5 public speaking tips to make presentations safely – WAU

Oratory is the art of clear and objective communication with the public, uniting verbal and body languages. Great speakers in our history are recognized for their persuasive power and eloquence in defending their ideas. In this post, we detail the concept and list tips for you to improve your presentations.

Have you ever attended a speech or presentation that made an impact and managed, even if momentarily, to hold your attention to the ideas presented?

When we remember such events, we tend to attribute the speaker’s speaking capacity to some kind of natural gift. However, although important, pure talent is not the determining factor for the success of public speaking.

Observing great speakers in history, we notice different techniques that can be applied in any type of speech.

Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, for example, are still remembered today for their persuasiveness, even if they acted in completely different fields. In common, both cherished the intensive training and preparation.

So, how about looking at oratory as a skill that can be trained, instead of limiting it to the category of natural talent?

In this text, we will define the concept of public speaking and the obstacles to its improvement. In addition, we have 5 essential tips for you to improve your public speaking!

What is oratory?

In a simple and punctual way, we can define the concept of public speaking as the art of communicating clearly and objectively with the public.

However, like everything that involves an audience, this definition can vary to add principles such as eloquence, persuasiveness and even interaction with viewers.

It is wrong to think that all this can be achieved by a person who only has good verbal communication.

A good speaker needs to work in body language appropriate to the audience and the idea he wants to convey.

More than that, it is essential to have an extremely well-structured message as a basis, in order not to let the audience get lost in inattention or capture information different from the one you planned.

For all the characteristics that compose it, it is not surprising to notice that, in the West, this art has its origin in Ancient Greece: the first manual that sought to guide its use comes from the region that today is known as Sicily.

Since then, historical names like Aristotle, Cicero, Winston Churchill and Barack Obama have stood out in the study, application and improvement of the oratory.

What obstacles prevent a good presentation in public?

As we indicated at the beginning of the text, the idea that oratory can only be perfected by people born with the gift is distorted.

Even people who have spent part of their lives in fear of presenting projects or ideas in public have a total chance of mastering this communication skill. To begin, it is necessary to understand the obstacles to be overcome.

Nervousness

This is the main villain faced by speakers, especially those who are just beginning their careers or do not have enough experience to feel safe.

Who doesn’t remember the nervousness of public speaking experienced in childhood before a presentation at school? As frightening as the memory is, you have to leave it behind.

Feeling nervous before an important event is natural and accepting that nature is the first step in controlling it. Ask yourself what is providing such a feeling. They can be negative thoughts, lack of preparation or even physical discomfort. By identifying the cause, it is easier to work on the resolution.

Diction problems

The diction concerns the way we pronounce the sounds of syllables, letters and words. This factor is fundamental for a good oratory because, if poorly worked, it can make it difficult for the public to understand.

A speaker who speaks too fast or skips certain syllables, for example, can quickly lose audience attention.

As with the previous problem, identifying the cause is crucial. They can originate from disordered breathing, lack of verbal knowledge or even the lack of heating of facial muscles.

As a cure, there are methods and training suggested by speech therapy professionals.

Fear

The fear of performing in public is common and refers to our almost irrational search for acceptance. The larger the audience, the greater the difficulty of being accepted by everyone.

At least, that is what our subconscious tells us. A good way to overcome this shyness is to deepen the knowledge about the public. After all, we know that the unknown is always more frightening.

What are the 5 essential tips to improve your oratory?

We already know the concept and the origin of the oratory, as well as its importance for good communication and some of the main problems that need to be overcome.

Now, let’s present 5 valuable tips for you to develop and perfect this skill. Follow the reading!

1. Know your audience

We cite audience knowledge as an efficient way to ease the nervousness experienced before and during a public presentation. This tip, however, goes beyond that.

Understanding the characteristics of your listeners helps in structuring and planning the message you want to get across. If you are familiar with the concepts of marketing, you may have heard of persona, right?

The persona is a semi-skilled profile used for the development of marketing strategies, with the objective of tailor the content of the message to the audience you want to reach. The same idea can be applied to improve your oratory.

For example, if you go to a room of academics who are familiar with the subject, the use of more technical and complex terms can be a way to earn your respect and speak with authority. If the same subject is addressed to pre-university students, the use of the same terms can mean a barrier to assimilating the idea.

2. Work on interacting with listeners

Have you ever found yourself in a class or lecture where the speaker spent hours speaking, giving the impression that he was not concerned with the audience?

If so, we venture to say that you probably were unable to absorb all of the content and had difficulty staying interested. This is not what you want for your own audience, do you agree?

Interacting with the audience does not mean that you should be open to questions from the beginning of the presentation.

A simple technique, such as establishing eye contact, may be necessary to awaken connection, empathy and engagement from the audience.

After all, if you speak as if someone is not listening, the tendency is that listeners do not feel included.

Remember that eye contact should be done in a trained manner. Mere improvisation can create uncomfortable situations, such as looking too long at one person or just one side of the room.

The ideal is to look at the listeners, in order to make everyone feel worthy of attention. In the end, the opening for questions and comments is great to crown the interaction.

3. Use audiovisual resources

Nowadays, the digital transformation technological tools to which we have access provide greater ease in any type of communication.

The production of videos, graphics, audios and images can serve as support to structure the idea that the speaker wants to convey. In addition, they provide listeners with real-time examples and illustrations of what you are talking about.

The exploration of these elements still provides greater security to the speaker. After all, in case of forgetfulness, a look at the audiovisual resource may be enough to refresh the memory and continue within the script.

However, we must remember: never read this material to the public. This can create a feeling of unpreparedness and damage your credibility.

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4. Avoid language addictions

We call language addictions the often involuntary expressions, which appear between one sentence and another, as an unconscious objective of filling the silence.

Do you know that pause to think that it is accompanied by an “ééééé”? Or the space between one sentence and another that is filled with an “ok”?

These are not beneficial practices for your oratory.

How to end it? Training and practice. If you completely master the content you are about to pass on, the tendency is that these addictions become less frequent.

If they persist, a valuable tip is to simply replace them with silence.

Schedule breaks to be respected between one speech and another. Thus, you respect your own time and avoid the appearance of unwanted sounds.

5. Make use of storytelling

The main objective of the oratory is to involve the public in the subject being addressed. Nothing better for this than the application of storytelling techniques.

They represent a change in your approach to content, which gains a closer grip on a story being told. This allows for a stronger connection with the public, who, in turn, have greater dexterity in assimilating and memorizing their speech.

For storytelling to be efficient, it is necessary to create a scenario that reflects the listeners’ pains and concerns and then presents the conflicts and their solutions. This indication of overcoming is a way of making the audience see themselves in their words, creating an emotional connection with the message.

Developing a good oratory is essential for professionals in different fields, especially those who relate in some way to a certain type of audience.

Therefore, understand that it is not a purely natural process and therefore requires overcoming barriers. In addition, practice and constant training are essential to improve your presentations.

So, did you see how your oratory can be improved? Understanding this is the first step for you to speak in public with greater security. Do you want to go deeper into the subject? Check out this article that tells how to capture the audience’s attention from the content!