3 Strategies for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills

November 5, 2015

8:00 pm

Being an entrepreneur, there are many times when your ability to effectively communicate can make or break your business.  Whether you are recruiting new employees, pitching to investors, or forming business partnerships, your ability to build rapport and articulate your goals in a professional fashion will ultimately determine your success in succeeding at those endeavors.  Compared to addressing clients, business partners, and investors one-on-one, speaking to them as a group provides an entire new set of opportunities…which also entail additional challenges. Public speaking, whether it is to pitch your product or move an audience, is one of the most impactful tools when it comes to building your brand and growing your business.

However, it doesn’t always come naturally to everyone.  Public speaking can be hard, especially when you don’t have practice or are under-prepared.  Even for those who don’t excel at public speaking, there are three tools you can utilize (like this ultimate guide to public speaking) to improve your skills, and become a master at speaking to audience.

Practice, Practice, Practice

There is no replacement for getting out there and doing it.  Practice public speaking as much as you can.  Present in front of family, friends – anyone who will listen.  To fine-tune your skills, practice in front of a mirror.  This will help you see what you look and sound like, and will make you more comfortable once you get on stage.  The more you rehearse for yourself, the more comfortable you will be when it comes time to get on stage.  If you do it enough, the words will come out naturally; it becomes muscle memory. This is especially important if you experience anxiety or stage fright.  By practicing over and over again, your presentation will be smooth and flow naturally even if you freeze up a bit.

Listen to a Professional’s Opinion

Public speaking is part art, part science. There are many proven strategies that you can work on to improve your skills, and different training methods and tactics you can apply.  Perhaps the most effective (and certainly the most popular) book for public speaking amongst the tech community, is the new book Present, written by Poornima Vijayashanker, CEO of Femgineer.  In her book, Poornima describes the ways to become an expert at public speaking. Make sure to talk with experts and experienced presenters who can share their knowledge on the finer points of public speaking.

Watch Others

Watching expert public speakers on YouTube and in person will help you paint a picture of what proper public speaking looks like. By viewing others, you will be able to internalize it yourself. This will help teach you the proper physical gestures, tones, and mechanisms that are part of great public speaking.

Ultimately, through practice, resources, and observing others, you can effectively become a skilled public speaker who can move audiences.

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Jake is an Account Executive at HubSpot. He's formerly the VP of Business Development at Alumnify. In addition to Tech.Co, Jake has contributed to Inc., The Huffington Post, and Elite Daily.

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