Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to Improve Public Speaking Skills

Public speaking skills affect so many aspects of our life and culture. Throughout school, teachers and professors help to hone our presentation skills. In the workplace, those with effective public speaking skills are more likely to move up the ladder and advance in their careers.

Although effective communication and public speaking take years of practice, try starting small and consistently work on your skills. The key to any success is persistence and consistence. You will notice improvement tenfold in just several months of practice.

If you want to quickly improve your skills, try the following:

Presentation Topic
Pick a subject you are passionate about and create a presentation.
Include the "5 W's" (who, what, when, where, why) of the topic. For example, if you were presenting about dolphins, you could give factual details about them, their history, evolution, and why the topic is important.

If you have a presentation for school, do the same.

Once you have completed your presentation and have your speech ready, it's time to practice. Many people write down their entire speech, while others write key ideas and use them as reference points during their presentation.

Stand in front of the mirror: Practice your speech aloud, and make sure you glance up at timely intervals to make eye contact with the "audience" around the room. Practice the glance to the point where you feel comfortable. The key here is to seamlessly glance at the audience for engagement.

Video Recording
Once you feel comfortable presenting in the mirror, set up a video camera and record your presentation.

Watch yourself and take notes on what you said or did effectively, and what needs improvement. For example, you enunciated clearly, but did not engage with the audience through eye contact.

Record yourself again, this time consciously making an effort to strengthen the areas you need to improve.

You will notice significant improvement by working on these skills. If you cannot accurately gauge yourself in video recordings (as in you think you are the greatest human being alive who has no faults), please ask others to rate your video recording.

I hope these tips help you. This process helped me through college, graduate school, my jobs as Assistant to Coordinator and now to Division Supervisor of a well-known medical school, one with a respected reputation throughout the country, thanks to effective public speaking skills!

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