One of the most important professional skills, regardless of industry, is public speaking. Speaking in front of a crowd can help with formal board presentations and complex explanations to financial backers. Moreover, you can present ideas to colleagues and teammates, as well.

Fortunately, anyone willing to, can learn the required skills to feel at ease when it is necessary to share ideas with coworkers or larger groups. This is true even if public speaking makes you nervous or if you’ve never done it before.

You can position yourself to convey important information with confidence by implementing public speaking tips used by the best presenters. With focused effort, you can increase your productivity and become an influential member of any team by developing your public speaking skills.

Before preparing your speech, research your audience

Employees are more likely to feel at ease presenting to a familiar audience. Knowing the people you’re talking to will help you better understand how to craft a message that will resonate with them.

Begin by determining their level of comprehension of the topic you intend to discuss. This will help you determine how much background you need to cover before going more in-depth; thus, assist you in selecting the appropriate words. You risk confusing the general public if you use industry jargon and acronyms.

Then, as you present, pay attention to how your audience reacts. Adjust your message accordingly so that you can connect with them.

Practice, practice, and more practice

Even the most experienced public speaker must practice in order to be effective. Giving a practice presentation of your speech ahead of time will help you determine if you’ve organized the information cohesively and clearly.

It can be beneficial to practice speaking out loud to an imaginary audience or in front of a mirror, but it is even more beneficial to practice with the assistance of a supportive coworker, friend, or family member as an audience.

Take advantage of constructive criticism

When practicing or giving a presentation, solicit constructive criticism. This feedback includes specific examples and is given in a lighthearted manner. If you know someone is looking out for your best interests, you’ll be more open to their suggestions for improving your communication style.

Accepting constructive criticism can be difficult. Allow for some time before responding to avoid becoming defensive or taking the feedback personally. Integrate the ideas in a way that will help you improve your next presentation. Always thank the person for contributing their ideas.

Personalize it

When you’re being yourself, it’s easier to connect with an audience. Allow your personality to come through as you deliver your message. Be genuine and appropriate—include humor when it can help your work rather than hinder it.

If you’re using a PowerPoint presentation, make sure the text and images emphasize your personality and expertise. Include short, focused personal stories to help you make your points. Include your contact information at the end of the presentation so that people can contact you afterward.

Personal story to connect with your audience

Incorporating personal anecdotes or stories into your professional presentations can help you effectively communicate your message to your audience. A successful demonstration are the TED Talk stages.

When TED Speakers take the stage, they frequently begin with a brief personal story. This structure allows them to connect with the audience on a personal level, share their enthusiasm for what they’re about to discuss, or explain their expertise.

To add a personal touch to your presentation, make sure what you share is directly related to the topic at hand. If you believe the personal story will be difficult to understand, leave it out.

Maintain eye contact and refrain from reading from a script

Practice does more than just ensure that your presentation is well-structured and capable of conveying the necessary messages. It also allows you to feel at ease with your material so you can physically relax on stage. Making eye contact also increases your chances of connecting with those around you.

Other methods can be used by presenters to stay on track. If you’re using paper notes, make an outline with a few words that will remind you of what you want to cover. Never take verbatim notes. If you’re using an audio-visual aid, such as a PowerPoint presentation, make your slides the cues.

When you look at the people in the room, you can tell if they understand your main points or if you need to clarify them further.

Take advantage of the stage

Gather information about where you’ll be physically speaking before the presentation. Check that your PowerPoint presentation will work with the equipment provided. Make sure you understand how the room will be configured. Inquire about time constraints, whether people will be eating during your presentation, and the type of microphone you will be using.

Then, when you’re on stage, command it. Move around the room, making eye contact with others in the audience.

Be mindful of your body language. Allow your arms to hang freely. Maintain good posture by keeping your back straight and smiling. Control any nervous gestures, such as putting your hands in your pockets or scratching your head, so that they don’t distract from your message.

Prepare coping strategies for when nerves strike

Despite your preparation, it is normal to feel nervous at some point during your presentation. Take a deep breath when this happens. Nobody expects you to be flawless.

Work on gaining perspective ahead of any potential problems, and strive for connection with your audience rather than perfection. Humor can help to relieve tension and remind those listening that you, too, are a human being.

Record and evaluate your own speaking performance

Coworkers and friends can offer feedback, but you can also help yourself. Set up your phone to video record yourself during a presentation so you can watch it later. Your nervous habits or awkward phrasing may surprise you, and you may even discover new ways to improve the readability of your PowerPoint slides.

Use this technology to improve your skills and avoid ruminating on mistakes in the future. Maintain a positive attitude.

Lasting impression with a strong conclusion

Experts advise speakers to capture their audience’s attention within the first 30 seconds of their presentations, and it’s also a good idea to have a solid ending to any presentation. This conclusion may include the following:

  • A call to action (CTA) that encourages listeners to take action;
  • A memorable quote from your presentation that inspires or illustrates a point;
  • A personal story about why this issue is so important to you;
  • A list of the most important lessons learned.

When you finish your presentation, remember to thank the audience for their time. You can invite questions and answer them from the stage if there is time. If the organizers have restricted your time, offer to answer questions later.

The significance of honing your public speaking abilities

Public speaking abilities are beneficial in many aspects of life. Aside from laying the groundwork for future career advancement, the ability to speak comfortably and effectively in public will benefit you in the following ways:

  • Improve teamwork and collaboration.
  • Share your thoughts and offer solutions to workplace issues.
  • Earn respect from both employers and coworkers.
  • Make contacts that could lead to new professional opportunities.
  • Learn to be a better listener in order to receive the same respect you deserve during presentations.

The advantages of these skills are easily transferable to other areas of life. Improve your relationships as well as your professional success by communicating clearly and effectively.

Improving public speaking skills can take time. The key to developing confidence is a willingness to practice public speaking tips from experts, such as those listed below, and to embrace the temporary discomfort that comes with learning a new skill.

The following steps for success

Use these public speaking tips to improve your ability to deliver a presentation with confidence. Improve your public speaking skills by practicing and learning from those who have had success.

Participate in public speaking events.

Consider learning opportunities in your town or city that feature speakers on a variety of topics. Use a critical eye when watching others give presentations to learn what works and what doesn’t. Beyond the topic at hand, consider why you enjoyed or disliked the lecture.

View examples of effective public speaking.

Finally, watching videos of influential public speakers can provide you with the same learning experience as attending in-person lectures. TED Talks is an online collection of presentations on various topics such as science, entertainment, and business. To improve your confidence and success in public speaking, watch as many as you can and use the best speakers as mentors.