Art of Public Speaking

Master public speaking for career and personal success

September 19, 2023
  •  BY 

Racing heart rate. Sweaty palms. Dry mouth. 

If you’re like the majority of people who face public speaking anxiety, the mere thought of talking in front of others might produce some of these symptoms. But even if you’re not planning to make a speech anytime soon, it's a beneficial skill to develop.

Why is public speaking important, you ask? The benefits of public speaking extend to many areas of everyday life, from influencing where you’re going to meet your friends for dinner to making a case for a promotion to your boss. 

And in this article, we'll explore the art of public speaking, discuss essential tips for success, and offer a guide on techniques that make a speech more effective. 

What is the art of public speaking?

Public speaking is the art of delivering a message to an audience in a clear, concise, and engaging manner. It involves a set of skills and techniques that enable you to communicate your ideas effectively and persuasively. 

So, let’s begin our crash course in public speaking training, which starts with understanding the fundamentals: preparation, structure, and practice.

  • Effective public speaking starts with understanding your audience. Before you deliver your message, it's important to consider who your audience is and what they expect from your presentation. This includes their interests, level of knowledge, and potential biases or objections. By tailoring your message to your audience, you can increase the chances of engaging them and persuading them to take action.
  • Organizing your thoughts is also an essential part of effective public speaking. This involves outlining the key points of your message and arranging them in a logical and coherent sequence. By structuring your speech in this way, you can help your audience follow along and stay engaged throughout your presentation.
  • Ultimately, delivering a successful public speech requires confidence and conviction. This means being comfortable in front of an audience, projecting your voice clearly, and using body language effectively, which can all be improved with practice. It also means believing in the importance of your message and being passionate about sharing it with others.

Ready to dive into a few more tips to help you become an effective public speaker?

4 public speaking tips for success

Public speaking can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with some essential tips, you can learn how to improve your public speaking skills and become a successful speaker. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Practice, practice, practice: Practice is key to successful public speaking. The more you practice your speech, the more comfortable and confident you'll feel when delivering it. One effective way to practice is by giving your speech in front of a mirror or recording yourself and watching it back to identify areas for improvement.
  2. Use visual aids: Visual aids such as slides or props can help you convey your message more effectively and engage your audience. For example, if you're giving a presentation on the benefits of a new product, you could use a demonstration or video to show how the product works.
  3. Speak slowly and clearly: Speaking slowly and clearly can help you articulate your words and make your message more understandable. It also gives your audience time to absorb what you're saying. Remember to pause at appropriate intervals to allow your audience to reflect on what you've said.
  4. Be confident: Confidence is key to successful public speaking. If you believe in yourself and your message, your audience will too. One way to boost your confidence is by visualizing yourself delivering a successful speech. Imagine yourself speaking confidently and engagingly, and focus on the positive feedback you'll receive.

Another tip? Check out speeches from some of the world’s most effective public speakers, like former US President Barack Obama, and TED speaker Brene Brown.

Other public speaking techniques to try

When you conquer the basics of successful public speaking, take your speeches to the next level with a few other public speaking techniques: 

  • Use body language: Your body language can convey your message just as much as your words. Use gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact to engage your audience. For example, if you're talking about an exciting topic, use hand gestures or facial expressions to convey your enthusiasm.
  • Vary your tone and pace: Varying your tone and pace can help you emphasize specific points and keep your audience engaged. For example, if you're making an important point, you might slow down your pace and lower your voice to create a sense of gravitas.
  • Use storytelling: Storytelling can help you connect with your audience emotionally and make your message more memorable. For example, if you're giving a presentation about a product, you might tell a story about how the product has helped someone solve a problem.
  • Use humor: Humor can help you break the ice and connect with your audience on a personal level. For example, you could start your speech with a joke or use a humorous anecdote to lighten the mood.

