Public speaking skills are important and useful for every person at every stage right from their education to career and general life. The ability to influence people, conversations and situations through speaking can have a positive impact in so many situations, from seminar presentations at university, to job interviews, to participating in and leading meetings once you have that job.
There are lots of tips and techniques you can practice to improve your public speaking, but there’s one crucial element that can sometimes go unnoticed:
Preparing for a situation where you’ll be speaking in front of people is one of the best ways to ensure you communicate confidently and effectively. Try these tips to help you prepare:
Know your material inside out
The more familiar you are with the content, the better your speaking will be. Take a real interest in the topic you’re discussing or the job you’re applying for and ensure that any slides or responses that you prepare are well structured. Use mind maps or cue cards so that you can recall your key points easily. This will help you to avoid getting flustered or losing your place.
Research wider themes and prepare for likely questions
Don’t just learn exactly what you’re going to say on the day. If you’re presenting on a topic, think about related themes that your audience may be interested in. If you’re preparing for an interview, research the organisation and sector thoroughly and consider your own strengths that don’t necessarily relate exactly to the job description. All this will help you prepare great responses to possible questions you might be asked, which can be a daunting part of public speaking!
Sit in front of the mirror, grab a friend or family member, even video yourself. This will help you familiarise yourself with the content in a more informal environment, and you’ll find out which parts are still hazy. Receiving constructive feedback will identify areas where you can improve as well as building your confidence about speaking in front of people.