Updated July 29, 2023
What is the Art of Public Speaking?
The art of public speaking is the skill of effectively communicating and delivering a message to an audience. It’s about sharing information, ideas, or stories to keep the listeners interested and help them understand your message.
People use public speaking in different situations like at work, school, parties, or when giving important speeches. It’s a valuable skill that can inform, persuade, inspire, or entertain others.
Table of Contents
- What is the Art of Public Speaking?
9 Tips and Techniques to Improve Public Speaking Skills
Mastering the art of public speaking takes time, practice, and dedication. Here are some steps and tips to help you become a more confident and compelling public speaker.
1. Know your Audience and their Interests to form a Connection
Understand your target audience and adjust your presentation to match their interests, needs, and level of knowledge. It will help you connect with them and keep them interested and engaged.
2. Give a Logical Structure to your Content
Your speech should have a logical flow and must be easy to follow. Start with a strong opening to capture the audience’s attention and then introduce your main points. Finally, conclude with a memorable closing statement or a call to action.
3. Practice your Speech Multiple Times
To build confidence and reduce nervousness, practice your speech in front of a mirror, friends, or colleagues. Recording yourself can also help enhance your presentation skills.
4. To Make your Presentation Engaging, use Visual Aids
Include visual tools like simple slides, appealing graphs, or relevant videos in your presentation, but make sure they don’t distract your audience from the main message.
5. Interact with the Audience to Keep them Interested
Interact with the audience by asking rhetorical questions, using relevant anecdotes & stories, etc. Keep them interested in what you’re saying and encourage them to ask questions.
6. Use Engaging Body Language to Highlight Key Messages
Your body language can influence how others receive your message. Thus, maintaining eye contact and using appropriate hand gestures can help emphasize any important points.
7. Gain the Audience’s Trust by Being Authentic
Being authentic, enthusiastic, and passionate about your topic during the presentation makes it relatable and memorable, building trust with the audience.
8. Show your Expertise by Gracefully Answering the Audience’s Questions
Responding and interacting with audience questions shows your expertise and helps you connect with the audience. If you don’t know the answer, be honest, and offer to follow up with them later.
9. Respect the Time Limit and Ask for Feedback
Avoid speaking too fast or slow and stick to the time limit for your speech. Leave room for audience questions if possible. After the speech, ask for feedback from friends or colleagues to improve your future presentation skills.
Example: Successfully Pitching a Fitness App to the Client
Carol is an experienced app developer. She is currently leading a team to create a new fitness-tracking app for a fitness and wellness company. The CEO, marketing director, and marketing executive of this fitness company want a detailed presentation before proceeding with the project. To prepare for the pitch, Carol follows the below steps to master the art of public speaking:
Here is Carol’s speech divided into the techniques she used for an effective presentation.
Carol: “Good morning, everyone. Thank you for having me here today. I’m Carol, an app developer at XYZ company. We are excited to present you our novel fitness tracking app that will help your business to excel in the wellness sector”.
Knowing Your Audience
Carol: “Before diving into the details, I want to congratulate you on the incredible work your company has done in promoting health and well-being. After thorough research, we made sure that we target the age group of 20 to 45 years and that our app matches perfectly with your users’ fitness goals.”
Visual Aids and App Design
Carol (presenting slides): “As you can see from these visuals, our app has a modern and stylish design with the latest trends in fitness technology. It’s not only easy to use but also attractive to look at. Plus, the following slides will explain the app’s features in detail and what makes our app so unique”.
Handling Questions and Concerns
Client (CEO): “How is your app different from other fitness tracking apps in the market?” Carol: “Great question! While there are indeed other apps, our app uses advanced technology and is designed with the user in mind. We have also rectified the problem users face with the existing apps to provide them with a better experience.”
Engaging the Audience
Carol: “Lastly, we really need your input in this process. What do you think would interest your audience the most? Can you help us figure out how we can show your brand identity in the design? We want to work together to make this app successful”.
