Every communicator needs to improve – and can improve. You can; I can. Whether you usually speak to five people, 500 people, or 5,000 people – I hope you desire to continually improve as a public speaker. Whether you give presentations at work, preach sermons to a church, or lead a football team, public communication is key.
Here are three keys that can help all of us get better at speaking to groups of people.
1. Evaluate Your Speaking
Howard Hendricks said “Experience doesn’t make you better. Only evaluated experience makes you better.” Periodically do the humbling hard work of evaluating your public speaking. Use video, audio, etc. to actually watch/listen to yourself. You don’t need to be hypercritical, but you will probably notice some simple things that can be improved. You will often see a physical tic that is distracting, like licking your lips a lot, etc. You also might hear a ‘filler’ phrase you fall into for fear of silence. For some reason I used the phrase “flat out” about ten times a few weeks ago in a message. Even I was distracted!
Be a lifelong learner.
2. Be Yourself
We all have people we admire in our field and who we need to learn from. But learn from them; don’t try to be them. It can come across a bit ‘plastic’ when you try to be just like someone else. Learn from others, but be yourself.
3. Own the Message
Be excited enough about what you are sharing to be able to communicate from the overflow. Own the message. Try to minimize the use of your notes. Every communicator has notes, but try not to be tied to them. Constantly referring to your notes screams “I have not internalized the message.”
God bless you as you speak!