As an entrepreneur, you’ll be speaking in public often, pitching to investors, motivating your team, and providing insights to general audiences. Improving your skills as a public speaker could help you seem more authoritative, make you more persuasive, and help you see better results in many different areas of your life and career.
So how do you do it?
Dress to Impress
One of the easiest steps you can take is improving the way you dress. Your audience is going to see you before they hear you, so the more professional and polished you look, the more influential your words are going to be. Tailoring your clothes so that they fit perfectly and adding a few eye-catching accessories like diamond stud earrings could be the best way to make a strong first impression.
It’s also helpful to dress your best on a daily basis, so you can improve your confidence. Speaking of which…
Improve Your Confidence
Confident people make for better public speakers. They hold themselves with more authority, they speak more precisely, and they end up being much more persuasive.
These are some of the best ways to build your confidence.
- Study your material well. Always take the time to study your material well. Whatever you’re speaking about, you should consider yourself an expert on the subject. If you know all the data points, you’ll be much more authoritative in your delivery and much less likely to make mistakes.
- Improve your health and fitness. Put some effort into your health and fitness, eating better foods and exercising regularly. The more physically fit you are, the more comfortable you’ll feel in front of an audience and you’ll become mentally stronger as well.
- Talk to lots of people. You don’t have to speak publicly in front of an audience to gain more confidence in your speaking. Simply talking to other people, including family members, neighbors, and strangers can work in your favor.
- Accomplish goals. Achieving goals is one of the best ways to improve your confidence. Set ambitious, yet achievable goals for yourself and do your best to accomplish them in both your professional and personal life.
- Fake it ‘til you make it. Even if you’re not feeling confident, act confident. In time, you’ll begin to feel the confidence naturally.
Work on Your Posture
Better posture makes a better impression on people and makes it easier for you to project your voice. Hold yourself tall and upright, with your shoulders back and your chest slightly out. Get used to this posture even when you’re not public speaking, so it comes naturally to you.
Practice (and Film Yourself Doing It)
Practicing is the best way to improve as a public speaker, and your practice becomes even more effective when you film yourself doing it. Watch yourself on video to see how you look to other people and identify areas for potential improvement, such as using more or fewer gestures, changing your pace, or holding yourself differently.
Get Comfortable Speaking Without Notes
There’s nothing inherently wrong with using notes when making a public speech, but you’re going to be much more confident and natural if you’re not reliant on them. As much as possible, practice your speaking without using any notes and get used to the idea of speaking independently.
Learn to Live With Mistakes
The fear of public speaking is a common one, but it’s actually rooted in a different fear: the fear of making mistakes. Most of us hate the idea of mispronouncing a word, or worse, forgetting all our material once we’re on stage. Accordingly, if we stumble over our words or make a major mistake in front of an audience, we’re likely to implode.
To overcome this, you have to learn to live with your mistakes. There’s no such thing as a perfect public speaker; the best public speakers aren’t ones who make no mistakes, but instead, are the ones who can recover from mistakes when they make them.
Target Specific Audiences
Another way to improve yourself as a public speaker is to target specific audiences. Rather than talking the same way, with the same anecdotes to all people, you should adjust your material, your pacing, and even your wording to best suit the people listening to you presently.
Ask for Feedback
Finally, make sure to ask for feedback from your audience members. You may feel like a perfectly competent public speaker, but your audience may still have some suggestions for you that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Take this feedback seriously, especially if you see similar comments from many different individuals.
Improving yourself as a public speaker is a long process, especially if you don’t have much practice at the moment. But if you remain patient and persistent, you can eventually transform yourself into a much more powerful communicator.
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