How to engage your audience when public speaking

If you’ve ever made a speech before, you’ve likely felt like you’re talking at the audience. But a key element of successful public speaking is audience engagement—in other words, the feeling that you’re talking with the audience. If that’s something you’d like to improve, here are some strategies to consider:

  • Use interactive techniques: Interactive techniques like Q&A sessions, live polls, or small-group discussions can help you engage your audience and make your speech more interactive. For example, you could ask your audience to share their thoughts on a particular topic or have them work in pairs to discuss a question related to your speech.
  • Use examples: Examples can help you illustrate your points and make your message more relatable. For example, if you're giving a speech about social media, you might use examples of how people use social media in their daily lives.
  • Use rhetorical questions: Rhetorical questions can help you engage your audience and make them think about your message. For example, if you're giving a speech about climate change, you might ask a rhetorical question like "What will happen to our planet if we don't take action now?"
  • Use personal stories: Personal stories can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and make your message more memorable. For example, if you're giving a speech about overcoming adversity, you might share a personal story about how you overcame a difficult challenge.

The 8 best ways to prepare yourself for a public speech

Now that you know how to effectively deliver a speech, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. 

Preparation is critical to delivering a successful speech. By preparing thoroughly, you can ensure that you are confident, organized, and ready to engage your audience. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for a public speaking event:

  1. Understand your audience: Before you start preparing your speech, take the time to understand your audience. Who are they? What do they care about? What are their needs and concerns? This understanding will help you tailor your message to your audience and engage them more effectively.
  2. Define your message: Once you understand your audience, define your message. What is the key point you want to make? What do you want your audience to remember after your speech? This clarity will help you stay focused and deliver a clear and concise message.
  3. Research your topic: Research your topic thoroughly to ensure that you have a deep understanding of the subject matter. Use reliable sources like academic journals, news articles, or books to gather information and data.
  4. Organize your thoughts: Once you've gathered information about your topic, organize your thoughts into an outline or structure. This will help you ensure that your speech flows logically and coherently.
  5. Write your speech: Using your outline or structure, write your speech. Start with an attention-grabbing introduction that hooks your audience and sets the tone for your speech. Then, use clear and concise language to convey your message and support it with evidence or examples. Finally, end with a memorable conclusion that summarizes your key points and leaves a lasting impression.
  6. Practice your speech: Practice your speech until you feel confident and comfortable with your delivery. Record yourself speaking and watch the recording to identify areas for improvement.
  7. Time your speech: Time your speech to ensure that it fits within the allotted time frame. Practice adjusting your pace to ensure that you can deliver your message effectively within the time available.
  8. Prepare for technical issues: Prepare for technical issues like microphone problems or projector malfunctions by having a backup plan in place. Test your equipment before your speech to ensure that everything is working properly.

You’ve got this! 

Improve vocabulary and enhance speaking skills with Elevate

If you’re looking for more public speaking resources, we have something just for you: the Elevate app. It features 40+ games designed to level-up your vocabulary, focus, writing and speaking skills, and more—all of which can make you a more effective public speaker. 

Here's just a sampling of testimonials from Elevate members about how the app has enhanced their speaking skills:

  • “This is a wonderful app for people who want to improve or expand their vocabulary. If you do a lot of public speaking, I highly recommend using this app.”

  • “An app to help you become proficient in every way, whether it's public speaking, vocabulary, or listening skills. You're gonna build some skills. I recommend it to everyone.”

  • “The more you play Elevate, the more confident you’ll become when speaking in public.”

Take your public speaking to the next level

As you can see, public speaking is a crucial skill that can help you open doors for you personally and professionally

And as you work on developing your public speaking skills, download the Elevate brain training app, available on iOS and Android. The app offers engaging games specifically designed to improve your communication abilities. With Elevate, you can sharpen your skills in a low-stakes and fun way—setting yourself up for success for your next speech and beyond.

So what are you waiting for? Start your journey toward becoming a more effective public speaker today with Elevate!


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