase the likelihood your audience follows as you progress through your presentation.

Enhance your communications skills. Eye contact and clear enunciation are two of the most valuable skills a public speaker can possess. Rather than reading from a prepared speech, practice looking up at your audience and making eye contact with people in the back of the venue, in the middle and up front. This helps you connect with the audience and enhances their willingness to trust what you have to say.

When speakers get nervous, they often speak faster and lose people due to poor enunciation. Practice speaking slowly and making sure you pronounce clearly (and loud enough for those in the back to hear). This approach will lend greater impact to what you want to convey.