3 Tricks to Improve Your Public Speaking

Some people have a natural gift for public speaking.

I don't.

Nerves tie my stomach in double knots.  Sweat pours into my eyes.  I s-s-stutter and lithp.

But I keep working on it.  And so can you.

Here are 3 tricks that I've found helpful as I've worked on my public speaking:

1)  Practice. Practice. Practice.

You can't get better at speaking if you don't speak.  You can read books, study, take classes ... but if you don't put yourself out there, your growth will be slow and you may not discover the things that are holding you back.

I've found that frequent practice makes the difference between getting beat up and getting better.  Speak once a year and you're repeating.  Speak once a week and you're building.

Try making an aggressive speaking goal.  Speak every week for a month.  Speak 50 times in a year.  Speak in 10 different locations.  Practice.

2) Review

Few things make me feel more uncomfortable than listening to a recording of myself.  Video ... fuhgeddaboudit.  But these tools help.

When I re-listenend to my sermon from last Sunday (yes, another sermon on Jonah), I noticed some weak spots ... an idea that I skipped over, a failure to pause after telling a joke, a word that kept getting accidentally repeated.  I can work on these things, but I wasn't aware of them until I heard them on the replay.

Take the extra time to review your speaking.

3) Call for back-up

My secret weapon as a speaker is my wife.  Amy is supportive and honest.  She is willing to give me feedback and knows when to give it.  And her opinion matters to me more than anyone else's.

Find someone (or a team of someones) who can debrief your speaking.  They'll make you better.

What other tricks have you used to improve your public speaking?

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