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10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills | Harvard Professional Development

Use Your Voice and Hands Effectively

Use Your Voice and Hands Effectively

Nonverbal communication carries most of the message. Good delivery does not call attention to itself but instead conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly and without distraction. Omit nervous gestures.

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10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills | Harvard Professional Development

10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills | Harvard Professional Development

https://www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/10-tips-improving-your-public-speaking-skills

extension.harvard.edu

10

Key Ideas

Practice and Prepare

Nervousness is normal. But don't associate these feelings with the sense that you will perform poorly or make a fool of yourself.

The best way to overcome this nervousness is to prepare." Go over your notes several times, practice a lot and get feedback from someone close to you for your performance.

Know Your Audience

Your speech is about them, not you. Learn as much about your listeners as you can. This will help you determine your choice of words, level of information, organization pattern, and motivational statement.

Organize Your Material

And do it in the most effective manner. Write down the topic, the general purpose, specific purpose, central idea, and main points. Make sure to grab the audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds.

Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It

Keep your focus on your audience. Observe their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.

Let Your Personality Come Through

You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through, and your audience will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person.

Use Humor

Insert a funny anecdote in your presentation, and you will certainly grab your audience’s attention. Audiences generally like a personal touch in a speech. A story can provide that.

Don’t Read

... unless you have to. Outline the main ideas just in case. Reading from a script or slide fractures the interpersonal connection. By maintaining eye contact with the audience, you keep the focus on yourself and your message.

Use Your Voice and Hands Effectively

Nonverbal communication carries most of the message. Good delivery does not call attention to itself but instead conveys the speaker’s ideas clearly and without distraction. Omit nervous gestures.

Opening and closing

Grab attention at the beginning, and close with a dynamic end. 

When you start, use a startling statistic, an interesting anecdote, or a concise quotation. Conclude your speech with a summary and a strong statement that your audience is sure to remember.

Use Audiovisual Aids Wisely

Too many can break the direct connection to the audience, so use them sparingly. They should enhance or clarify your content, or capture and maintain your audience’s attention.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Madeleine Albright

"The best book, like the best speech, will do it all – make us laugh, think, cry and cheer – preferably in that or..."

Madeleine Albright

Public speaking lessons

  • Acoustics - the most important part of the delivery. Project your voice clearly and consistently to keep your audience engaged.
  • Content is king. Well thought out content with good articulation is essential for a great speech.
  • The best speeches are emotional, because they are powerful. Communicate anger, sadness, love, joy or excitement, in a meaningful, authentic and impactful way.

Voice as an important tool

Your voice influences the impact of your speech and can make or break its success. 
With some guidance, you can learn to use your voice to increase your power and persuasiveness in a...

Improve Your Public Speaking Voice

  • Slow Down when you speak. Your listeners have an opportunity to absorb and reflect on what you’re saying.
  • Use Voice Exercises to strengthen your voice.
  • Record And Listen To Your Voice. Look for ways to improve your pronunciation, your delivery, and your pacing.
  • Record Phone Conversations. Replay to hear different ways that you could improve your delivery and articulation next time.
  • Focus On Pauses. The drama and power of a speech are contained in the silences that you create as you move from point to point.
  • Eat And Drink Well. Energy is essential for good speaking and voice projection. Cold water can chill your vocal chords and decrease the amount of warmth in your voice.

Voice Modulation

You modulate your voice when you change pitch, like when your voice goes up at the end of a question. 
Just like with music, its rhythm and tone can convey a meaning that may be diff...

Use Voice Modulation to Improve Your Speaking Voice

  • If you want your audience to quiet down, to be calm or to perhaps hang on your every word, speak more quietly.
  • f you want to rile up your audience, speak with a stronger voice. You can also use volume to convey your passion.
  • Try not to speak too quickly. Most audiences will have trouble following along. Instead, speak at a moderate pace. Slowing down your speech even more will emphasize each word.

Working With Microphones

Microphones just make any speaking mistakes or tics louder and easier for your audience to detect.

Practice speaking with a microphone before your performance and record your speech. This will help you detect words you have pronounced too loudly and times when hard consonants have caused feedback with the sound system.