Public Speaking is one of those topics that come up regularly around here. Quite often, when a person is looking for information about improving self confidence, it has something to do with public speaking. It seems that even the most confident people have trouble with this one. Public speaking, at least until you get used to it, is a nerve racking experience for most. On the plus side, the nerves are usually at their worst before giving the presentation. The anticipation seems to be the hardest part of it. Once you get out there and start talking, things usually get a lot easier as long as you took the time to properly prepare.
Public speaking is defined as the process of delivering an oratory presentation to a group in a planned and organized manner in order to teach, instruct, persuade or entertain the audience. It is used in any number of ways for any number of reasons. Anything from giving a toast at your brothers wedding to addressing an auditorium full of people can be considered public speaking.
In our personal life, public speaking has its uses. The confident speaker will address the group with ease and will be more prone to lead due to the comfort with which he can speak his mind. This has it is usefulness in many facets of social activity as well. Someone who feels confident speaking to large groups will be the life of the party, will draw attention naturally, and will make an excellent host for any gathering or party.
Usually when we think of public speaking, we are thinking of a more professional setting. This is where the skill really shines and its value in this area is ranked among the highest business skills. You ability to effectively address a large group of people will significantly affect your image in the workplace. A great speaker appears confident, intelligent and in control.
In the world of sales, public speaking is paramount among some of the most lucrative skills. In fact, there are many who have focused their careers on public speaking and nothing else. The best of this field usually become somewhat iconic earning great wealth and achieving a social status not unlike fame. Public speaking is a diverse and prized skill that is an excellent addition to anyone’s mental toolbox for success.
There are many components of successful public speaking but in general, it boils down to just a few main areas. You must have the right message for your audience. If you address a PTA meeting with a speech about tuning a motorcycle engine, you are not likely to be well received. Know your audience and understand how your material relates to their needs. Make sure that your content is well researched, thorough, and accurate and that you are familiar with it.
Another main factor in successful public speaking is your self confidence. Your confidence is absolutely to your ability to effectively reach your audience. You must believe in your material and you must believe in yourself in order to deliver a message that people will be eager to accept. This is especially true if the nature of your presentation involves elements of persuasion. When your goal is to influence people’s decisions, confidence is king. People are unlikely to believe in your message if the get the feeling that you yourself do not fully embrace it.
The other important piece of the public speaking puzzle is your ability to identify with and connect to your audience. This involves element of style, personality, relationships, confidents, charisma or even humor. Your ability to deliver the message in such a way that it really sinks in and has its intended effect is what will set you apart from other speakers. This is where the difference between a person who is simply talking to group and a true public speaker begins to stand out.
Conquering your nerves is only the first step. You also have to find ways to keep it interesting.
Although we refer to this highly critical skill set as public speaking, it is actually much more than that. It does not necessary need to occur in a public setting. This skill deals with our ability to communicate with others on any level. This is why it is such a critical skill. It affects your ability to lead, to address large crowds, to teach students or train new staff. It allows you to give effective presentations, proposals, interviews and any other situation where you must address people and deliver a message.
Public speaking, presenting, teaching, instructing – however you want to label it – is critical to your success in life. Whether you are on a stage, a call, a webinar or writing a book the way you communicate effects the outcome.
Public Speaking skills will enhance your life in many ways. Get as much practice as you can. Educate yourself on the finer points of speaking effectively. Be enthusiastic, use humor or stories, use and active voice, address your audience directly using “second person when possible,” be concise, direct and to the point. Keep at it and you can take your public speaking skills to any level that you wish. You will be amazed at the doors that a skill like this can open for you.