Tips to Improve Your Public Speaking

  1. Realise your purpose in speaking – it is not about you – what do you want people to know, think and feel as a result of listening to you? Unless you are clear on this before you start to think about your presentation you will struggle to rise above the mediocre. Spend time on working this stuff out. Talk about it.
  2. If you are not passionate about – don’t talk about it. People recognise if you lack passion or authenticity. This is not about tub-thumping – it is about belief.
  3. It is not about ‘performance’ – it is about connection. Remember you want them to connect with you – not your powerpoint slides.
  4. Slow down. Use pauses. “I have a dream’ — pause, pause, pause — ‘that one day’ — pause, pause, pause — ‘this nation will rise up….” You don’t have to be Martin Luther King to let pauses improve your connection with the audience.
  5. Make eye contact.
  6. SMILE!
  7. Move towards the audience – get out from behind the podium or desk.
  8. Vary your tone, pace and pitch.
  9. Practice – as much as you can whenever you can.
  10. Repeat your key messages – most people will struggle to remember more than 2 key messages.  If you have more than 2 messages to get across then re-think your communications plan.
  11. Remember: ‘It is not about you’.

Communicating well, whether it is with a colleague or an audience of hundreds, is essential to management and leadership success.

When did you last take some time to improve your communication skills? For most people a small investment on some communication basics makes a big difference.

And if you read these tips and were thinking ‘I know all this’ just remember, it is not what you know – it is what you do! Communication is one area where the ‘Knowing/Doing’ gap can be dangerously wide.

“People will forget what you said,

people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how you made them feel”

Maya Angelou

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