How To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills in 8 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 8, 2022 | Published June 29, 2021

Updated September 8, 2022

Published June 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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Learning how to be a great public speaker can help as you grow professionally and expand your career opportunities. Depending on your profession, you may find opportunities to apply your public speaking knowledge to your work. Public speaking can be a useful tool throughout many industries and phases of your professional life, from interviewing, teaching and sales pitches.

In this article, we explore different types of public speaking and offer a list of eight ways to become a better public speaker.

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What are the different types of public speaking?

While different forms of public speaking may require similar preparation, the content can differ. Knowing what type of speech you are delivering may be helpful when starting the writing process. Below are common types of public speaking:

Informative

Informative speaking educates the audience about a topic. You could introduce a new concept or help the audience gain a better understanding of the subject. When creating informative speeches or presentations, it is important to know as much of the content as possible. You may find these types of speeches in management meetings or town halls.

Demonstrative

Demonstrative speaking shows the audience how to do something. Visual representations, such as graphs or pictures, may be helpful to ensure the audience has a full understanding of the material and ideas outlined in the speech. Training classes and seminar sessions often are or have elements of demonstrative speaking.

Persuasive

The purpose of a persuasive speech is to convince the audience to complete a call to action. A call to action may involve physically doing something or forming an opinion about a topic. Speakers use a variety of tools when creating these speeches, from pictures to studies, depending on the content. People giving persuasive speeches often attempt to connect with their audiences on an emotional level when asking them to act or think a certain way. Sales pitches are an example of persuasive speaking, often addressing the audience's feelings to ask them to purchase a product or service.

Ceremonial

Ceremonial speeches are typically the most formal. Celebrations recognizing someone regularly have ceremonial speakers. These speeches often introduce the person being celebrated, tell the audience what the recipient has done to deserve this achievement, and may include some anecdotes about them.

Related: How To Prepare for Public Speaking and Different Types of Events

How to become a good public speaker

Understanding the steps necessary to advance your public speaking skills may help you develop the talents and traits necessary to succeed. Consider the following steps to become a good public speaker:

1. Be prepared

Preparing for a public speaking engagement is an important part of ensuring your success. It may be helpful to fully research the topic before writing your speech. Once you've finished writing your speech, consider practicing your speech. To do this, you may practice saying your presentation out loud and make changes as needed. You may also attempt to give your speech in front of a mirror and use a timer. This may help you see how you can use gestures, facial expressions or other nonverbal cues to get your points across as well as ensure that you don't go over your allotted time.

2. Introduce yourself

It is a good idea to introduce yourself to your audience, especially if you are speaking to a group of people who do not know you or your qualifications. Consider giving a high-level overview of who you are and any degrees or certifications that relate to the talk you are delivering to gain the audience's trust, as doing this may lead to them listening more intently and could help to enhance your credibility as a speaker.

3. Show your confidence

Confidence can be an important part of successful public speaking. Projecting confidence to the audience can help you feel more sure of yourself and enhance your credibility as a speaker. Try utilizing some techniques to increase your confidence prior to delivering your speech. Some confidence-boosting techniques include exercising, practicing power poses, spending time on your appearance or dabbing a relaxing perfume, cologne or essential oil under your nose.

Read more: 8 Ways To Become More Confident

4. Express yourself

It's important to remain honest, humble and genuine when delivering a speech. Being genuine and honest during your delivery may help you build trust with your audience and could enhance the credibility of your content. When writing and delivering your speech, try to include personal views and elements of your unique perspective. Be sure to balance these personal views with thoughts and opinions that benefit the overall message of your speech.

5. Tell stories

Audiences may learn more when they can translate a topic into their own lives and storytelling may help them do it. Consider finding stories or anecdotes for complex concepts so that your audience can visualize your words and more easily process the content. These stories can range from everyday experiences to funny things that have happened to you, as long as it is something that your audience can visualize. This may help make you and your topic more memorable, relatable and impactful.

6. Engage the audience

In order to enhance audience engagement, consider creating openings for the audience to participate. This could be as simple as asking questions about their experiences with the topic you are covering or polling for their opinions. These opportunities give audiences a break from listening and their participation may help you to determine their level of familiarity with the topic of your speech.

7. Use body language

To further increase audience engagement, try to use open and inviting body language. Try to keep your hands out of your pockets and refrain from fidgeting to minimize distractions. Be sure to stand up straight with good posture, keeping your weight distributed evenly between both legs. When not using your hands to speak, try letting your arms rest at your sides. Practicing in front of a mirror can be especially helpful while you are first starting out as a public speaker.

Read more: Positive and Negative Examples of Body Language

8. Maximize your floor space

When delivering your speech, try to walk around the room or stage area with purpose. Some of the most experienced public speakers move around the room as though they are at ease, which can create a more relaxed environment for both the audience and the speaker. Try watching some presentations about topics that interest you to see how seasoned speakers utilize their floor space and apply their methods to your practices.

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