Developing Public Speaking Skills…without the “Public”

The common phrase “practice makes perfect” holds true when considering public speaking, but here’s the question: How do you practice public speaking…when you’re lacking the “public” part?

Well, for anyone trying to hone their talents without having to round-up a group of people, we have a few tips to polish your stage presence.

Speaking out loud helps…A LOT:

First off…yes you may sound a little crazy if someone hears you fumbling over your business pitch in the shower, BUT it’s a valuable opportunity to really nail-down your presentation to land that deal (not to mention the killer acoustics). When it comes down to it you have a choice, you can avoid practice due to feeling a little uncomfortable talking to yourself for a minute OR be an all-star speaker and impress the audience at your upcoming event.

Long story short, hearing yourself speak out loud not only helps identify areas where emphasis and inflections should be placed, but it also helps establish some muscle memory to finesse your flow.

Pro-tip: Practice in front of a mirror. Seeing your mannerisms at work can help you address them to ensure your nonverbal cues are being conveyed in your ideal way.

Memorize your talk:

We cannot understate the value of having your talking points or transcript committed to memory. A few reasons why:

  1. You will be more confident in your presentation. You won’t be thinking about what to say next. Instead, you will have it in your head already. This confidence allows you to focus on the environment and audience feedback (both nonverbal and verbal).
  2. You can gesture naturally. Think about it…humans weren’t born with notecards attached to their hands to help them emote. Memorize your talk and ditch the cards so your hands can move freely and naturally. The alternatives? Awkwardly clinging to the cards or waving what equates to a white surrender flag around on stage. Either way it’s not a good look.
  3. Your message will be more powerful! When you walk onto the stage with the knowledge and assertiveness that comes with knowing what you have to say matters, your audience will respond.

Find your natural speaking structure:

Everyone has their own amazing tone and voice! There’s a ton of literature out there on how to format and develop the “most powerful” talk. That information can be useful…to an extent. What will really help your message shine is injecting your own emotion and personality into the presentation. Create your structure and make it play to your strengths. Maybe you’re an all-star at creating catchy intros. Possibly, you shine when you throw hard-hitting facts at people, or maybe you deliver world-class clinchers in your conclusion. Structure your talks to make those points shine.

How do you practice public speaking before the “public” is present? Comment below and let us know what you’ve found works best for you!

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