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10+ Top Public Speaking Tips (To Help You Improve Quickly)

Public
speaking can be a challenge for many people. This is especially true if you’re
not used to giving speeches publicly. Plus, if you’re like many people, you may
even be afraid of public speaking.

Public Speaking Tips
You’ve just learned some quick public speaking tips and tricks that’ll help you improve your public speaking skills fast. (Image Source: Envato Elements)

With
practice, you can get better at public speaking. But lots of practice can take
time. What if you’re in a hurry to become a better speaker? There are some
quick tips for giving a speech you can use right away that’ll help you improve your
public speaking skills.

In
this tutorial, we’ll share over ten top public speaking tips and tricks that
you can use today. These tips aren’t meant to totally replace public speaking
practice, but you can use them to improve your public speaking skills. With
these easy-to-implement tips for public speaking, learn how to improve your
public speaking skills quickly so that your next speech will be better.

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Read
on to learn some tips for better public speaking.

Top
Tips for Public Speaking

If
you need to give a public speech, you’re probably also interested in learning
how to improve your public speaking skills. After all, you want your speech to
go over well, right?

Here
are over ten public speaking tips and tricks to help you become a better speaker:

1.
Schedule At Least One Practice Session

For
your speech to really be effective, it’s important to be comfortable about giving
it. But you won’t be really be comfortable with your presentation unless you’re
familiar with your topic. The best way to get familiar with your topic is to
practice your speech at least once (more, if you can work in additional
practice sessions).

Practice
not only helps you familiarize yourself with your material, it also allows you
to work out any rough areas in the presentation. And if you are able to
practice your speech in front of someone else, you can use their feedback to make
it even better.

2. Make Sure Your Slideshow Is Professional

Many
people who give public speeches use a professional presentation tool, like Google
Slides
, Microsoft
PowerPoint
, or Keynote.
If you’ll be using one of these tools to design your presentation slideshow,
make sure that your slideshow looks professional.

One
way to ensure that your slideshow looks professional is to use a professionally
designed presentation template. If you’re busy or if you’re not a professional
designer, you may struggle with creating your own presentation design template.
Designing a professional template can take a lot of time.

Fortunately,
you don’t have to design your own presentation slideshow. You can use a professionally
designed template
for PowerPoint, Google Slides, or even Keynote to
ensure that your slideshow looks good
. These professional templates are ready for you to customize with your
own information.

To
preview some of the best presentation templates available, take a look at this
article:

3.
Get Enough Sleep the Night Before

Sleep
deprivation can negatively impact the way that you give your speech. First of
all, studies show that a lack
of sleep can affect your memory
making
it harder for you to remember your speech. Also, not getting enough sleep can
make it harder for you to
control your emotions
, which may also mean you’ll struggle to stay calm
during your speech.

If
you regularly struggle with getting enough sleep at night, or if you suspect
you’ll not get enough sleep the night before your presentation, you’ll want to
take extra measures to get a good night’s. Being well-rested will help you to
give a better speech.

This
tutorial has some helpful tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:

4.
Use Positive Self-Talk to Psych Yourself Up

For
many of us who are afraid
of public speaking
, one of the biggest obstacles to improving your public
speaking skills is yourself. We tend to be our own worst critic. We tell
ourselves that we’re not good at public speaking, so when it comes time to give
a speech we’re so convinced that we’re going to mess up that we do. Our
attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But
just as you can psych yourself out, you can psych yourself up. In other words,
you can use the power of positive thinking to change your expectation. Rather
than expecting failure, you can expect success.

Here
are just a few techniques to try:

  • When
    you find yourself thinking that the speech will fail, tell yourself the speech
    will be successful.
  • Imagine
    the speech is over and that it went very well. Imagine yourself getting
    positive feedback from your colleagues and peers.
  • Ask
    yourself, would anyone else be as hard on me as am being on myself? Chances
    are, the answer is no.
  • Remind
    yourself of the things that you’ve already accomplished. (These past
    accomplishments don’t have to be related to public speaking.)

5.
Stay Calm

If
it helps you relax, meditate or even pray before your presentation. The key is
to reduce your stress level so that you can give your speech calmly. You’ll be
more comfortable giving your speech and your audience will be more receptive to
your message.

Other
techniques to relax include:

  • Listening
    to calming music
  • Exercising
  • Using
    breathing techniques
  • Aromatherapy

For
more information on how to recharge yourself mentally, study this article:

6.
Appearances Count: Dress for Success

If
you’re giving a public speech, that means your audience will see you. So,
whether you like it or not, how you look does make a difference. Sadly, many of
your listeners will judge you based on appearance (even if they don’t realize
they’re doing that).

