Great public speakers, such as those found on the books of bureaux such as NMP Live, have a rare talent. It’s not easy to capture the imagination of a crowd and keep them entertained. The best ones make this look effortless.
So, what’s the secret to being the perfect speaker? Some of it, undoubtedly, comes back to natural talent. But practice can make you better. By studying the best, you can take lessons for your own efforts.
Here are five qualities to consider if you’re striving for perfection…
Make it personal
When speaking, you need to be yourself. Authenticity is what people strive for, so there is no point trying to tell a story that’s not yours – this won’t have the same impact.
Authentic speakers open up and share their failures and challenges, speaking with passion and a purpose that helps to carry the audience along a journey with them.
Wherever possible, insert a personal element into your public speaking. You might feel shy, but doing so will lift your speeches and help to engage the audience.
Practice makes perfect
You’ve heard this before, but it’s just so true – practice makes perfect. Put simply, the more you speak – and the more you do this in front of a crowd – the more you learn what does and doesn’t work and how to modify your technique to get your message across. Established public speakers do this regularly, and that’s part of the reason they seem so natural.
Avoid talking in a tone that seems too rehearsed – you’re speaking, not reading. Make sure people can hear you, don’t be afraid of slowing down and don’t mumble your words. We suggest recording yourself giving a speech and listening back to it a bit later on. You’ll be able to tell when and where you start to sound a bit off.
Inspire and connect
Think about ways to inspire your audience and involve them in your efforts. Quite often these days people aren’t engaged with what they’re listening to and can often be seen on their phones. Think of ways to grab their attention – perhaps with visuals on a screen or sections that require participation.
To successfully speak in public you need to be confident within yourself. Have a think about what makes you relaxed, whether that’s exercise, meditation or some extra practice. Plan ahead and incorporate these into your activities in the day and hours leading up to your speech. Everyone is different and no routine is wrong – don’t be afraid of doing what works for you.