13 Successful Public Speaking Tips

If you can master these 13 Steps to Successful Public Speaking, you’ll be on track to achieving a powerful skill set that can take you anywhere in life.

This article aims to give you an in-depth set of speaking tips you can install to plan, curate and deliver any presentation that comes your way.

Public speaking continues to be one of the most powerful forms of influence available in society today. For thousands of years, we’ve been sitting around the fire, telling stories and sharing valuable lessons with each other. Today, it’s even more influential as your platform has reached well beyond that of a firepit. It can help advance your career, grow your audience, promote your business, and it can even help improve the quality of your relationships.

The best part? The world’s best speakers are NOT born with their skill. Just like any other skill in life, effective communication is one that must be taught, and fortunately, there is a framework for it. 

Just like any other skill in life, effective communication is one to be taught and there is a framework for it.

Now, how do you start developing this skill and, most importantly, how can you make sure you’re successful in doing so when it’s time to step on that (virtual) stage?

Let’s look at a step-by-step framework that has been developed by one of the most recognized public speakers in the world today, Eric Edmeades. His method will help to walk you through the process of becoming a world-class public speaker in record time (if you choose to properly implement it).  

We’ve broken it up into three sections:

1. The Preparation – Key life principles to instill to ensure you’re always prepared to give an effective and memorable speech (even at a moment’s notice).

2. The Creation – The most important steps to take and mistakes to avoid as you build out every single one of your talks.

3. The Delivery – Proven speaking strategies that will help you rock your delivery each and every time you step on stage, like a pro.

Let’s get into it.

01

The Preparation

The greatest speakers are prepared to deliver their speech (any speech) at the drop of a dime. They don’t need weeks to sit down and get the prep work done. They live their message day in and day out, they know their stories like nobody else, and they’ve mastered the art of sharing their message and stories with the world whenever the opportunity presents itself.

If your goal is to be an authentic and influential speaker, your preparation should start long before ever even having to give a talk. Here are some habits you can incorporate into your life right now that will get you prepared to become a world-class public speaker.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies
1. Learn from other speakers

There are a number of mistakes beginner speakers make, but if you take the time to learn from other successful speakers in the industry, you can avoid making them yourself. Doing this will save you a huge amount of time, money and energy on your journey to becoming world-class.  

The most convenient way to learn from other speakers is to get into the habit of watching them. Attend speaking events, watch video recordings, and pay attention to what you like and dislike so you can incorporate some of those techniques into your talks.

You could also look into joining Speaker Masterminds, Speaking Clubs, Facebook groups for speakers, or a variety of other organizations where you can spend time getting familiar with the world of speaking and the speakers who are in it. These outlets also act as great spaces to find speaking opportunities and expand your network. You never know where a connection might lead you.

Perhaps the most effective way to learn from other speakers is to invest in receiving professional training from them. This will help you avoid all the embarrassing mistakes they made and instead improve ten times as fast. You can enroll in online courses, attend speaking workshops, or get 1-on-1 coaching if you’re truly dedicated to growing your speaking path fast.

Perhaps the most effective way to learn from other speakers is to get training from them.

Perhaps the most effective way to learn from other speakers is to invest in receiving professional training from them. This will help you avoid all the embarrassing mistakes they made and instead improve ten times as fast. You can enroll in online courses, attend speaking workshops, or get 1-on-1 coaching if you’re truly dedicated to growing your speaking path fast.

2. Collect your stories

If your goal is to be able to engage your audience and leave a lasting impression, one of the best things you can do is learn to present your talk in a way that allows you why you need to tell stories.  To do that, it’s important you know which stories you can tell.

Some of the best talks in the world are simply collections of stories and life experiences that serve to make a point, or many. This is because stories are the programming language of the human brain. Since the beginning of spoken language, humans have used stories to pass on information and ideas from person to person, generation to generation. Stories evoke emotion and create memories in a way pure facts simply cannot.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies

Stories evoke emotion and create memories in a way pure facts simply cannot.

As a speaker, one of the best things you can do to prepare is to get in the habit of recognizing your most valuable stories. Then you will want to create a system for documenting them. This way, when it comes time for you to give a talk, you’re already prepared with an inventory of stories to refer back to with things to talk about.

3. Practice

Like taking up any new skill, practice is one of the most important aspects of becoming a great public speaker. However, you don’t necessarily need to step on a stage to practice. Instead, practice telling the stories from your life as you collect them.

There are plenty of opportunities in your day-to-day life to practice telling stories: around the dinner table, out with friends, at a social gathering, in networking groups, at speaking clubs, at masterminds, the list is endless!

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies

If you want to become a great, authentic speaker, get in the habit of telling great stories whenever you have an opportunity..