5 Ps of Public Speaking
To deliver a powerful and impactful speech, you must follow the 5 Ps that will make your message loud and clear. You should follow two sets of “5 Ps” before and during the speech. Mastering both “5 Ps” will elevate your public speaking skills.
|Purpose: Know your message and your goal.
|Pitch: Use a different tone to emphasize certain points.
|Passion: Connect with your topic and show enthusiasm.
|Pace: Speak clearly and at a comfortable speed.
|Planning: Research and organize your speech with a clear structure.
|Pronunciation: Pronounce each word clearly to ensure the public understands every point.
|Practice: Practice your content multiple times to build confidence.
|Pause: Pause when necessary so your audience can absorb the concept.
|Performance: Learn to deliver your message effectively and clearly.
|Projection: Speak with enough volume to reach the audience.
Public Speaking Types
|To convey data or information.
Example: Giving a lecture on a historical event.
|To convince people to take action.
Example: Selling a product to customers.
|To entertain and engage the audience.
Example: Performing a comedy routine at a comedy club.
|To honor the occasion during a ceremony.
Example: Best man giving a speech.
|To explain and teach a concept.
Example: Cooking instructor showing the recipe for a dish.
What are the Benefits of Public Speaking?
- Improved Communication Skills: Practicing public speaking will help you to express your ideas better and clearly convey your message to different types of people.
- Boost Self-Confidence: Public speaking may seem scary at first, but with enough practice, you will feel more confident, making you feel good about yourself.
- Enhance Leadership Skills: Being a strong and influential leader requires you to inspire your team, and public speaking can teach you how to engage and motivate others.
- Expand Network and Social Connections: It helps you meet new people, like potential mentors or like-minded individuals, which can lead to exciting opportunities and collaborations.
- Career Advancement: It is an essential skill that can make you a highly valued candidate and open up more opportunities for your career.
- Improves Research Skills: When you regularly give public speeches, you learn to conduct thorough research and find relevant information from trustworthy sources.
- Strengthen Critical Thinking Skills: Public speaking encourages you to think on your feet and respond to questions or challenges effectively, enhancing your ability to think critically and make sound decisions.
- No Fear of Impromptu Speaking: Regular public speaking makes you confident in tackling unplanned questions or situations as you learn to rely on your knowledge, critical thinking, and communication skills.
- Be a Better Listener: Public speaking involves paying attention to your audience’s responses and feedback, which improves your listening skills.
- Influence and Build Better Public Relations: It teaches you to influence others to support a cause or adopt a viewpoint, which enhances your public relations, attracts customers, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. How do you deal with public speaking anxiety?
Answer: Here are a few things you can do to deal with public speaking anxiety:
- Prepare thoroughly and be confident in your knowledge of the topic
- After preparing your speech, practice it regularly
- Shift your focus on your breathing pattern
- If you feel anxious with too many people, start with smaller audiences and try engaging with the crowd
- If your anxiety is extreme, join public speaking groups for support and seek professional help.
However, being perfect is impossible, so embrace imperfections. Remember, with practice and perseverance, you can effectively overcome public speaking anxiety.
Q2. What are some top public speaking courses?
Answer: Various institutions and organizations offer public speaking courses catering to different skill levels and objectives. Below is the list of top public speaking courses:
- Fear of Public Speaking: Never Fear Public Speaking Again (Udemy)
- Communicate with Confidence: Learn to Give Powerful Speeches (Domestika)
- PUBLIC SPEAKING: How to Open & Close Presentations Like a Boss (Skillshare)
- Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking (Harvard University)
- Public Speaking for Non-Native English Speakers (LinkedIn Learning)
Q3. Name some best public speaking books to improve communication and presentation skills.
Answer: Some excellent public speaking books can help you improve your communication and presentation skills.
- “The Art of Public Speaking” by Dale Carnegie
- “The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking” by Dale Carnegie
- “Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds” by Carmine Gallo
- “Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers” by James C. Humes
- “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Berkun
These books cover various public speaking topics, offering unique perspectives and strategies. Select the ones that align with your goals to improve your public speaking skills.
This is a guide to the Art of Public Speaking. Here, we mention its meaning, Tips and Techniques, 5 Ps, Types, and Benefits. We have also added a Case Study for your understanding. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –