Each month I collect brilliant new public speaking tips and tricks from experts in the speaking business. To keep on top of your game as a public speaker there is always time to learn and improve. This month, I asked 10 great speakers, coaches and presenters for their one piece of advice they would like to share.
Ask your audience insightful questions.
Lecturer, educator and thought leader Marlo Martin from South Africa recommends you keep your talk lively and interactive by asking deep questions.
Ask insightful questions at stages to make your audience think. A good question keeps their attention.Marlo Martin
So many public speakers may begin their talk with light, easy questions. “Raise your hand if you have ever had this problem.” Why not look through your script and see if there is place to add deeper audience questions that get them to reflect on more difficult insights.
Make memorable stories.
Business Coach TEDx talker and keynote speaker Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer has a simple piece of advice for any aspiring young speaker.
Stories are what we remember.Brandon Blackburn-Dwyer
It can be tempting to get bogged down with facts and figures, charts, fine details, and technical information. These things may help speakers make a point, but at the end of the day, what your audience really remember are the stories. Make sure your presentation helps you tell a good, memorable story.
Know your audience.
Penny Croal is a multi-disciplined practitioner and trainer and founder of Change Ahead. Her top tip is one we have covered in quite some detail. Know your audience before you speak to them!
Find out about who your audience is so you can speak to them directly.Penny Croal
Getting to know your audience can lead to a deeper connection, and stronger conversation.
I am always shocked when I see public speakers giving generic talks that are not tailored to the audience at all. Every audience wants something a little bit different. Make sure you find out what it is that they want by following the steps in our article on getting to know your audience.
Practice on camera.
Filming yourself can be a great way to beat anxiety about public speaking. Ron Rael trains leaders at the High Road Institute and recommends using video as a great way to get feedback on your performance.
Invest in a good video camera and use it. Practice in front of it. Video your presentations. Take the time to watch yourself. Take notes and try new or different behaviours and delivery style. The feedback will help you grow fast.Ron Rael
Video can also be a great way to track your progress and see how you are improving as a public speaker. The first few videos you make will probably feel pretty cringe-inducing, but give it time, and practice.
Gemma Sandwell has the brilliant job title of Chief Happiness Officer at The Happiness Branch. Gemma recently gave a TEDxNorwich talk, and that means high pressure, high anxiety, and high fear! Gemma uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to help her remain calm in difficult situations.
I have a daily mindfulness practice of doing a mini body scan and focusing on my breathing as well as trying to be mindful with as many activities as I can to bring me into the present moment. This has been shown scientifically to improve our memory, focus and shrink our fight and flight centre. So I think I was able to focus and remember my talk and also keep myself really calm in the lead up to and the day of the event.Gemma Sandwell
Read brilliant books.
Gregory Robinson, a speaker from South Africa has 3 great book recommendations for you to check out:
Best tip is. It’s in the practice not the result. Read The War of Art. The Talent Code & Made to Stick.Gregory Robinson
You can follow Gregory on twitter too.
Hear your talk, don’t just read it.
Jeremy Nicholas, a humorist and public speaker from the UK says it’s important to make sure you hear your words when you practice, don’t just read them!
Practise out loud and standing up. Don’t spend too long at your laptop before you get on your feet and see what it sounds like coming out of your mouth.Jeremy Nicholas
This tip is so important, especially for first-time speakers, or those of you working on a brand new speech. How the words sound from your voice can be hugely different to how they sound in your head!
Speak as much as you can.
Peter De Jager – a provocative keynote speaker recommends getting out there and speaking as much as you possibly can.
In order to learn his craft inside and out, Peter spoke at 40 different clubs and events, sometimes speaking 3 times in 1 day, just to help him create a perfect 20 minute talk.
While speaking this much may seem extreme, offering to speak for free at local schools, universities, groups or charities can be a great way to test out new speaking ideas.
Passion meets points-of-view.
Wealth expert and financial speaker Jim Francis has a simple but elegant tip:
Speak from the heart, and from the audiences point of view.Jim Francis
Speaking from the heart can make things so much easier. Bring your passion to the stage and be open with your audience. Understand what your audience things, and what they want to learn from you, and match that to your passions.
Every time you speak, examine.
Storyteller, poet and authour Hanna Yaawusuah Adjepong has the final, beautiful speaking tip.
Public speaking is what we do all time. Check the response of your friends when you say something. We all have natural ways of speaking. Do you put people at ease when you speak? Is the topic controversial? What is the purpose of your speech? Our individual world view comes out in what we say. It is important to examine your own biases, personal experience and emotional state before stepping on stage.
You have something important to say that will benefit someone. Think of one person. If only one person becomes impacted enough to change for the better, you have done well.Hannah Yaawusuah Adjepong
Thank you so much to all of the wonderful speakers and coaches from around the world that have helped contribute to this blog post. What is your favourite speaking tip? Leave it in the comments below.