Knowing how to speak in public is an increasingly required set of skills both in the context of training and in the professional context. Communication, in short, has come to be seen as a fundamental element of both learning and work, and that is why giving talks, exhibitions or conferences is the usual way of demonstrating that one is fluent in that domain.
In this article we will see several tips on how to speak in public that go beyond the techniques of not getting too nervous when speaking in front of a crowd of people.
- Related article: “The 28 types of communication and their characteristics”
How to speak well in public: 6 tips
In the following lines you will find various techniques to make the most of your skills and knowledge when speaking in public, without letting the situation overcome you, and expressing yourself with the fluidity and naturalness with which you would do so in front of a single individual. Of course, you must keep in mind that these key ideas must be adapted to your case.
1. Learn the ideas, not the text
When preparing the content of the talk you are going to give, a good way to avoid falling into extreme nervousness is to rule out, from the beginning, the possibility of literally learning the entire script you have written.
Instead of that, Read the text over and over again and remember the idea you convey in each line..
In practice, the way you will say it will be very similar to the formula with which you express yourself in the script (because for some reason you have chosen it as the best way to explain what you want to say), and also in that way your Your attention will not be divided between the effort to remember and concern for the image you are giving.
2. Bet on simplicity in the first sentences
At the beginning of a talk in which we speak in public, one of the main objectives is to capture the attention of the audience, and this is something that is achieved by using relatively simple sentences, easy to understand, and not too long.
This makes the session more bearable for the audience, but in fact It is also a good thing for you, as a speaker. The reason for this is that it will be less difficult for you to speak during the first sentences, something that will contribute to the “warming up” of the muscles that you need to move to vocalize well, and it offers you many points of support in the frequent pauses that you will find at the end of the sentences.
Furthermore, this advice also serves as a preventive measure to have a lower risk of making a mistake during the first minute of the talk, something that in itself would not be catastrophic in the eyes of the audience, but which can have a very stressful psychological effect on oneself as a speaker, since the fear of having made a bad first impression appears.
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3. Do visualization exercises
Another tip on how to speak in public without getting nervous is to mentally train yourself for the type of experience the talk is going to be.
To do this, close your eyes and imagine yourself speaking in public, having a very positive impact on your audience. Don’t stop to recreate the content of your speech; instead of that, focus on the details of what surrounds you and on people’s reactionshow they laugh at the joke you use, how they follow you with their eyes because of the interest they have in your message, etc.
This tip helps you start thinking about the talk not only as a challenge, but also as a possible reward.
4. Don’t be afraid of silence
Going without speaking for a while is not bad in itself, it is something that even if it is a consequence of having been left blank, it can be hidden.
Therefore, prepare a small protocol about what you should do if on a certain occasion you have a little trouble remembering what to say next: drink from a bottle of water, show a reflective expression, etc. Something as simple as that gives us greater self-confidence, since it acts as a cushion that protects us if we ever stumble.
5. Gesture to facilitate expressiveness
This advice has to do with not using arm and hand gestures as an imposture when speaking, but as a way to enhance expressiveness.
It may seem silly, but make hand movements that are consistent with the tone and musicality of your speechin addition to giving visual clues to the meaning of what you are saying, makes it easier to speak in a more expressive way.
So to speak, the muscles responsible for speech synchronize with those you move with your arms, and both muscle groups begin to work in a more fluid way, reinforcing each other.
6. Go to a specialist
A very good way to quickly improve when it comes to public speaking is to have a professional who designs and supervises training of this type.
In the city of Valencia, Nacho Coller Porta is one of the most recommended psychologists who offer this type of services, based on training in public speaking techniques and supervision of real cases in which you have to speak in front of other people. Here you can see it on video:
- McCornack, S. and Ortiz, J. (2017). Choices & Connections: An Introduction to Communication.
- Ridgley, S. K. (2012). The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting: What your professors don’t tell you… What you absolutely must know. Anthem Press.