Effective Public Speaking: 3 Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

There are three components you must know in order to improve your presentation skills for better public speaking. When someone asks me how he can build effective communication skills and improve his public speaking, I quote to him the words of Elbert Hubbard, who said, “The only way to learn to speak is to speak and speak, and speak and speak, and speak and speak and speak.”

But while it’s true that the only way to become good at anything is by repetition, over and over, until it becomes second nature, there are many things that you can do to be more effective speaking in front of audiences.

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The starting point in the art of public speaking is to pick a subject that you really care about. It is to think through the subjects that have had an extraordinary impact on you, the subjects that you would like to share with others because you intensely feel that others could benefit from your knowledge. With this, you have a springboard off which you can leap into your first public talk.

The second part of public speaking is preparation for effective communication. Preparing is more important than anything except caring about your subject. It’s not unusual for a person to spend many hours, days and even weeks preparing for a talk.

Planning for Effective Communication

To prepare for a talk, the first thing to do is to write out an objective statement of what you wish to accomplish as a result of your presentation. Whether it’s a 10-minute presentation or a 10-hour presentation, the statement of your objective is the same. It’s the answer to the question, “Who is my audience, and what effect do I want my talk to have upon them?”

So you need to ask, “What action do I want this audience to take as a result of the things I say to them?” Write out this action statement of your objective very clearly. Then write down everything that you think you could possibly say, one point after the other, to this audience to cause them to take this action. Remember, the reason for public speaking is not simply to teach or to share information. It’s to move people’s minds and hearts and to provoke them into changing their behavior in some way.

Once you have an outline of what you want to accomplish and some of the ways that you can accomplish it, begin to do your research, if necessary. If you don’t have enough information, begin to read and to ask questions.

If you’re giving a short talk, the very best strategy to improve your presentation skills is to write it out, word for word, in detail. Then read through it and edit it. Revise it wherever necessary. Add to it, and subtract unnecessary data. Work on it until it is polished, and then read through it several times so that you have such a good sense of the material that you can go through the entire talk prior to falling asleep or while you’re driving your car.

Improve Your Presentation Skill

If the first two parts of successful public speaking are caring and preparing, the third part is practicing and improving your presentation skills. If you have a tape recorder or, even better, a video camera, record yourself giving the talk from beginning to end. Then listen to it or watch it, and make notes on how you could make it better. If you’re using a video camera, look into the camera and use the same facial expressions and the same body gestures that you would use if you were speaking directly to someone. When you critique yourself, be very hard on yourself. Remember, the more honest and objective you can be about how you come across to others, the faster you will build effective communication skills for success.

Practice makes perfect, and perfect practice makes it even more perfect.  If you practice consistently, you will find that your presentation skills have dramatically improved over time. Remember, your ability to speak effectively in front of people can do more to advance your career and your life than perhaps any other skill you can develop.

Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

It’s normal and natural for you to be nervous about public speaking, but you must overcome that fear to improve your presentation skills. