Your public speaking ability affects so many areas of your life. It impacts how well people understand and commit to your ideas, it allows you to persuade, encourage and motivate people, it helps you to build relationships, both in your career and personal life. But it’s also one of the most terrifying things you might do in your life. Is that how you feel? You’re not alone. But don’t worry. Here are just a few things to help:

1. Identify your own strengths

Everyone has a different speaking style. And we all have our own strengths. Being a great public speaker isn’t about finding out what you’re doing wrong and then trying to fix them. It’s about finding your strengths and building on them to enhance your own unique speaking style. So take out a pen – write down what you’re good at, and try to enhance those qualities in your next presentation!

2. Speak from your own experience

“When you speak from notes, you’re going to sound like a robot.”

Do you agree with that statement? You might agree, or you might not. When we speak at people, saying “If you do this,” or “When this happens to you,” we instantly put a gap between ourselves and our audience.

But what if instead, we say, “I find that whenever I speak from notes, this happens.” Suddenly it’s a narrative, and we’re able to compare our experiences with the speaker. We’re engaging our audience.

3. It’s not about how interestingING you are, It’s how interestED you are

Imagine you’re talking to your best friend, but you’re scanning around the room, looking over their head. You would never talk to someone like that! But on a stage, that’s what many of us do!

Public speaking is all about eye contact and controlling the room. It’s about engaging your audience, reading them from moment to moment and adapting your presentation to fit their needs. Be interested in them, and they’ll be interested in you.

4. Speak interactively

Studies at Oxford University and the University of California studying conversation and understanding have figured out that there are three more modalities when you are talking to people. When you’re talking to people they understand you based on three things:

  • 7% Words/what you have to say
  • 55% Visual/body language
  • 38% Tone of voice

Turns out that in many situations the real meaning of what you’re saying is dependent on these two aspects, visual and tone of voice. If 55% is visual and you haven’t cultivated a habit of looking at people while you’re talking to them in a business context, you’re in a lot of trouble. You’re in a lot of trouble. Tone of voice is another issue.

The last is words. The question, how much of your professional development have you actually spent working at a conscious level on voice and visual? For most people at a conscious level, not very much. Of course, you develop the skill. It’s not an artificial skill. It’s something that we have innately. The good news is that you speak most effectively when you’re speaking interactively. Throughout your entire life you’ve been doing it, but for some reason, or for a number of reasons, people abandon this highly sophisticated communication skill when they’re in a business meeting and then they become a mouthpiece of information. They become a kind of robotic deliverer of text. Awful.

Did you know your tone of voice makes up 38% of how well someone will understand you? That’s a huge percentage! People decide who we are based on how we speak. But we all have a different tone of voice. Our perception of someone with a very nasal voice will be completely different from our perception of a person with a very deep, throaty voice. Identifying your natural speaking voice and removing any unconscious habits that may distract people from your message will instantly improve your public speaking abilities.

These are just a few quick tips on developing a Commanding Presence. For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.

The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.

Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.

Participants will learn how to:

Master Eloquent Speaking

  • Think on their feet and respond persuasively and eloquently in one-on-one situations, meetings and large audience situations
  • Effectively use the Focus Method to communicate complex ideas and thoughts
  • Manage their fear of speaking

Become a Charismatic Communicator

  • Master charismatic communication skills, such as how to “be in the moment”
  • Make sincere eye contact
  • Speak effectively from notes
  • Utilize effective platform and meetings skills
  • Learn powerful gestures and movement while communicating
  • Effectively deliver financial and complex data and powerful PowerPoint

Rediscover the Power of their Natural Voice

  • Assess and evaluate their voice quality
  • Perform a wide range of exercises and simple practices to improve the warmth, resonance, and richness of their voice
  • Utilize exercises to improve their voice on a daily basis
  • Improve their diction with simple techniques
  • Manage their speaking anxiety with relaxation techniques​