Stepping Stones to Becoming a Better Speaker
There’s a reason why you’ve heard the phrase “practice makes perfect” constantly throughout your life. Practicing is crucial when it comes to public speaking and can make a huge impact on how your audience views you and your speech. Too many speakers just review their slides and read them once or decide to just rely on them during the speech. Don’t make the mistake of being a lazy speaker (even if you’ve given the speech before)- the key to delivering your speech perfectly without any bumps is to practice, practice, practice.
We’ve already covered three easy ways to become a speaker, practicing the speech in front of the mirror, giving the speech to your friends, and recording yourself speaking. However, how you practice the speech is arguably more important than just practicing in the first place. Here are six effective practice techniques you can use to better your speaking skills and your speech.
1. Re-create your speech setting
- If you can, practice in the room you’ll be giving your speech in. If not, find a place that is similar to your speech setting and practice there at least once.
- Rehearse with your visual aids and props. Do you have a powerpoint? Will you have a lectern?
- Practice in what you plan to present in! Make sure it is comfortable and not restrictive.
2. Stand up while rehearsing
- Standing up and moving around during a speech will make you sound more energized and keep your crowd interested.
- Sitting actually crowds your diaphragm and drains energy.
- Practice your physical movements so you can develop muscle memory and keep your presentation running smoothly.
3. Speak out loud
- This seems like a no brainer, but some people just read their speeches and call it practicing.
- Speaking out loud will show you what phrases make you stumble, what you can’t pronounce, and when you’re speaking too fast or too slow.
- Don’t be afraid to stop and take notes as they come to you.
4. Experiment with your phrases
- Try out different expressions, voices, gestures, etc.
- This will work especially well in your introduction, conclusion, and in key points.
- Finding the perfect jargon will give you added confidence that your lines will be delivered as intended.
5. Time yourself
- This can be completed with a friend or you can easily do it alone.
- Timing yourself is extremely necessary when you’re given an allotted amount of time.
- Insert pauses for laughter, emphasis, questions, etc. This may seem unnecessary but will keep your speech on schedule.
6. Practice with a coach
- This one will require payment, but working with a coach while practicing will help you stay focused and you’ll receive valuable feedback.
- Coaches will be able to see expression or delivery issues that might have gone unnoticed.
- Coaches can also help record you for watching back and making changes later.
Whether you practice for 60 minutes or 60 hours, these techniques are guaranteed to improve your speech and reduce the issues you might be having. Practicing is the key to success when it comes to public speaking, I can ensure that “winging it” will not turn out as well as you hoped.