Public speaking is one of the most important skills for any professional. Whether you’re speaking with clients, giving a presentation, going on an interview, or negotiating a raise, public speaking can make or break the conversation. Unfortunately public speaking is not something that is adequately taught in schools and it can be hard to find opportunities to practice that aren’t significant events in and of themselves. Here are five essential tips to help you up your game when it comes to public speaking and put you on the path to success.
1. Prepare and Rehearse
You know the saying, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”? Planning and preparation are essential to any public speaking endeavor. If you want to make sure that your presentation comes across articulately and flawlessly then you must prepare. A good way to get started is to write out what you plan to discuss. Whether you decide to write out your whole speech or simply give yourself bullet points it’s important to make sure you know your material inside and out. If you’re 100% familiar with the material, then if you experience any interruptions or are sidetracked you’ll be able to easily pick back up exactly where you left off without a hitch.
Hydrating may seem like a strange piece of advice but unless you want to end up with a dry mouth or throat, thanks to nerves, it’s an important step. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated long before the presentation and also keep a water bottle handy just in case you need it during your speech. Of course, it’s important to do this in moderation as well since you don’t want to be rushing off to the bathroom in the middle of that important interview.
3. Pay Attention to Your Wardrobe
There are two reasons that wardrobe is extremely important when it comes to public speaking. First you need to consider how you intend to be perceived by your audience. You don’t want to show up to a presentation looking as if you just rolled out of bed because your audience will dismiss you before you even begin. Second, if you feel good in your clothes you will be much more confident in yourself as well. So finding the perfect balancing between looking great and feeling great is essential.
4. Get Warmed Up
Public speaking requires you to use your vocal chords for a much longer period of time than usual. Even if you’re a natural chatterbox it can be easy to become hoarse or lose your voice if you don’t warm up a little bit. Spending some time humming a little tune or doing tongue twisters. A great one is, “the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue, the tip of the tongue, the teeth, the lips.” Say that a few times and you’ll be more than ready to go once it’s time for you to speak.
Articulating is one of the most important aspects of any type of public speaking. If you are difficult to understand or are speaking too softly your audience will give up trying to hear you after a little while. You may also come across as not very knowledgeable about the subject matter. Which is especially awkward if you’re in an interview and talking about yourself.
Public speaking is a vital skill in any professional environment. Taking the time to learn a few important skills can be the difference between being on the cutting edge in your field and taking a back seat to the competition. Follow these 5 simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to improving your public speaking as well as your career.