Effective Public Speakers

How to be Effective Public Speakers: A Guide for Students

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” ~Sir George Jessel

If you think you’re the only one who breaks out in a cold sweat when it comes to public speaking, let’s bring home the reality – you are wrong!

Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is strikingly common. In fact, experts have estimated that as much as 77% of the population has some level of anxiety about public speaking. While some people can manage and control the fear, others may not.

Is it possible to overcome this fear?

Yes, Absolutely!

Public speaking is one of the most dreaded forms of communication. It won’t be wrong to say that learning public speaking is like taking that bitter pill that’s too dreadful to consume but is essential to your health and wellbeing. While the experience could be truly nerve-wrecking, it is one of the most important skills that works as a catalyst to your success and will bear fruits.

One of the reasons why a lot of people feel uncomfortable to speak in public is the lack of self-confidence. But the fact is, whether you want to be a teacher, a businessperson, or a scientist, the art of public speaking will always help you make the cut. Public speaking not only helps boost your self-confidence but also improves your communication skills, raises self-esteem and gives you the power to persuade.

Ways to be Better at Public Speaking

Public speaking is an art and to be get better at it, there are some strategies you could use:

  • Study great public speakers:

Watch videos of other speakers while they speak. Notice their body language and facial expressions. Observe how they bring subtle shifts in tone, volume, speed and pitch while speaking and how they maintain eye contact. Take insights from these videos on how well-know public speakers keep the audience engaged and interested throughout.

  • Relax your body language:

The fear of public speaking often makes you a bundle of nerves, and you might end up losing control over your body subconsciously. It tends to hurt your body language. In order to get a grip on your body language, practice in front of a mirror and notice how you stand while speaking. You could also practice in front of your family, friends or any other group and ask them to give you feedback. Listen to them constructively and improve yourself accordingly.

  • Know your audience:

Before preparing your speech, know what kind of audience you are going to address. Prepare a speech that’s relevant to that audience.

  • Organise the content:

Create a framework for your speech. Write down the topic, the central idea and the main points. Make sure you grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.

  • Captivate the audience:

You may start with an interesting story or quotation that relates to your topic. Stories work great when it comes to catching the audience’s attention and deliver the message in a more relatable and meaningful fashion. You may also use humour or other ways to indulge your audience and keep boredom at bay.

  • Conclude with a dynamic end:

It’s very impactful to close the speech with a summary and a strong statement that will remain etched in your audience’s mind for a long time.

  • Record the speeches:

Practice out loud with a recording device or a video camera. Once done, hear or watch yourself, notice the tone and pace of your speech, and make necessary improvements accordingly.

Public speaking can be challenging and intimidating, indeed. But remember, there are abundant benefits of public speaking. Your public speaking skills can shape your career, social life and personality. It is not only important for your personal and professional development but is also crucial for making a change within you and those around you. Each time you speak, you become a better version of yourself. So, get out there and put an effort to be heard.

“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.”

Varsha Patil

TGT – English

The Radcliffe Group of Schools, Pune

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