If you want to become a great, authentic speaker, get in the habit of telling great, authentic stories. Whenever you have an opportunity. And don’t just take these opportunities lightly—each one is your chance to tell your stories with color, emotion and details. That way, you will develop a repertoire of well-rehearsed material you can use to create a polished talk without needing to spend hours memorizing scripts and rehearsing to prepare.

Just like any habit, this might take some commitment and dedication at first, but over time you will find it becomes second nature, and at that point, it all pays off.

02

The Creation

Developing a new talk can be a daunting task for some, but if you follow these few guidelines and be mindful to avoid a few mistakes, you’ll discover that creating a new talk can actually be quite quick and painless.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies
4. Strategic Objectives

Before you set out to design your talk, you must first get clear about what it is you want to accomplish with your speech. What’s the end result you most desire?

Some people are very good at considering their primary objectives when they give a speech. These could range from things like promoting a book, selling a product, gaining political support, and they’re usually pretty easy to identify.

The real magic in considering your strategic objectives comes when you get clear on your secondary objectives. These are the kinds of things that you might like to happen after you give a talk, even if they are not the main reason you are there. For example, booking your next talk, getting more podcast interviews, gaining social media followers, finding a booking agent, networking, and so on.

Having total clarity around your strategic objectives, both primary and secondary, gives you the ability to tailor your talk specifically for what you are trying to receive as your outcome. Overall, plotting your objectives will help you get a much better return on your time investment from giving the talk in the first place.

5. Get to know your audience

All audiences will be different, and the best of the best speakers in the world are the ones who can connect their content in a way any audience can relate to. To do this for yourself as a speaker, it is critical you spend some time getting to know your audience before you create a talk for them.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies

It is critical you spend some time getting to know your audience before you create a talk for them.

Do your research to find out what demographics generally attend the events you plan to speak at, find out what problems they have, what they want out of life, and what they are scared of. Find out as much as possible about the people you are speaking to so when you are creating your talks you can tailor them to the audience’s interests.

This background knowledge on your audience can benefit you in other ways too. It can help you avoid a cultural faux pas, you can make very topical jokes and references they will understand, you can avoid references and examples they may not connect with, and you can choose stories that may be more relevant to their experiences and thus more relatable.

6. Write Your Talk

Wait! Don’t literally write your talk. This is the step so many speakers get wrong. Writing out a talk word for word is counterproductive, time consuming, and can often lead to a suboptimal delivery.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies

Writing out a talk word for word is counterproductive, time-consuming, and often can lead to a suboptimal delivery.

Do your research to find out what demographics generally attend the events you plan to speak at, find out what problems they have, what they want out of life, and what they are scared of. Find out as much as possible about the people you are speaking to so when you are creating your talks you can tailor them to the audience’s interests.

This background knowledge on your audience can benefit you in other ways too. It can help you avoid a cultural faux pas, you can make very topical jokes and references they will understand, you can avoid references and examples they may not connect with, and you can choose stories that may be more relevant to their experiences and thus more relatable.

7. Plan your Start and Finish

The two most crucial parts of your talk are how you begin and how you end.

The beginning of your talk should be where you put in most of your effort. It should capture your audience’s attention and prove to them why they would want to listen to the rest of your speech. Having a strong start makes the rest of the speech go so much smoother. Once you have established a connection with the audience, they will hang on closely to the rest of your talk and not miss a word you say.

Just as important, your ending should be carefully planned out. Your audience will always remember how you left them feeling, and the way you finish will control that. But, perhaps more importantly, having a well-planned ending makes it easier to end on time, which is one of the most respectful things you need to do if you want to get a standing ovation and get re-booked by the same organizer.

8. Prepare your slides

Slides can be an important part of a talk. They can add a lot of value, share a lot of information and greatly enhance a presentation. However, they can also be problematic, so you should never rely on your slides completely.

You should never rely on your slides completely.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies

The innocent mistake many speakers make is they structure their talk in such a way that it needs the slides in order to be successful. Some speakers use them to keep them on track, they rely on the slides to convey key facts or information, or they count on video clips and pictures within the slides to make up some portion of their content. That’s great and all, but what happens if there are technical problems? (Which, by the way, always happens to the speaker who needs her slides the most.)

To use slides most effectively you should create a talk that will be effective WITHOUT the slides, and then create slides that will enhance your presentation, rather than carry your presentation. This will prevent the “death by powerpoint” type talk, or the dreaded “my slides don’t work so my talk is over” embarrassment. You can never be too prepared, and you’ll be thankful you are.

03

The Delivery

Finally, it’s time to take the stage and deliver the talk you’ve been perfecting for what feels like your entire life. At its core, this is what public speaking is all about; delivering the talk. There is a lot riding on a good delivery, but it’s not so intimidating if you closely follow these few simple guidelines.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies
9. Before the Talk

A great delivery starts long before you get on stage. Investing time in yourself before you give your talk is one of the best investments you can make—and it’ll pay off. This means making sure you are well hydrated, well nourished, and well rested.

