Public Speaking is one of Matter’s top skills linked to performance and career success. Matter helps professionals tease out blindspots and areas for growth in skills like public speaking through regular peer-to-peer feedback.
Definition of Public Speaking: Speaks to a live audience in an informative, persuasive, and entertaining manner.
While public speaking may not be a regular part of most jobs, you will eventually have to speak in front of an audience. Whether it’s to share updates with your teams or present your work. Public speaking combines a wide range of skills to communicate ideas, motivate teams, and provide proper training. Great public speakers can have a powerful influence on their audience, and in some cases have the potential to change the lives of those listening.
Barbara Corcoran: As a prominent business investor, Corcoran is used to being on the other side of public speaking, as part of the audience. Throughout the years, and more recently as one of the primary investors on the TV show Shark Tank, Corcoran has had to develop her own public speaking skills. She promotes public speaking as a powerful opportunity for all professionals: ”If you’re afraid of public speaking, you’re missing out on one of the biggest opportunities to grow your business.”
Brené Brown: A researcher and professor at the University of Houston, Brown is most known for her motivational #1 New York Times best-selling books that have influenced millions of people. With that success came a flood of public speaking opportunities, which she was reluctant to accept because of how nervous she gets speaking in front of crowds. Over time, Brown has embraced her vulnerability to deliver speeches as powerful as her books, first on the TED stage and then as the first Netflix-produced, recorded motivational speech on the streaming platform. Brown is particularly fond of sharing personal and heartfelt stories to connect and bond with her audience: “Connection is everything.”
Tony Robbins: One of the most recognized and mentioned motivational public speakers of the last two decades, Robbins has been hailed as a game-changer in his presentations. Oprah Winfrey said that Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event was ”one of the most incredible experiences” of her life. Robbins makes his presentations memorable by tapping into his audience’s emotions and delivering as much value as possible. In order to do this, he needs to know his audience. “The more you understand what somebody wants, needs, and fears, the more you can figure out how to add value.”
Acting confidently: A big mistake nervous speakers make is apologizing. When we are feeling nervous, we say things such as ‘It’s just my opinion,’ or ‘I’m not really sure,’ or ‘I could be wrong, but...’ This is detrimental to your message. Be sure you believe in what you are presenting to help you feel confident about the information you are sharing.
Holding a rehearsal: If you want to give a presentation that is compelling enough to inspire audiences to listen to your call to action, you need to give yourself plenty of time to prepare, so when you step on stage you know your presentation inside and out. A big mistake speakers make is failing to properly rehearse.
Making eye contact: When you look people in the eye, you establish rapport. You make an impact. You send a compelling message. Sustained and purposeful eye contact is crucial in public speaking because it gives you a chance to create a good impression. It can mean all the difference when you’re trying to get the audience on your side.
Smiling from start to finish: Smiling is simple, powerful and very effective. Smile before you head on stage. Smile as your audience enters the room. And smile during your speech. When you take a moment to smile, it naturally brings a feeling of confidence and relaxation over your entire body.
Speaking with passion: In order to really communicate with people through speech, you need to have a passion for your subject. Without passion, your speech is meaningless. You need to exude a level of sincerity in your emotion when communicating to your audience if you want them to be moved by your presentation.
Structuring your speech: Tell your speech or presentation in a clear, logical way that is easy to understand. You want your audience members to walk away with a clear grasp of what you said, as opposed to trying to piece your message together on their own.
Telling personal stories: Storytelling puts an audience at ease, humanizes you as a speaker, and makes your messages more memorable. Audiences will remember your stories more easily than facts and figures, and they’re more likely to enjoy your presentation. Another benefit is that personal stories are easier for you to remember.
Using hand gestures: The best, most charismatic speakers and influencers know the importance of using hand gestures. Studies have shown that gestures increase the value of our message by 60 percent.
Varying your speaking pace: : Work to vary your speaking pace throughout the speech. Varying your speech makes it more interesting for the audience and adds emotion to the content. Without pace variation, you’re in danger of sounding monotone. You can speak faster to convey excitement, or slower to reflect sadness or importance.
Who can benefit from practicing public speaking? Matter is helping professionals at all levels get actionable feedback to improve their public speaking.
Public Speaking shouldn’t be practiced in a vacuum. Improve your public speaking by exploring and developing these complementary skills.