How to Be a Better Public Speaker

LecternHow to Change the World has an informative post that provides tips on how to be a better public speaker. The tips are compiled by the author’s friend, who is a professional singer. The post points out that public speaking is a performance art that is not substantively different from singing.

My favorite tips are

Bite your tongue. If your mouth gets dry in the middle of your presentation, try gently biting your tongue. Opera singers use this all the time to release saliva which moistens your mouth.

Use your eyes all the time. Hand gestures, pacing around the platform can all be useful tools in presentation, but the eyes…ah, the eyes have it! If you can’t engage people with your eyes you will eventually lose your audience’s attention. Your eyes always tell people whether or not you believe in what you’re saying! Scan the room, select a person to make a point to, and look right at them. It’s a little intimidating for them, but it keeps you focused on the individuals who make up your audience. Keep moving to new people—right, left, middle—it works! If all else fails, look at each person as though you’ve loved him or her all your life—like mom, or your child.

Get quiet. If you really want to get people’s attention, get quiet suddenly. It will scare the sound guy to death, but I guarantee the audience will pay attention. Singers use this trick all the time. That’s the “you could hear a pin drop” effect. Believe me, that’s what sells your talk!

I already use the Get Quiet tip. I have found this very effective. I love the tip about biting my tongue. I don’t look forward to doing it, however, I often get dry mouth while speaking for an extended period of time. Thus, I am thrilled to find this tip.

Using my eyes more effectively is something that I really need to work on.

Jump over and read the entire post. I am sure that you will find something that will help you become a better public speaker.

3 thoughts on “How to Be a Better Public Speaker

  1. Glad to see you offering some thoughts on dry mouth since that affects many in the public speaking realm. Allow me to suggest one twist: The tongue is vital to articulation. Biting it even gently (especially repeatedly) might cause pain and affect your speech. The alternative is to gently bite the inside of your cheek. The same result with less possibility for damage. Of course, having a glass of water handy is also a must for any speaker.

    Ed Barks
    Author of “The Truth About Public Speaking:
    The Three Keys to Great Presentations”

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