12 Strategies for Developing Your Oratory Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 2, 2021 | Published October 9, 2020

Updated March 2, 2021

Published October 9, 2020

Public speaking is a sought-after skill in nearly every field, so it's worth investing some time to develop your oratory abilities. By discovering the importance of these skills and researching tips for enhancing them, you can distinguish yourself as a valuable candidate and asset to any organization. In this article, we explain what oratory skills are, explore why possessing them is so important for your career and provide a list of strategies that can help you improve your oratory skills.

Related: How To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills (With Examples)

What are oratory skills and why are they important?

Oratory refers to a mastery of public speaking, which requires a variety of strengths and soft skills, including:

  • Stamina

  • Charisma

  • Empathy

  • Confidence

  • Communication skills

When you possess strong oratory skills, it enables you to deliver speeches or presentations in a way that is effective and impactful. This ability is typically prized by employers regardless of the industry you work in or the position you hold. By developing and highlighting your oratory skills, you can demonstrate that you are an asset to the organization you work for. Here are some tips that can help you develop your oratory skills:

1. Study great speeches.

One of the best ways to learn and understand what it takes to be a successful orator is to read, watch and listen to great speeches. Pay attention to things like how they:

  • Structure sentences to develop an engaging rhythm.

  • Choose specific words to create vivid imagery and impact.

  • Manipulate their voice to emphasize certain points.

  • Pause after certain words or statements for dramatic effect.

2. Practice public speaking.

Confidence is perhaps the most important aspect of effective oration. To build your confidence, you need to become more comfortable with standing and speaking in front of an audience. The best way to accomplish this is through practice. You should rehearse your speech aloud and find ways to use your oratory skills in realistic environments.

Feeling adequately prepared also plays a big role in confidence, so devote time to researching the topic and developing your speech. As you're delivering your speech, remember that nervousness is completely natural. Breathing deeply and focusing on the audience are great ways to calm your nervousness and exude confidence.

Related: Tips for Improving Your Public-Speaking Skills

3. Use your vocal range.

Using a varied voice keeps your audience interested and engaged throughout your presentation. Explore your range and decide the best points in your speech for a little inflection. Once you decide the points where you should alter your tone, incorporate them into your rehearsal.

4. Understand the importance of nonverbal communication.

Your vocal projection is certainly important, but you need to be aware of the body language you're using and how it adds to or detracts from what you're saying. Your nonverbal communication should convey your ideas without drawing attention to itself. Use your hands and even walk around the stage, just do so intentionally.

5. Harness the element of surprise.

Your speech needs to be clear and cohesive, but it should also have a certain level of unpredictability. This keeps your audience's attention and makes your presentation much more memorable.

Though it's important throughout your speech, you must grab your audience's attention at the beginning and end of your presentation. Instead of starting your speech by simply stating what you plan to talk about, use a striking quotation, an interesting story or a jarring statistic. While concluding, deliver an impactful and memorable statement or summary.

6. Showcase your personality.

Allowing your personality to come through makes you a more effective communicator because it enhances your credibility. When the audience can connect with you and see you as a real person, it fosters a certain level of trust that benefits your oration.

7. Believe what you're saying.

Speeches and presentations are typically persuasive in nature, regardless of the topic being talked about. To build trust and successfully persuade your audience, you must believe in your message as well.

8. Create an outline.

Having an outline instead of a script is a great way to ensure that you can quickly and easily find your place and refresh your memory so that you can avoid looking down too frequently or for too long. Though it's completely fine to look away occasionally, maintaining eye contact with your audience keeps them focused on you and your message.

9. Utilize personal anecdotes.

Typically, audiences respond more to emotions rather than logic. Even if your topic is highly technical or logical, incorporating personal stories helps your audience connect with you and your message. Funny anecdotes can be especially beneficial because they get your audience's attention.

10. Know and respect your audience.

As you are writing your speech, you must think about who you are addressing. You should consider things like what they already know about the topic and the kind of language and stories they would likely respond to. Using this information, you can create a suitable message for your audience that uses or avoids certain acronyms or technical lingo. Aside from allowing you to tailor your message so that your audience can connect with and understand it, this also ensures that you're able to show your audience the respect that they expect and deserve.

11. Adapt to audience feedback.

Preparation and practice are vital when delivering a speech, but you also need to maintain a certain level of flexibility. Focus on your audience, watch for their reactions and then adjust your message so that it meets their needs. For example, if you make a statement that leaves your audience looking confused, you can then spend additional time clarifying your point before you move on.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

12. Incorporate visual aids.

When used correctly, visual aids can be a great way to capture an audience's attention, provide clarity about the topic and enhance your message. They also pose the threat of becoming distracting if you use them too frequently, so use them wisely and sparingly.

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