Updated June 9, 2023
Introduction to Public Speaking Techniques:
Public speaking techniques are a powerful asset to any individual. It allows us to leave a profound and lasting impact on others. And yet, this is an opportunity most people neglect, as they are terrified of expressing themselves in front of an audience! Fortunately, this is also one skill that is relatively easy to develop. In this post, we walk you through 8 supremely practical tips to sharpen your public speaking techniques. If you can patiently and persistently work through the ideas listed below, you’ll rouse crowds with your powerful speeches in no time!
Public Speaking Techniques:
Below are some techniques that will improve your public speaking skills.
1. Just jump in
Here’s our first (potentially shocking) suggestion: Sign up for the first public speaking opportunities you come across! It may be a week or even a few days from now; do it!
Our mind has the potential to come up with dozens – no, millions of excuses to justify our procrastination. And if we continue to listen to it, we’ll never get started! Act NOW and sign up for the next opportunity to speak in public. This need not be an elaborate affair; a team meeting at work, a casual presentation to junior colleagues, or even a 10-minute speech at your apartment union will do just fine. Just Jump In!
Once you’re committed and find that you HAVE to deliver a speech soon, you’ll be amazed to see that your public speaking techniques take a dramatic turn.
2. Well-begun is indeed half done
Now that you’ve prepared yourself, the next step is to focus on the first 3 minutes of your speech. Yes, that is your only immediate concern. You see, you engage or lose the audience in the first 3 minutes. This “moment of truth” determines how successful your first stunt at public speaking techniques will be. So find a way to powerfully “hook” the audience right after you step on stage.
- You could,
- Start with a potent one-liner.
- Share a rib-tickling joke.
- State some (possibly shocking) statistics.
- Make an outrageous (but decent) gesture.
- Play an attention-grabbing audio-visual.
And there lies your key: use these 3 minutes to grab the audience’s attention so they stay riveted for the rest of the speech. If they decide your speech is “worth it” for those precious few minutes, they will stick with you for the rest of your presentation.
3. Say ‘Hello’ with expressive eyes
You’ve got that great start figured out (You *think*). You walk into a room with your head held high, step onto the stage and see 200 unknown, unsmiling faces looking back at you as they wait for precious pearls of wisdom to drop from your mouth. At that exact moment, the butterflies in your stomach transform into monster-sized raccoons and run wild. Your throat is dry, you’ve forgotten your opening line, and you can hear your heartbeat – oh wait, was that thunder in your head?
There! We’ve laid out your worst public speaking nightmares. This image is what puts most people off public speaking opportunities! There’s good news. You can beat this utterly terrifying scene by simply making eye contact.
Greet your audience as you say ‘Hello’ with expressive eyes. Turn right and express “Hey there”; turn left, “Hello to you too.” Reach out to the person in the last row and greet him with your eyes. Come back to the front row and repeat. Greet every corner of your audience with friendly, smiling eyes.
You may wonder what is the big deal here: you’re only making eye contact. Right?
You haven’t spoken a word yet, but you’ve said a lot with your eyes.
- Thank you. I’m glad to make your acquaintance.
- I appreciate you being here.
- I’m here to talk to YOU. (And you, and you too.)
- I respect your presence and your time.
You’ve heard the adage about our eyes being the luminous window to our soul, so use this powerful tool to connect and make friends with your audience. This profound exercise should take only 20 seconds (anything more represents dawdling) but can create a sense of camaraderie with your audience and set the stage for a harmonious session.
4. Practice before a mirror
This extends the above exercise, where you say ‘Hello’ to your eyes.
(Believe us, this is even scarier stuff, more terrifying than those monster raccoons!)
Think about it; you have ample opportunities to meet your eyes in the mirror: when you wash your hands, comb your hair, style yourself, etc. And yet, how often do you make sustained eye contact with yourself?
Here’s a secret from public speaking techniques warriors: If you want to face others confidently, you must face yourself with confidence too.
You can do this by practicing before a mirror. Try this exercise right now to test its power. Take a few minutes off to find a mirror, and look yourself in the eye for 5 minutes. Just gaze at it as you breathe in and out. You will come back feeling a lot more centered.
