Leadership public speaking is seen as one of the great traits of the modern leader. While the great leaders of the past are known for their leadership public speaking ability, current leaders such as Barrack Obama in the USA, and Nick Clegg in the UK have shown that oratory is still as powerful as it ever has been.
When you open your mouth to speak, do others truly listen?
In recognising that public speaking can be an effective leadership skill, an aspiring leader will realise that they’re in luck – public speaking is a skill that can be steadily improved in response to a good public speaking course. Speaking skills can be technically learnt either from a book, or from a coach, but they will only be used to upgrade your ability when put into varied and frequent practice.
Taking Every Opportunity – Where To Practice Leadership Public Speaking
I find it is always best to practice public speaking in a ‘safe’ environment. A safe environment is one in which a mistake during speaking won’t run risk of damaging your career prospects. Practically all adventurous speaking opportunities outside of your workplace are perfect for this personal development. Here are some speaking ideas:
- In church
- In a school-room or college lecture hall
- To a club, group or society
- At a conference,
- Giving a presentation (such as on behalf of a charity)
- Even at family occasions.
Most people agree, that as long as you are speaking to more than 5 people, in a non-casual setting, this will bring all the challenges of public speaking, although with greater crowds or a more important audience will come a greater test.
Building Your Oratory Skills
I can provide a brief overview of tips you may wish to take on board to improve your leadership public speaking and presentation skills beyond what they currently are; all leaders could build further upon at least one of these areas.
1. Deliver an interesting tone of voice. Allow your voice to eb and flow as you would speak normally. Let your tone drift up at the end of questions, or remain mono tone over short, sharp point.
2. Use pauses effectively. Leadership public speaking is often as much about silence as it is about speaking, as leaving dramatic and characteristic pauses at the right moments really highlights a speakers skill. A short pause allows the listener to ponder a little more about what you’ve just said, and demonstrates that you are comfortable with the audience, and supremely confident in what you are saying.
3. Maintain eye contact with the audience. You may sometimes need to refer to your presentation for key statistics or cues, however the rest of the time, your eyes should be on the audience, and moving round the room.
4. Don’t forget to smile! People are listening, but they’re also watching your body language and they’re probably watching your face all the time, so make sure that what they see is a happy, enthusiastic and bright individual. Smiling while talking does not come naturally, especially when one feels under the stress and pressure that public speaking can bring, however with practice you will realise that the more you smile – the better you will feel.
5. From Commenter Mitch: Be aware of your body motions. Many speakers make the mistake of unknowingly moving in repetitive motions or in somewhat unnatural ways while presenting and speaking. Be aware of what your body is doing and keep any movement of arms and hands to be in line with the overall presentation. It is expected and can be quite comfortable to make generalized moves and to indicate specific important points with body emphasis. Practice in a mirror or video tape yourself giving a practice presentation to see if you develop any “movement habits” that need to be avoided during your presentation. Also, we aware of what signals you may send during the presentation to indicate your own views of the information presented. Crossing your arms may come across as disinterested in the topic you are speaking on. Also be aware of any unusual twitches that can develop in your face during presentations that can become distracting to your audience.
6. Also from Mitch: Breathe. Pure and simple, some presenters get very caught up in their speeches and can run out of breath mid-sentence. This can result in ill timed pauses mid-thought and can have the audience paying more attention to your breathing rhythm than to your topic. Keep breathing natural and relaxed so that your audience stays the same.
If you keep these leadership public speaking tips in mind while practicing, I can promise that your presentation and oratory skills will improve dramatically. While learning however, it is best to focus on improving one aspect of speaking at a time, and gradually these tips will become natural habits, and public speaking will no longer cause the same dread it once did!
How To Gain The Most Comprehensive Knowledge On Public Speaking
As mentioned in the latest Leadership Expert e-Magazine, we have discovered a brilliant resource on public speaking for approximately £25. It’s delivered in digital format, which means you could be absorbing knowledge from it in just 3 minutes if you decide that you want to take a proactive step in building your presentation skills, public speaking skills or overall charisma. The resource is called Public Speaking Extraordinaire, and costs the price of a restaurant meal, for an in-depth course delivered by video, audio and text! We heavily recommend that you try it for yourself.
Please leave comments below if you would like to add more tips and tricks to this list, and I will work them into the article and credit them to you!