A little over 6 months from now, I will be giving a speech in front of a couple thousand of people so in order to prepare, I thought it would only be appropriate to research the qualities of an effective public speaker. Public speaking is a difficult skill to grasp; after all, not all of us are comfortable in front of a crowd. It can be a little bit nerve-wracking and stressful. However, there is nothing you won’t be able to grasp if you don’t try, so let’s take a look at 7 signs of a confident and effective public speaker.
1. You Make Eye Contact
I’ve sat through a number of presentations during which the speaker never lifted his or her head to actually look at their crowd and connect. After all, as an effective public speaker, you want to get your message across and make sure that whatever is coming out of your mouth stays with your audience. Making eye contact gives the presentation more of a conversational vibe, therefore captivating the audience.
2. You Use Body Language
Giving a speech should be all about conversing with the audience and one of the ways to make a formal presentation more conversational is by using body language. Effective public speakers are not afraid to move around and use their hands to help them relay an idea. The little details such as body language really make a difference.
3. Your Speech is Not Just a Recital
There is nothing worse than having to listen to an hour presentation during which the speaker just plainly recites what he or she has memorized in a monotone manner. I remember my social science teacher once said that the trick to make your presentation a little bit more interesting is to change the intonation of your voice throughout your presentation. That way you won’t just capture the audience but you'll also put a little of feeling into what you are saying.
4. You Don’t Rely on ‘um’ and ‘like’
One of the most cringe worthy moments during a public speech is when the speaker constantly uses of words such as ‘um’ and ‘like.’ To avoid that catastrophic problem, this is when practice comes into play. Although you don’t want to just memorize the speech, you still want to be well prepared. Every good public speaker practices the speech in advance.
5. Your Voice is Clear and Loud
Under pressure, many people tend to talk at the speed of light, while others begin to murmur under their breath. However, in order to become good at public speaking, you have to overcome your fear and control your nervous behaviors. So if this is one of your problems, pay attention to the pace of your talking and don’t be afraid to raise the volume!
6. You Involve the Crowd
If you don’t want your audience to fall asleep, the best thing you can do is involve them in your speech or presentation. You can throw in a few questions here and there or add a comment that everyone can relate to. People need something to draw them into what you are saying!
7. You Are Prepared
Being prepared is the first step to becoming a good public speaker. Aside from practicing your speech, you should always dress appropriately and have any needed materials ready. Scrimmaging through your things in front of your audience will not give a good first impression.
Public speaking is not something we are all wired for. While some people are complete naturals, others feel like they don’t belong in the center of attention. Nonetheless, public speaking is a great skill to acquire in life. What are some of your tips for someone who is trying to become an effective public speaker?