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The ability to speak in public is a skill that anyone can use. From coaches to entrepreneurs and writers, anyone who wants to go out into the world promoting what they do needs to be an effective speaker.
This article discusses five ways to become a better public speaker — five methods to hone your raw talents to become a more effective communicator overall.
Related: This is all you need if you want to get paid speaking engagements
1. Practice in different environments
This tip comes from an exercise that musicians sometimes use when practicing.
The idea is to see if you can replicate your achievements wherever you are. As a speaker you come across all kinds of scenarios and target groups. Surely you’ve had distractions around you, standing in front of people with different interests, being under different lighting and sound conditions, and more.
Practicing speaking in different environments forces you to perform comfortably in all circumstances. Without the crutch of your favorite environment, you have to memorize your rules and directions completely on your own.
Related: 4 expert-backed strategies for improving your communication skills
2. Produce different kinds of ‘talking’ content
Another tip to become a more complete speaker is to produce a variety of speaking content. Speakers don’t always have to stand on a stage and talk to a live audience.
I create engaging content through many channels – from my website and blog to YouTube and my podcast series. I distribute audio and video recordings of my speeches to my clients and promote them on my social channels. I go live on Facebook and other platforms to speak directly to my audience that way. You can do the same.
This variety is not accidental. Producing these different types of content in the digital space allows individuals to hone their speaking skills and reach a larger audience than they personally could.
3. Get active on audio platforms
Here’s a talking tip that isn’t so much about performing as learning from what others are already doing: Get active on professional audio platforms like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces to meet like-minded individuals and discuss relevant topics.
By doing this, you can compare notes with industry counterparts as you work on your speaking skills. You will try to communicate with other business leaders and coaches from all over the world and from all walks of life.
Related: The role of effective communication in entrepreneurial success
4. Take every opportunity to speak
Speak to a group at every opportunity. I always wondered how I could address an audience when the professional invites dried up for a while, and the answer was local service groups.
Toastmasters International, Rotary International, Lions Clubs International and the Freemasons are all great examples of the kind of organizations that not only do great work for their local communities, but also welcome speakers and presenters to provide their members with valuable information.
I find chapters of these groups in many of the cities and towns I visit. Having these groups near me allows me to reduce my travel time and is simply more convenient to continue practicing speaking skills while also putting my skills to good use for my community.
Not only will this help you with your public speaking skills, but it is also a rewarding experience.
5. Work with a speaking coach
Finally, any speaker-in-training can benefit from working with a speaking coach or mentor. These professionals give their clients professional tips and feedback on everything from the words they use to how they convey them to the public.
Some speakers wonder why they can’t just rely on their friends and family to give them honest feedback, and there are some good reasons not to. Family and friends are nice, but that’s exactly the problem. Speakers need the unwavering honesty of professional coaches if they really want to kick their bad habits and become stronger.
I hired a professional speaking coach to improve my skills, and I can confirm that it pays off every day in my career.
Related: Leading speaking coach shares his strategies for getting a deluge of clients through webinars and virtual presentations
Communication is everything for professionals
Whether in the business world, non-profit or coaching, speaking effectively is essential to success. Communication means everything to professionals, and those who can’t tell others what they’re doing and what they’re about can’t expect their vision to take off too far.
I followed these five actionable tips to become a better speaker, and I came out the other end a communicator I never thought possible. You will do the same.