Public speaking skills are valuable both in your personal life and in your career. Even if you don’t regularly engage in public speaking, developing skills in this area will increase your confidence and reduce anxiety about situations in which you may be called upon to speak in public. Even those who live with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) can become confident speakers, with skill development and treatment for anxiety (such as medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy).
Below are some key skills held by good public speakers, once your social anxiety is manageable, work on developing these skills to improve your ability as a presenter.
Good public speakers appear confident, friendly, enthusiastic and energetic. Confidence comes from choosing a topic you like and researching it well. Friendliness can be conveyed simply by smiling at your audience. Enthusiasm and energy will naturally follow when you enjoy your topic and are well prepared. If you feel that your stage presence is lacking, view clips of speakers whom you admire. Aim to imitate their style. Then, “fake it until you make it.” In other words, act confident until you feel confident.
Your voice is the most important tool you will use as a public speaker. Improve the quality of your voice through diaphragmatic breathing, breathing from your diaphragm instead of your chest. This is how professional singers breathe. It is what helps to make their voices sound fabulous and enables them to hold notes long after most people would be out of breath. Doing so also reduces feelings of breathlessness caused by speech anxiety.
Consider your body language and the message that it conveys. Sit up straight or stand when you want to make a point. Body positioning makes a difference in both our voice projection and the nonverbal message we send. When our posture projects confidence and seriousness, our message is more likely to receive the attention we seek.
Speak slowly and deliberately when you are speaking before a massive crowd and when you know that each word of yours can make a difference. Also, pause between ideas to give the audience time to digest what you are saying. A mumbling public speaker is hard to understand, therefore, carefully articulate and pronounce your words.
Know your audience:
Before you begin to craft your message, consider who the message is intended for. Learn as much about your listeners as you can. This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, organization pattern, and motivational statement.