4 Public Speaking Tips That Will Make You Shine

Photo: flamingo images/shutterstock
confident woman smiling

Public speaking is so many people's worst nightmare! Standing in front of a group, wanting desperately to sound confident and eloquent — but then fear overpowers your voice, stopping you from speaking.

But with a little knowledge and some public speaking tips, you can overcome that fear of public speaking, be it to five or 5,000 members in your audience.

In a recent interview with Clinton Young, an international keynote speaker and world-class coach to aspiring speakers, he shared with me his journey to finding his passion for speaking, helping others do the same, how to do it effectively, and most how to overcome the fear.

In 2008, with the collapse of the economy, Young lost everything. His properties, his business, his credit.

RELATED: How To Become An Expert To Build Confidence & Enjoy Work

Public speaking is essential to leadership.

He felt dead inside, humiliated, hopeless, and disconnected from the world outside. He also felt let down because up until that point, he'd been flying high on life, always trusting his intuition.

While undertaking one of his what he calls, "black sheep habits," of a mindful walk in nature, it dawned on him that in fact, his intuition hadn't let him down.

He'd failed to listen and notice the warning signs that then led him to a devastating point, and in that moment of realization, embraced his spiritual journey to finding his purpose and passion.

He'd had a clear vision of wanting to add value to people's lives, to be standing on his feet, speaking to people. He stepped into the fear by putting himself forward for opportunities.

“The magic is the intersection between the knowingness that something is right for you, and the unknowingness of how you are going to do it. The fear is on the side of not knowing.

That is the fear and step into it! In order to do that, we have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Life happens and our purpose is revealed to us in that zone of stretching — that expansion — when something that lights us up and we feel called to do it. That’s when we can step through that fear.”

It seems the key to overcoming fear is the belief and understanding that the message you have is relevant and important enough to outweigh the fear.

He also shared some valuable principals of how to become not only proficient at speaking, but a truly world-class speaker. He explained that speaking is an essential leadership skill to inspire others, whether you are standing on stage in front of thousands or talking to a team of just a few.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Squash Self-Doubt So You Can Speak Your Mind Without Worrying

Here are 4 public speaking tips to help you really shine in front of an audience.

1. Let your fear become strength by shifting your awareness.

When you're standing up, ready to speak, it’s the head that starts to trigger the fear, telling you stories that you might embarrass yourself or good old imposter syndrome creeps in questioning how worthy you actually are.

Shift your concern from yourself to your audience, and recognize the privilege it is to be sharing something of significance to others — that is not about you.

2. Speak to your audience's pain points.

When people feel understood, they engage so much more with what is being said. You switch off when someone is talking and you just can’t relate to it.

Take some time to research and identify what the collective pain is in the room, so that you can tailor what you're saying to them. This comes back to it not being about you, but about others, and your ability to help them.

3. Tell engaging stories.

According to Young, a great talk should consist of 70 percent stories and 30 percent facts.

“People don’t remember what you do or say; they remember how you make them feel.” When you're delivering facts, your brain waves are not in sync with the listeners.

However, when you start to tell stories, the brain waves between the speaker and the audience resonate in unison, so you become more connected and engaged.

He also advises that stories should be told in the present tense and that they can be as short and succinct as testimonials and metaphors.

4. Create a contrast.

A contrast may be the speed of your voice, where you need to slow down to explain theories and facts, and then when you speed up to reflect the excitement and create visuals.

It can also include using different tools of learning so video versus lecture, for example. Even writing with different colored pens can be a powerfully effective contrast if you're leading a team meeting.

Contrast maintains attention and draws your audience in, and is a great public speaking tip.

Clinton also explains that once you put yourself forward for opportunities and allow yourself to be open to feedback, your awareness deepens, your skills improve, and in turn, your confidence grows.

The key to public speaking is to find the courage and keep going; certainly a metaphor for life.

RELATED: 7 Lies Imposter Syndrome Makes You Believe & How To Deal With Them

Dr Rana Al-Falaki helps professionals re-ignite their passion so they can enjoy more success in every aspect of their lives. She is the host of Be Free, Be Fun, Be Fearless podcast, and can be contacted through her website.

This article was originally published at Light Changes Coaching. Reprinted with permission from the author.