Whether you’re a total newbie speaker or a pro with years under your belt, we’re always looking for ways to improve, aren’t we? There are literally countless ways to continually improve your speaking skills and evolve your personal style
8 Ways to Become a Better Speaker
We’ve collected some of our favorite and
- Listen to other speakers. Before one of our team members, Jenny, started her speaking career, she attended a major flower and garden show and sat in on every well-known speaker she could. These were speakers who were known to entertain and wow the crowd, and Jenny took notes on each one. How did they start their talks? How did they keep the audience engaged? How did they handle tricky situations?
- Ask other speakers for their feedback or tips. Do you have friends or colleagues who are speakers? Ask them for their tips, but do it by asking them specific questions, for example: How do you calm your anxiety? What’s your best tip for concluding your talk? How do you handle it if you make a mistake? What’s the best way you’ve found to make your presentations interesting so people talk about it afterwards?
- Ask trusted people for feedback. Admittedly, this one can be awkward. If you know that someone you trust is in your audience, ask them if they’d be willing to give you feedback afterwards. You may be surprised to hear that you say “uh” a lot, or that the story you opened with was amazing. You need to know what works, what doesn’t, and how you can improve.
- Join Toastmasters International. This is an international program consisting of clubs where you can learn the art of public speaking. Everyone is learning so there’s quite a bit of camaraderie involved, and we know several successful speakers in our industry that learned how to present from this organization.
- Hire a coach. There are coaches for everything, and public peaking is no exception. Let them know what your goals are (to get over fear of speaking, to learn how to connect with your audience better, to enunciate more clearly, etc.) in order to get the most out of your time with them.
- Practice, practice, practice. Nothing, and we mean nothing, beats practicing. You can practice by yourself at your desk, standing up as though you were addressing your audience, or even in front of family members or friends. Yep, it feels weird. But better to feel weird in the comfort of your own home than in front of a live audience, right?
- Know what kind of a speaker you want to be. Aside from “garden communicator,” there are all types of speakers and speaking styles, and if you know yours or what your goal is, then you can focus your skills much better. Do you want to be known as an amazing lecturer, a feel-good humorist, an unforgettable storyteller, an inspiring teacher? If you’re naturally funny but trying to fit yourself into the cerebral lecturer role, you may be fighting against your own nature.
- Have a public speaker who is your model. Maybe it’s someone you know, or someone famous, but you love their style and presence on the stage. Make it your business to observe them as much as possible to pick up on subtle details. Do they have a YouTube channel? Watch every video. And as you’re observing, ask yourself, “Why do I resonate with this person and how they speak? What specifically is so fascinating to me about this person?” You may learn how to tell a joke better, how to perfect the “pause” after saying something pivotal, how to use body language to elevate your presentation, or how to inflect your voice to sound more interesting.