Let’s talk about how to improve your public speaking skills. We’re gonna talk about five ways that you can get better, so let’s get into those details.
I’m Alex Lyon, and we’re gonna talk about how to improve your public speaking skills. This is the second video in a three-part series that I’m doing this month. The first video is the importance of public speaking, and then the next one is how to practice a speech.
But in this one, we’re going to look at five ways that you can improve your public speaking skills. So let’s get into that. The number one way that you can improve your public speaking skills is to speak about a topic that you care about.
When you are passionate about a subject, you are going to put way more work into it because you’re motivated. And no one has to tell you to do it. You want to speak about this topic. And speaking about a topic that you don’t care about, you can still get better, but you will take your skills to the next level when you’re passionate about the subject because you’re like, oh, this is so important.
And I really wanna get this across. And you want your listeners to benefit the most. So, in my experience, when you care about a topic, your skills will go to next level completely. So figure out what you really wanna talk about and look for opportunities to speak about that particular topic.
The second way to improve is to watch great speakers. Identify some speakers that you admire, that you look up to, and watch what they do. Now, don’t copy them. Don’t imitate them. But watch two or three different kinds of speakers that all have their own skills and learn from them.
By watching a few different people, what you’ll do is you’ll see the general skills that cut across, and then you can pull out of that principle that you can then apply on your own. For example, I really admire Patricia Fripp.
She’s a very well-known professional speaker, and she is an amazing storyteller. And so I don’t tell stories the way she does. She has her own unique way, but I said I wanna get better at telling stories.
So when I speak publicly, I tell a lot of stories. I also like to be funny. Now, I’m not a standup comic by any stretch, but I like to watch standup comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, just to get inspired by their amazing skill to make people laugh with just a one-line joke.
That’s impressive. So watch great speakers. Pull out the general principles from them. And then put those into practice for yourself. The third way to improve is to prepare. And this might sound a little dry, but I can tell you that 95% of the way a presentation turns out is determined by how you prepare.
And that basically means making a clear outline beforehand, so you really have your thoughts in order, intro, a few main points, and a conclusion. And also, practicing from that outline a whole bunch of times, five, six, seven times.
I practice about 10 times or more for every presentation I give. I know some people who don’t practice at all. They just put out their whole outline, and then when they stand up to speak, it’s the first or maybe only the second time they have spoken through it.
And you can usually tell. In fact, I teach this stuff to professionals. I do workshops for companies, and I can’t tell you how many times someone, it’s their turn to go up and speak. And they say, you know, I’m just gonna wing it.
Well, you can tell what’s gonna happen ahead. I already know what’s gonna happen. The people who prepare always do much better than the people who say, I’m just gonna wing it. So preparation is really key.
Don’t underestimate that. Get alone in a room. Talk through your notes. Stand up the way you would really stand up, and power through it. You also may want to record on your phone your practice sessions.
That can be really motivating. It can identify a couple of things that you need to work on. So record yourself, and it’s almost like getting another person to give you feedback. The fourth way is to get more experience.
There are a lot of low-risk, low-stakes ways to stand up and present. Maybe you would run a short training session for example in your workplace around the people that you already know. That’s how I got my first start after college.
I had done public speaking in college, but then on my first job in Rhode Island, there was an opportunity to do a training session. And so I did a 20-minute session on listening skills. And I can tell you right now, it wasn’t good.
In fact, I remember looking out at a lot of confused faces in the room for that 20 minutes. But it helped me start. It was a starting place, and everybody was supportive. They were all my coworkers. They were all on my side.
Look for low-stakes opportunities, low-risk opportunities to speak. Maybe it’s announcements at church. Maybe it’s like running a training session. Maybe you can do a little meeting where it’s just four or five of you, but you prepare your thoughts in advance as if you were going to be speaking publicly.
Look for as many opportunities as possible to get more experience. And the fifth way is to take a class. So maybe you’re in college. Look for a public speaking class. Look for an advanced public speaking class after that.
Maybe on the job where you work there are opportunities and workshops and people that come through to teach communication skills. Take one of those. You can take an online course. And one of the great things about a course of some sort is that the instructor has already thought through some of the most common issues that people need to overcome, and so they’re gonna take you through a curriculum and move you forward in all those other areas.
Like I have a lot of people that say, well, I’m so nervous. If I could just get over my nerves, then I’d be better at this. Well, yeah, that’s a start but really learning concrete skills is going to help you get better, and a teacher can help guide you through that process instead of just guessing on your own what you need to work on.
Now, at the beginning of the video, I mentioned there are a couple of free resources that I wanted to tell you about. The first one is free. It’s an instant PDF download that you put in your email, and I send you tips to help you become a more confident and composed public speaker.
So you can look for the link to that in the description below the video. And the second one is a full course that I have created. It’s called Present Like a Pro. And the whole goal of the course is to help you become a top 10% presenter in your professional setting.
So I invite you to check that out. Again, links and descriptions are below. So question of the day, what do you think the best ways to improve your public speaking are? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what works best for you, and I look forward to reading those comments in that section below the video.