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Becoming a Better Public Speaker

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by LiquidMidnight, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I thought I would post this thread to share tips, thoughts, information, etc. Public speaking is something that a lot of us struggle with. I've taken every opportunity I can to speak publically, and now that I'm 30, I've grown into an average public speaker. With that said, I really want to become a great public speaker. I do very well in small groups and dyads, which a lot of people do. But speaking in front of large groups of people is definitely different.

    What are some of your experiences with public speaking?

    And yes, performing music in front of big crowds and giving a speech are two very different things.
  2. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Im not very good when it comes to public speaking. I have recently improved some in taking a Leadership Training course offered by the company I work for.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Search "Public Speaking" on youtube for lots of videos on the topic.

    My tips:
    1) use videos of yourself for review to see where you need improvement.
    2) study others who excel.
  4. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Make sure you don't mix different sizes. That's the most common speaker advice I see on here.
  5. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Banned

    Aug 15, 2010
    I find that in my case, for some strange reason, I tend to talk quickly as if I subconsciously want it all over with as quickly as possible. My trick is to catch myself right from the beginning and deliberately slow myself down quite a bit.

    I also suffer from stage fright which explains why I fear public speaking too. :p
  6. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    But it is acceptable to mix speaker sizes when using a properly set x-over.
  7. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    People often complain that my public speaking Hz them.
  8. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I've been speaking publicly for about 30 years. The key to my success is knowing my material and more importantly my audience.

    What does that mean? For material, I make sure I am comfortable with the topic I am speaking on which helps with being fluent and conversational. Knowing my audience helps me to speak in terms/words they can relate to.

    Large groups can be intimidating for many, so preparation is key. Taking time to breath and pause between thoughts is important. A well placed pause for a few seconds is very effective in keeping peoples attention. If you struggle with eye contact, look right over the top of someone. They will think you are looking at them when actually you are looking at the door in the back of the room.

  9. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    I've used public speaking as a means to cope with stage fright. Over the past twenty years, I've built a skill or three. I've spoken at international conferences and to small groups of people, and led a cohort of people from my workplace in a presentation skills building community.

    My key success factors:

    * Talk about what you know
    * Work the room (even if you're speaking from a stage, you can work a room)
    * Don't be afraid to use personal experiences as ice breakers (I've used lots of those)
    * Keep your slides to a minimum - you want people to listen, not read
    * Keep it interactive when the situation allows - people remember when they participate
    * Facilitate, don't preach
    * Empty your pockets and take off your badge (a fidgety speaker is distracting)
    * Remember - YOU are the expert they all came to hear; own it

    And yes...I'm the person who will go back to Bass Boot Camp next year with a bedazzled trash can to take on stage so I have somewhere to throw up since I nearly passed out this year on stage. (I've never had that many people come to a gig.)
  10. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I have done quite a bit of public speaking and there are many things to learn how to be an effective, interesting, clear, and entertaining speaker.

    Two things that you need to focus on right away are don't say UM or YOU KNOW.
  11. That is good advice. You may need to watch yourself on video to realize how much you do it. The first time I watched myself giving a speech I was horrified to hear myself say "you know" dozens of times. I wasn't aware of it at all.

    The best advice I can give on becoming a more confident public speaker is - are you ready? you'll never guess - practice. Join Toastmasters, which exists for this very purpose. Give enough speeches and at some point you will realize that there really isn't anything to be afraid of. That may not be enough to make you a great speaker, but it will at least make you a confident speaker, and that's a huge part of it.
  12. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Great advice on the "word whiskers". Jim is totally right about recording yourself. It's something we don't really notice on our own usually.

  13. Unprofessional


    Mar 5, 2012
    I don't know. They feel similar to me. Of course, the definition of "big" is in the eye of the beholder.
    I think having to give presentations at work and school has helped me be more comfortable on stage and vice versa.
    I guess it's different for each human bean.
  14. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    Humour. Without trying to come across like a desperate wannabe stand-up, a few well placed one-liners - within the context of your audience and your content - can make the difference between a good public speaker and a great one.
  15. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Confidence, confidence, confidence.

    If you don't believe in the message you're delivering, why should the audience?
  16. Tituscrow

    Tituscrow Banned

    Feb 14, 2011
    NW England
    Regarding the 'playback' suggestion, don't freak when you hear your recorded voice (as most of us do!). Remember...that is how everyone hears you anyway.
  17. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I also do numerous live and recorded radio interviews and the same rules apply as speaking to a crowd in front of you but you have to be able to speak clearly and concisely without people seeing you and you don't have the advantage of visual gestures.
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    volunteer to teach something.
  19. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Well, this stranger came up to me one day and told me he needed money for gas. His truck was broken down and he swore to God that he would pay me back next week. We could meet up at the nearby gas station where he would repay me. I told him I didn't have any money. I knew he was lying. That was me, speaking in public. I could have remained quiet, but I didn't. And, I'm a relatively quiet person too.

    Just kidding. I had a professor advise students to become part of a Toastmaster group to help your public speaking.

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