Public speaking tips from the professionals

Speaking to an audience is often a necessary skill to get ahead, yet it’s something that sparks fear and anxiety in many of us. Don’t miss out on job opportunities and career advancement because of public speaking. Here’s how to master the skill and become a confident communicator.

Image Credit

Speaking up to move up

Public speaking may cause you to come across as awkward, uncomfortable or downright paralysed with fear. Many roles involve direct presentations or speaking to an audience in some way, and companies value strong communicators when hiring and promoting.

A confident speech will give you the chance to boost your visibility and impress those that matter, showcasing your skills as an effective communicator. It will help you stand out among peers and co-workers, allowing you to create a name for yourself within the company and the industry.

An inspirational speaker like, is proof that it’s possible to overcome not just nerves but mental and physical challenges to become a competent, motivating and engaging speaker.

Image Credit

Talk it like a pro

The pros paid for their speaking skills can be a treasure trove for insightful tips. For instance, the New York Times bestselling author Dan Pink notes your goal should be to successfully get across an important point that the audience will remember and contemplate. It’s not about getting across as many points as possible, it’s quality over quantity.

The motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham refers to Martin Luther King Jr in highlighting the importance of a stable, succinct beginning and ending. It can also help to plan, structure and practice what you want to say, but use cue cards rather than regurgitating every single written word. Reduce words that hinder your sense of certainty, like “I think”, and consider the use of leading questions to encourage audience participation if appropriate

Sticking to what you know is what Gary Vaynerchuk recommends as you’ll come across more naturally confident. Meanwhile, Marilyn Sharman suggests asking yourself the question of whether you believe in the content you’re giving to your audience, and whether it’s valuable to them. The rest is down to ego, so simply answer yes to both of these and you should feel self-assured in your delivery.

For a pre-speech practical vocal tip, William Arruda suggests a glass of warm lemon water to improve the clarity of your voice.