A career professional seeking help writes: “I have a problem that has bothered me for years. Speaking in front of a group is quite difficult for me. My job requires public speaking in the form of training and education, but when I hear this, I will find an excuse to avoid going to work.”
“I shake with shaking hands and a wobbly voice, and I become so confused that I don’t know what I’m saying that I sometimes disagree with myself, which makes things worse. I’ve had thoughts of quitting my job because of this…”
Many people are in a similar situation to the young professional above. But it is essential, especially in today’s world, to hone your public speaking skills rather than run away because of fear.
There is virtually nothing you want to do in any area of life that may not require one form of public speaking or another. So it’s best to learn how to crush your fears and become a boss at public speaking.
- Public speaking is the process of speaking or making a presentation to a small or large audience, live or remote.
- Public speaking helps you build confidence and advance in your career, among other benefits.
- Persuasive, informational, motivational, transformational, and entertaining speeches are types of public speaking.
- Preparing an organized outline, effective practice, knowing your audience, and the use of anecdotes and humor are some tips that can help you improve your public speaking skills.
What is Public Speaking?
Public speaking is the process of speaking or making a presentation to a small or large audience, live or remote. Public speaking could also be formal or informal. It is also referred to as oratory or oration.
This is a communication tool that is used to influence, educate, entertain, or motivate changes in business places or any place in the community or society. There is no limit to the kinds of speeches that can be covered through public speaking.
The use of visual aids is employed to make public speaking more lively and engaging.
Why is it Even Important to Be Good At Public Speaking?
Public speaking plays a crucial role in many aspects of your life, including how quickly you advance in your career. Also, it helps you improve your relationships with others because people judge you based on your ability to express yourself clearly and influence others.
The following are more reasons why you need public speaking skills:
It Builds Your Confidence
Public speaking is avoided by many people. It takes courage to stand before a crowd to deliver a speech or talk about an idea. Whoever conquers their fears of public speaking is empowering their level of confidence with every successful speech or presentation they make. Your ability to communicate and influence others increases, and with that, your self-confidence soars.
Also, as you become a confident speaker, it places a premium on you at work, school, and in your personal life. And most especially in these days of personal brands. People from different walks of life are drawn to people who are confident.
If you are an entrepreneur or work in sales, your public speaking skills will help you get more prospects for your business or hit your sales targets. This does not mean professionals in other career fields do not need it. We do. As we are all personal brands in this digital age, selling our personas.
But public speaking skills particularly aid people who need to get more prospects for their business or organisation.
Public speaking skills also help you communicate better in job interviews. The better you are able to communicate, the higher your chances of landing your dream job. Not only that, it will help you present your case for a promotion when the need arises. Like in the case of a development professional who was bypassed for a promotion because her newest colleague had a foreign master’s degree. She was able to convince her employer otherwise because of her ability to present her ideas clearly.
It Helps You Make Better Social Connections
People are easily drawn to those who are effective orators. The high and mighty like to flock around people who can express their ideas clearly and influence others. One of the things cited as throwing former US president Barack Obama into the spotlight was his public speaking skills.
It Helps You to Better Manage Your Team
Every leader wants to succeed with their team. Whether that be leading a large organisation or a small team, your public speaking skills helps you achieve your goals seamlessly. You will be able to communicate the vision to your team members and inspire them to take the needed action to achieve the set goals.
Why is Everyone Afraid of Public Speaking?
The fear of public speaking is also referred to as glossophobia. It has been established that it is a common anxiety that people experience. However, only about 23% of people go ahead and conquer their fear.
It may interest you to know that the former US president, Barack Obama, who is often hailed for his public speaking excellence, once said he always felt anxiety before making public speeches. Also, Steve Harris, a quintessential personal development coach and corporate trainer, often asked for prayer support from his online followers whenever he was going to facilitate corporate training or speak at a conference. He always felt jittery with every new audience he had to communicate with, he said. This clearly shows that even people who are great public speakers still feel fear. However, they get past their fear and get the job done. People who dread public speaking can borrow a page from their books.
Again, some studies cite a lack of self-confidence and the fear of being judged, embarrassed, or rejected by others as reasons people fear speaking to audiences.
Types of Public Speaking
“Knowing the kind of speech will make its creation, development, and delivery an easy one for you,” says Kola Shaye, a DEI Inclusive Leadership and Communication Speaker. Kaye says there are five different types of public speaking:
This type of speech is meant to inform or educate your audience about a particular idea. According to Kaye, this is the go-to presentation type if you want your audience to understand a new concept. This type of speech is particularly used by teachers, educators, trainers, or lecturers.
This type of speech is directed towards making a call to action. You will be persuading your audience to buy something. Which can be buying a product or when you are selling an idea.
These types of speeches are intended to be witty, humorous, and employ the use of comedy or stories to create light entertainment for an audience.
In this class are inspirational and motivational speakers who charge or fire you up to turn a new leaf in any area of your life. However, the inspiration to change does not last beyond the room.
Transformational speakers help their audiences to take action right in the room and beyond. This is done by providing a series of exercises and activities that not only provide the inspiration but also the action that brings about the needed change.
How Do I Become a Better Public Speaker?
- It’s OK to feel nervous at the thought of public speaking. To calm your nerves, practice your speech a number of times so you can be confident you will make an excellent delivery. Practice while looking into the mirror, or in front of trusted friends who can let you know what you need to improve on. When you are familiar with the subject you want to communicate, you are halfway through the speech delivery. It will flow from you naturally.
- Before organizations create a product, they delve into research to find out about those who will be their prospective customers. The same goes for a speaker. There are many things you need to find out about your audience so that you can tailor your message to them.
- Outline your points properly. It allows you to keep your material organized and will make it easier for you to recall your points if you are speaking without your notes.
- Make use of humor, stories, anecdotes, and analogies to pass your message across. The appropriate use of them will make your speeches relatable. It will endear your audience to you.