Public speaking is an art that benefits many, but is often conquered by very few. Because glossophobia (the fear of public speaking) is so common, most people tend to shy away from the spotlight. But for those who embrace the stage and are passionate about helping people improve their lives, there are tricks of the trade. Here are three techniques to include in your next public speaking engagement.
1. Focus on Your Structure
Having an easy-to-follow speech structure is one of the most important techniques because it limits confusion. Establishing a logical sequence will also help you stay on track and set your pace. Follow these four points:
- Opening: Introduce yourself, your topic, and what you can teach your audience
- An emotional or humorous anecdote can serve as an engaging opening
- Key Points: Many strong speakers choose three key points to highlight during their speech (each point can include a personal story or an example to make it memorable)
- Closing: This is your last chance to make an impression and repeat the important tidbits of your message
- Q&A: If you’d like to leave time for a question and answer period, prepare how you’ll structure this ahead of time
2. Flatter Your Audience
When it comes to addressing your audience, there are three potential approaches: criticizing, ignoring and flattering. Some speakers choose to criticize their audience members’ past decisions or current status in order to motivate them to achieve more or strive for greatness in the future. Other speakers consciously decide not to make personal appeals to the audience, and instead focus strictly on their message. But one of the most effective ways to grab your audience is by utilizing flattery in an authentic way. Here are a few ways to implement this technique:
- Flattery through gratitude: Thank the audience for taking the time and making the effort to come to your presentation and listen to what you have to say. Emphasize that their presence means a lot to you.
- Compliment the audience’s initiative and intelligence: Mention that few people choose to attend motivational speeches and that says a lot about the caliber of people in the audience and their obvious dedication to self-improvement.
- Flatter through humbling yourself: Instead of coming off as boastful or proud, try your best to appear humble. Sprinkle in statements like, “You’re amazingly capable. I am no different than you, so if I made it, you definitely can too.”
3. Define How You Can Help
Everyone who decided to attend your speaking event came hoping to receive motivation or advice about “next steps”. Keep this in mind when preparing your speech, when on stage speaking, and even when engaging audience members afterward. Have a system in place that ensures you can define the help you can offer those in need. In your presentation, clearly outline duplicatable steps others can take in their journeys to success. People who are taking notes will write them down and refer back to those tidbits when creating their action plans at home. Outside of your speech, if you’ve written helpful literature, bring along copies or links to your blog. If you offer coaching services, hand out your business card and let attendees know that you happily provide more intensive services for those who need them.
As with all skills, identifying and implementing best practices can make you a more effective speaker. Use these 3 techniques when planning your next speaking engagement and take note of how your audience reacts. From there, continue making adjustments and seeking feedback from your mentors to perfect your craft. In time, your orating skills will reach higher heights than you ever knew possible.