5 Tips for Public Speaking

Getting up on stage can be a terrifying experience for somebody who has little or no experience public speaking, however it doesn’t have to be.

If you are looking to increase your influence as a Leader, developing your public speaking skills is critical. Here are 5 tips that I’ve put together from over a decade of speaking to groups large and small, to help develop or improve your public speaking skills.

1. Consider your audience

As you can imagine, speaking to high school students vs. baby boomers requires using different vocabulary and vernacular to effectively communicate with them in a way that they will understand your message best.

If you are travelling for a speaking engagement, are there different social cues or taboos to include or eliminate?

2. Prepare your message

A simple way to begin your speech is start with the acronym, KDF. Know, Do, Feel. What do you want your audience to know? What do you want them to do? How do you want them to feel?

Using KDF allows you to not only deliver a message, but also create a call to action while inspiring your audience by creating an emotion so they ‘buy-in’ to both you as a speaker and the topic you’re speaking about.

3. Practice, practice, practice

You don’t need any notes on stage when you’ve spent time practicing your bullet points and through-line. Practice = confidence.

4. Pretend like you’re talking to ONE person

If you’re on a stage with bright lights, you probably can’t see anybody in the audience – so how do you create a connection?

Think about who in your life needs that message. If you can mentally envision one person (although you’re in front of 10, 100 or 1000+ people) your message will be delivered more authentically.

5. Record your speech and get feedback

The most important, and hardest, thing to do is to go back and listen and watch your speech. No matter how uncomfortable it is to watch yourself, its valuable to see your body language, timing, voice projection etc.

Next, ask for candid feedback. Spot check your work, and ask: What’s the message I was trying to deliver? What do you think I was trying to get people to do? What was I trying to get people to feel? If they offer answers that were way off, then it’s a good opportunity to adjust your next speaking opportunity

Every opportunity to speak is an opportunity to get better. Good luck!

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