5 Steps to Becoming a Public Speaking Pro | Reader's Digest

5 Steps to Becoming a Public Speaking Pro

Learn how to speak confidently in front of others.

By Reader's Digest Editors
Public Speaking© Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Speaking in front of people can be a rewarding and engaging experience, but it can also be terrifying. Public speaking doesn’t have to be traumatic, however, if you remember a few simple steps. Keep these tips in the back of your mind as you prepare for your next public presentation.

1. Be confident and enthusiastic

You’ve been asked to speak in front of others because you know something about the subject at hand. Those that invited you to speak already have confidence in your ability, so be confident in yourself. You know the subject and have been successful with it so be sure to be enthusiastic about your work. It’s fun for an audience to listen and engage with someone who is excited about the subject at hand.

2. Have a solid take-away

If an audience member were to sum up your speech in 30 seconds, what would she say? Figure out exactly what you want the audience to walk away remembering and use that as a starting point to craft your speech.

3. Know your audience

Have a clear understanding about your audience before you begin crafting your speech. Your approach will vary if the audience members are experts in the field, students, or just people who are interested in the subject matter.

4. Be flexible

The day of your speech there may be external factors that change your presentation. A fire drill, a rowdy audience member, or a change in venue are just a few of the things that could come up. If you breathe, stay relaxed, and try to remain open to changes, both you and the audience will have a great experience no matter what obstacles occur.

5. Practice, practice, practice

Know your speech so well that you could give it from memory – but be sure to still keep your notes on you in case you forget key points. Try practicing your speech in front of a friend or mirror. You could also tape record yourself for valuable feedback that could make your speech stronger. Be sure to practice your speech by speaking slowly, clearly, and comfortably.

Plus: Lessons on Public Speaking from The King’s Speech

Sources: MIT.edu and Lifehacker.com

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