Another good reason to practice before the mirror is to review your visual ‘game film.’ Much like how athletes review their game film to understand what they’re doing wrong, practicing before a mirror will alert you about any unusual body language movements you make out of habit (like twitching your nose or guffawing loudly or snorting mid-laugh). You now have the awareness to fix this, so you feel confident even as you present.
5. Become a Ninja with your material
So far, we’ve been working on the first 3 minutes of your talk. Now, it’s time to get the rest of your material in place.
We’ll not ask you to become an expert on your material (you’ll wait until eternity). But we will ask you to become a Ninja with what you have.
A public speaking Ninja techniques:
- Good at what he does.
- Knows what he doesn’t know (and stays “safe” with it).
- Understands his audience well and pitches his speech (E.g., he’s likely to use less jargon at a beginner’s club). Be passionate about what you speak!
- Uses the 3 E’s to strengthen his public speaking techniques and connect with his audience:
- Engages them so they participate. (You can throw in a fun trivia quiz, ask for their opinion mid-way, call someone by name, etc.)
- Entertains them so their attention stays on him. (Personal anecdotes and crazily funny stories are a good way to do this.)
- Enlightens them so they come back for more. (Always share something extra, so they leave enriched.)
- Knows how to deal with an opponent (that pesky audience member who asks scary questions).
- Can get back on his feet after dealing with the opponent. (Hint: Subtly turn attention away from a difficult question. Gracefully accept you don’t know, crack a joke and move on.)
- Keeps the show running with a smile, no matter what happens!
The trick to achieving this is to have a handy stream of positive distractions ready: jokes, stories, inspirational quotes, and personal anecdotes. They can help you pace your session. Public speaking basics are about more than just your expertise on the main topic; how you engage your audience off the topic also matters. Training to be a public speaking techniques Ninja (as advised above) empowers you to play this right.
6. Invite friends to your speech
Let us give you the straight truth: you are unlikely to deliver a Mark Antony speech with your first few attempts (unless you ARE Mark Antony reincarnated!)
Hence it’s worthwhile inviting friends over for the first couple of times. They could help you:
- Find familiar, smiling faces in the audience. (What a relief!)
- Provide subtle cues if you get stuck mid-way.
- Observe your tone, body language, and delivery, and give constructive feedback.
Most importantly, friends who’ve been a part of your public speaking basics journey can also celebrate with you as you transform from a newbie to a seasoned maestro.
7. Emulate to Inspire
Emulation is an easy way to learn from great minds. If you’re truly passionate about public speaking basics, find yourself some real-life heroes. Perhaps you’re drawn to the flamboyance of Richard Branson, the towering presence of Tony Robbins, the warmth of Wayne Dyer, or the quiet strength and humor of Nick Vujicic – each can inspire you with varying energies.
Watch videos of their talks to learn how they own every stage. Intensely listen to their audio so you catch how they subtly vary their tone, voice modulation, and pace. Contemplate what makes the audience like – love, respect, and admire them every single time. You could take this a step further and follow multiple heroes. Become a disciple of great public speaking basics. You will learn to cleverly combine several winning facets with building your unique brand presence.
8. Respect boundaries
If you are well known with public speaking techniques on a professional platform, you’ll have some guidelines to adapt: a format for your speech, the timeline, dress code, etc. Respect these boundaries so they feel comfortable inviting you again.
Here’s a simple routine that enables you to do this.
- Get on stage at least a half-hour early. This gives you ample time to check that the stage is set right, fix any issues, and ensure no untoward surprises.
- Approach your audience before and after your speech. You will get surprising insights that can better your speech.
- If possible, center yourself with a 2-minute motivation in front of a mirror before you start speaking. (You can carry a compact mirror to make this easier.) Don’t drink yourself to a full bladder before your speech and upset your routine.
- Start and finish on time, no matter what happens. Period.
- Thank your host and audience once you’re done.
Like any skill, public speaking techniques take (some) practice. Give yourself time and opportunities to have this. Quoting Confucius again, “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” Your public speaking basics journey stands guaranteed for unconditional success as long as you have the resilience to last until that happens.
Finally (and this is an important tip), enjoy your speech yourself as much as you want the audience to. Maintain a strong positive self-image and all that!
We hope that this EDUCBA information on “Public Speaking Techniques” was beneficial to you. You can view EDUCBA’s recommended articles for more information,