Public speaking is a necessity for many, but it’s often not a skill that comes naturally.
Matt Abrams, an educator and professional communicator, helps people of all backgrounds grow more confident in themselves and their public speaking abilities. If you’re seeking to improve this skill or overcome your anxiety or fear of it, check out his eight tips for becoming a self-assured, effective communicator.
- Consider your audience. Instead of focusing on what you want to tell them, think about what they need to hear. Also, determine what their attitudes are toward your topic and what they may perhaps be resistant to.
- Open strong with a story, a startling statistic, or a poll. Jumping right into the heart of your topic, rather than introducing yourself and what you’ll be talking about, will help get your audience immediately intrigued and engaged.
- Connect with your audience throughout your speech or presentation. You need to consistently involve those in attendance through physical, mental, and linguistic cues. For example, have them write something down, ask them questions, and use phrases like “imagine if” and “picture this,” which will help them better envision what you’re saying.
- Be strategic with your word choice, choosing language that will be the most effective with the group you’re talking to.
- Remember the goals of your communication. It should be informative, emotive, and actionable. Consider what you want your audience to know, how you want them to feel, and what you want them to do with or take away from what you’re telling them.
- Stay in the moment by reminding yourself that you bring value to the situation and have something unique to offer.
- Seek responses about what you presented. Questions and objections may not seem fun, but they are opportunities to engage more with your audience. Acknowledge any negative or confused perspectives, try to understand them completely, and then look for areas of agreement and ways to further share your position.
- Keep in mind that it takes time to become a good public speaker. It’s a skill you’ll have to develop, so be patient with yourself, practice, and learn from your past experiences.