Public speaking skills refer to the talent of effectively addressing an audience. Whether it is in front of a group of people you already know or a crowd of complete strangers, your ability to communicate to them with clarity and confidence is known as your public speaking skills.
There may or may not be an opportunity for interaction between the speaker and audience. The basic difference, however, between a casual talk and public speaking is that the latter is more purposeful and meant for celebratory, entertainment, influencing, or informative purposes.
Good public speaking skills can have a huge impact on your career for the following reasons:
- Demonstrates your knowledge. You are always at your best when you can articulate your thoughts clearly and effectively. Public speaking skills help you do exactly that. After all, the true worth of the knowledge you possess can only be realized when you can show and apply it.
- Demonstrates your confidence. Not only does public speaking increase your knowledge during the process of preparation but it also develops and demonstrates your confidence. Whether you are interviewing for a job or hoping for a promotion, your confidence is what will make you stand out among other candidates.
- Helps you lead better. The higher you climb up the career ladder, the greater will be the number of people you shall have to lead. As a result, the need for public speaking skills and the confidence pertinent to it also increases, making it one of the determining characteristic when considering someone for promotion.
How to improve public speaking skills
Following are some helpful tips for improving your public speaking skills:
- Prepare with practice. Once you have prepared a presentation or speech by giving it a logical flow and making it more vibrant with the addition of examples, stories, and visually appealing props, only then your true preparation begins. If you are wondering what that means, remember that practice is the key to preparation. Practice your speech/presentation alone or seek to speak in front of other people until you can speak fluidly with confidence and comfort. This may sometimes require you to tweak your words during practice but it’s preferable to do so in practice instead of doing so at the occasion where you intend to take the mike.
- Accentuate your strengths. Analyze yourself as a public speaker and identify your true strengths and weaknesses. Most of us tend to imitate other public speakers who are popular amongst the crowd. However, the best way is to be yourself and focus on your own strengths. For instance, you might have a good sense of humor that helps in grabbing attention of the crowd, you may be an interesting story teller, or you may be good at clearly explaining complex ideas. Whichever is your strength, utilize it wisely to keep your audience paying attention.
- Keep your ears and eyes open to feedback. Although, all sorts of public speaking do not involve direct interaction between the speaker and his audience, there are various ways in which audience is able to provide feedback. If the audience cannot speak their opinion out loud, as a speaker you should be able to look for nonverbal cues such as the body language or facial expressions of the audience. The feedback, thus, provided by the audience can prove to be a helpful guide in improving one’s public speaking skills.