If you are at a live event, make sure you take the time to visit the room beforehand. This will allow you to get to know the A/V team, see where you will enter the stage, and get familiar with how the microphone works. The last thing you want is for something to derail you on the day of your speech, so checking out the venue ahead of time means fewer unexpected surprises.

If you’re speaking at an online event, make sure you’re ready ahead of time by checking your lighting, your camera position, and your microphone. You want to ensure you have all the links you need to log in for the event, and of course that you’re operating in the right time zone. Prepare for technical glitches regardless, but at least the more you can check for ahead of time, the smoother your talk will go.

10. Manage your state of mind

Your state of mind is perhaps one of the most critical factors in the quality of your delivery. Your state of mind will make or break the delivery of your speech, but there are a lot of things you can do to help put yourself in an optimal state before you take the stage.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies

Your state of mind is perhaps one of the most critical factors in the quality of your delivery.  

Visualize your talk going well. It seems simple, but so many speakers stress over what happens if something goes wrong. They focus on the potential negative outcome, and it puts them in a fearful state of mind. Instead, imagine everything that could go well, like the audience giving a standing ovation, you having fun and delivering at your absolute peak, and the talk going perfectly. Make sure the movie you play in your mind is a fun one, not a scary one.

Handle your nerves. If you want to stay in a peak state of mind, you cannot be nervous. Big ask, we know. But one of the simplest ways to do that is to remind yourself that nervousness is actually the same feeling as excitement, only with a negative expectation. Reframe your nervousness as excitement and let that feeling pump you up instead of bring you down.

Nervousness is just the same feeling as excitement, but with a negative expectation.  

You might also be worried you’ll forget what to say, which is a common cause of nervousness and stage fright. We promise, the less you worry about it, the less likely it is to happen. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen if you do forget? Take a moment and refer to your notes, or ask the audience what you were talking about, take a deep breath and it will come back to you… As long as you didn’t write the speech out word for word…

11. Bring your best

Trust us, now is certainly not the time to let your audience know your nerves are kicking in!

The way you handle yourself on stage has a massive influence on how the audience feels about your talk. Now is not the time to hold back and get shy on them. Bring your passion, your energy and your enthusiasm. The more you allow your true self to show, the more memorable you will be on stage.

Think of the pre-game rituals of professional athletes. Think of the energy elite actors bring to their performances. As a speaker, you should be bringing this level of energy to your delivery. You are responsible for bringing the energy for an entire audience, which you simply cannot do if you hold back. Every audience appreciates a speaker who gives it everything they’ve got.

Deliver your talk as though you were reading a storybook to 8-year-olds. Get into characters, use funny voices, crazy actions, and wild gestures. Act larger than life as you deliver your talk and your audience will LOVE you for it. Temper your bold over-the-top energy and enthusiasm by using silence to your advantage as well. Incorporating both high-energy and low-energy sections in your talk will add excitement and variety for the audience and thus create more impact.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies
12. After The Talk

If you long to be a bonafide world-class speaker, your job is not done when you walk off the stage or log off the online conference. 

After the speech, it is important to connect with your audience. If possible, answer questions for people, sign autographs, and try your best to be accessible. Too many speakers leave events immediately after they give a talk. It makes them seem arrogant and inaccessible, and robs them of the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with their audience. You never know who might be sitting out there.

Once the event is over and the audience has gone home, ask the organizers to give you feedback.  

Once the event is over and the audience has gone home, ask the organizers to give you feedback. Perhaps they surveyed the audience, or had comments from attendees. Feedback is free consulting, and you can use the information you gather to improve your talk for the next audience. If you reject the feedback, you are rejecting the opportunity to grow and improve, which would be downright silly.
13. Review the video

High-performance athletes, pilots, performers and pretty much anyone who is at the top of their field make a habit of reviewing their performance. You should too.

Record every single talk you do, and rewatch the videos to find opportunities to improve. Constant incremental improvements will help get you to greatness faster than just about anything else you can do.

Picture taken at one of the Speaker Nation Speaking Academies

In Conclusion

Whether your dream is to speak on stages, at online conferences, in meetings, on video recordings, or you just want to improve your communication skills, public speaking is one of, if not the most powerful skill you can learn.  

We hope that by giving you this framework you can see that public speaking is not the fear-inducing, complicated monster that 98% of the population is terrified of, but rather a fun and powerful way to share ideas and spread your message around the world. 

The path to mastery is long and challenging, but we promise you it’s worth it. Committing to embodying these steps in your speaking career will open doors you never dreamed possible, better your business, advance your career, improve your relationships and so much more, because of something we like to call “The Stage Effect.

The Stage Effect is the attraction people feel for you when you deliver a great presentation in front of a big audience. Learning how to leverage it will benefit you beyond your wildest dreams.

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