How to speak in public: tips to help you build self-confidence
5 must-read tips to help you address an audience like a great negotiator.
Public speaking is usually one of the main difficulties for most people. Some even end up compromising extremely important situations, such as presentations or the closing of a deal, because they don’t know how to communicate with confidence.
However, knowing how to speak in public is crucial for professional success. After all, being able to combine good oratory and communication practices makes all the difference when concluding a negotiation.
With this in mind, we provide you with 5 essential tips so you can learn how to speak in public. Keep reading and check them out!
The importance of oratory
We can define oratory as the ability to speak well in public. Despite being objective, this meaning is far from translating everything it is, which is considered to be a true art form.
Using oratory is essential in order to convince your audience about a point of view or an idea.
Good speakers don’t use concrete arguments only, but especially, they have an engaging and pleasant way of speaking, winning over everyone who is listening.
Throughout history, certain public figures have become famous because of their excellent oratory, having the ability to mesmerize everyone listening.
In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. immortalized one of the most admired speeches of all time, known as “I have a dream”.
In this speech, he called for civil rights and equality for African Americans.
To this day, this speech is considered one of the most important in history.
Although oratory is closely linked to politics, it’s not used only for political rallies for large crowds.
This ability to speak and win people over can be used in various scenarios, such as professional meetings, commencement speeches, negotiations, job interviews, and many other situations.
Oratory is a powerful tool for those who need to win over listeners. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that public speaking is a natural talent. Actually, it’s the result of a lot of practice, and can be developed by anyone.
5 tips on how to speak in public
Becoming a master orator requires time and dedication. But, not everyone feels like investing so much effort in this skill.
Even so, if you wish to learn how to speak in public expecting only to acquire the skills necessary to improve your short-term communication skills, there are also a few good practices that you can follow.
The main ones are as follows:
One of the oldest communication techniques in human history, storytelling didn’t used to be employed in the business world so often, and was introduced, in an organized and widespread manner, only a few years ago.
Telling stories is part of our nature and is a way of quickly capturing everyone’s attention.
You don’t need to make up a work of fiction whenever you talk, but you can use storytelling in a simpler manner, using situations that have happened to you or to acquaintances as examples to illustrate your speech.
Thus, in a negotiation, more than numbers or opportunities, you will be offering the other party an experience to be remembered.
Knowing how to connect stories to your goal increases your chances of achieving success.
In certain situations in which we need to improvise, we’ll practically never use a prepared speech. In these cases, you need to be prepared to be able to develop a good conversation.
However, in other situations, it is perfectly possible to have a fully prepared speech.
One of the greatest problems found by those who don’t know how to speak in public is insecurity. So, taking the time to prepare your speech and practicing each line is the best way to gain the confidence to speak whenever necessary.
A few aspects of speech directly influence a public presentation, especially regarding intonation.
In this sense, two major problems stand out:
- Uptalk, in which declarative sentences sound like questions;
- Vocal fry, when the voice is low-pitched and rough, particularly at the end of sentences.
In order to correct these problems, the best thing is to take a deep breath, maintaining it until the end of sentences. This way, you can maintain sufficient rhythm so that you don’t lose your intonation during your speech.
Stress is always lurking when we speak in public.
There are several ways of becoming stressed during these situations, because the situations themselves create a predisposition for stress.
Delays, technical problems, lack of familiarity with the site where the speech will take place, among other elements, contribute to increased stress levels.
Of course, certain situations are completely out of our control. However, in most cases, you can have an attitude to reverse this.
So, try to arrive earlier, walk around the stage where your presentation will take place, talk to your audience, among other attitudes.
This helps a lot to making you feel “at home”, breaking from the idea of a completely unknown audience and consequently, reducing your stress levels.
One of the factors that influence confidence the most and consequently, the quality of speech in public, is your body posture.
In addition to interesting content and good oratory skills, our body says a lot about our outlook.
Depending on what you intend to say to your listeners, adopting the correct body language can make all the difference in your goals.
Generally speaking, ideally keep your body erect, paying attention to your gestures and articulating words calmly and with authority.
Starting from these points, you will transmit a message of confidence and authority to your audience, which will consequently listen to your speech with much more attention and openness to your arguments.
Oratory and psychological triggers
Knowing how to speak in public is an art that requires a lot of practice and testing, which will allow you to find out what works better for your goals.
Depending on your oratory capacity, you’ll be able to introduce several mental triggers in your audience or in the other party that is participating in the negotiation.
Psychological triggers are guidelines that human brains adopt to avoid the lengthy thinking process involving decision-making.
This means that our mind often ends up working in automatic mode. And you can take advantage of this by using and applying psychological triggers correctly in order to engage people and motivate certain actions.