You
want to look professional and competent as you give your public speech, so it’s
important to dress the part. It’s important to realize that professional dress
doesn’t necessarily always mean formal dress. What it means instead is that you
should be slightly better dressed than your audience members. For example: if
your audience is going to mostly be wearing shorts and tee shirts, you may want
to consider a business casual outfit of khakis and a professional top or shirt.

The
following tutorial was meant for people giving presentations on camera, but some
of the tips apply to live presentations as well (especially if you’re
broadcasting live online):

7. Make a Great First Impression

How
you open your speech gives your audience their first impression of you as a
speaker (and of where you’re going with your topic). That’s why it’s important
to make sure that you engage your audience right away. Pay special attention to
how you start your speech.

Some
common public speaking techniques for starting strong include:

  • Share
    an interesting story.
  • Ask
    a thought-provoking question.
  • Tell
    a joke (being careful to be appropriate for your audience).
  • Show
    a startling or otherwise eye-catching image.
  • Play
    a well-produced short video.

Once
you’ve made a good first impression and you’ve got your audience’s attention,
you’re ready to give the rest of your speech.

8.
Think of the Audience Members As Friends

If
you’re nervous about speaking in public, try this little trick. You probably
have no trouble talking to your friends, so imagine the audience is made up of
friends. If you’ve got actual friends in the audience, focus on those friendly
faces as you speak.

To
improve your public speaking skills, don’t think of your speeches as something
you’ve got to somehow get through. Instead, think of them as conversations you’re
having with your audience. The slight mental shift will help you to be a more
effective public speaker.

9. Pauses
Are Powerful

Short
pauses help you to pace your speech and also help you remember to breathe. Work regular
and strategic pauses in your speech. Pause a few seconds after each paragraph.
(You can time this by actually counting to two in your head.) Use longer pauses
before introducing a new idea for dramatic emphasis—especially if the idea is
an important one.

Pauses
are so important to effective public speaking that I suggest including major
pauses in your speech outline as a reminder to yourself. That way you won’t
forget to pause during your presentation.

If
you’re giving a longer speech, you’ll also want to give your audience a short
break during the speech. Not only will your audience be more comfortable if you
give them a break, but a break also gives audience members a chance to ask you
a question privately or network among themselves.

10. Use an Outline

Avoid
reading your speech from a transcript. Speeches that are read verbatim are
rarely effective. Plus, reading your speech limits your ability to make eye
contact with audience members, which makes you less relatable.

Also avoid using notecards, which could easily get out of
order. I once had a college professor who relied totally on notecards to give the
classroom presentations. Unfortunately, if the notecards were left on the desk
(which they often were) there were always those students who would shuffle them
as a prank.

If
you need something to help you keep your speech on topic (and most of us do) an
outline is your best bet. You can glance it quickly while you’re talking if you
find yourself forgetting what comes next. But you won’t be reading it
word-for-word. And if you use an outline it’s unlikely that your notes will get
out of order.

11.
End on a Strong Note

The
last things you say to your audience are nearly as important as the first things
that you say. For one thing, if you’ve held their attention throughout the
entire speech the audience is likely really interested in your message. But
even if they’re not interested, many people will tune in again at the close of
a presentation.

Be
sure to take full advantage of your speech’s close. During the close, you
should not only summarize your message, but also let your audience know what
additional steps they should take next. If you’ve just given a sales
presentation, this is called the “call to action.” It’s where you ask
your prospective customers for their business.

To
make the close of your speech more memorable, try adding an attention-grabber
such as a story that illustrates your message or a well-done video that summarizes
your speech.

Learn
More About Public Speaking

You’ve
just learned a lot about how to become a better public speaker, but there’s even
more to learn. For more information about public speaking, review these
tutorials:

Or,
work through all of our public speaking tutorials in our Fundamentals
of Public Speaking series
for a complete public speaking guide.

Plus, don’t forget to download The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations eBook now for FREE with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. Get your ideas formed into a powerful presentation that’ll move your audience!

The complete guide to making great presentations

Conclusion

You’ve just learned some quick public speaking tips and
tricks that’ll help you improve your public speaking skills fast. If you’ve
got to give a speech any time soon, you’ll want to use these quick tips for better public speaking right away. If you won’t be giving a speech any time soon (but
know that you eventually will give one), bookmark this tutorial for when you’ll
need it. Good luck on your next speech!