Public Speaking Tips – 3 Ways To Speak Confidently And Engage With Your Audience

If you have been looking for a few public speaking tips to help you get through your next presentation, then the following 3 ideas will ensure you get a great response from your audience.

1. Use Plenty of Eye Contact

Public speaking is all about engaging with your audience, and nothing works better than eye contact if you want to make each member of the audience feel involved and important. One or two seconds is about right for each person. Obviously this public speaking tip is easier with a small to medium-sized audience (say up to 100 people), but even with a larger group you will want to make sure that you look regularly at each section of the audience for a few seconds. Another important aspect of this public speaking tip is to try and include everyone in your audience and not just those who are smiling or nodding in agreement. In fact, you will want to spend more time focussing on those who look as if they are unconvinced by your message because the ‘nodders’ have already been won over!

2. Just Be Yourself

One mistake that we often make as public speakers is to try to be like someone else. We see a ‘personality’ or a well-known public speaker doing a good job, and we think “If I speak like them I will be as successful as they are.” This is only true up to a point. We can certainly take note of things that they do particularly well, and practice emulating these, but we should never lose sight of the fact that they have built their success around the ‘core’ of who they are.

For example, Barack Obama has a naturally calm and considered speaking style that works well for him because it is a part of who he is. It would be ludicrous for him to try and switch to the more energetic style of, say, Jim Carrey because this would immediately come across as contrived and even fake. That’s not to say that he, or you if you have a similar personality, shouldn’t use humour and high energy if the occasion demands it. And that is the crucial point of this particular public speaking tip. To achieve success as a public speaker you will want to develop your own personal style, modified as necessary to suit the audience, the occasion and the topic. This is the best way to deliver speeches that are authentic and convincing.

3. Warm Up Beforehand

This is a public speaking tip that I discovered almost by accident. I was turning up to deliver talks with little time to spare between getting out of the car and walking up to the podium, and I was finding that it took some time for my speech to really get going. I was nervous and uncertain, and as a result I was losing momentum during that vital first 30 seconds or so when the audience was trying to decide whether I was worth listening to. Then one day I turned up earlier, had a bit of a light-hearted chat with some audience members beforehand, and found that when it came time to speak I was much more at ease.

The moral of the story is that public speaking is in some respects just like playing a sport; you need to warm up beforehand to get the best results and avoid ‘injuring’ yourself. And after all, singers warm up before a concert, so why shouldn’t public speakers? If you are driving to the venue, have a good friendly conversation with your fellow passengers and this will warm up your voice muscles and make you feel more relaxed. Even if you are alone, you can practice your speech out aloud as you drive along – it doesn’t matter what the other car drivers think! This public speaking may sound too simple, but trust me, it works.

In this article you have seen the importance of using eye contact to better connect with your audience, and of building your speaking style around your own personal strengths rather than those of someone else. You have also seen that a ‘warm up’ is a great way to vanquish nerves and develop a closer rapport with your audience. By using these 3 public speaking tips you will be able to rapidly improve your public speaking confidence and personal authenticity, and will find that speaking in public can be a highly enjoyable and empowering experience for both you and your audience.