Idle Chatter: How to quickly improve as a public speaker

What if you could turn from being fearful of public speaking to being comfortable, at ease and ready to tackle any and all trips to the podium?

As much as we loathe, detest and look the other way when it comes to public speaking and any sort of encounter with giving a speech, particularly at work with colleagues and management or to a group of strangers, the majority of people know just how invaluable of a skill it truly can be.

Public speaking, for those adept at it, is a skill they’ve developed over time but ultimately always had a sense of comfortability. Most, however, either never bother to hone their public speaking skills or believe the process to be so taxing and taking forever that they never even give that aspect of business or their career a second thought.

But the truth is you can become an adequate public speaker on the verge of breaking out into a strong one by just following a few simple steps, nothing that is going to be too difficult and certainly might not take you from novice to immediately booking speaking engagements, but certainly can grow your confidence and subsequently give you more opportunity in this area.

For starters, you never want to focus on practicing a speech to the point that you commit it to memory. This is going to leave the speech sounding forced, when what you’re really striving for is, in fact, practice but more focused on key points that you want to touch on during the entirety of your speech.

The practice portion of your preparation needs to be more about making sure you hit on what needs stressed without sounding robotic in the process.

Second only to practice and not memorizing is the audience, and that is a two fold approach: you not only have to know your demographic and who you are speaking to but also make the speech more about them than you.

To do that, you can choose to make the speech interactive, which takes pressure of you to be on point the entire time and allows them to carry some of the actual presentation. Now, be forewarned that you should not turn this into a magic act by any means, but a little audience involvement goes a long way.

Naturally, if your audience is a group of investors and you’re the deciding factor, your speech might take on a little different skew versus a pitch to your manager to handle a specific account. In the latter example, industry jargon is fine, but not so much with the former.

Speaking publicly can advance a career in a flash, so not being able to do it can be a detriment. For those not wanting put in a lot of time to fix their speaking ills, you can flip the switch and do a 180 with only a few adjustments, rather than a complete, time consuming overhaul.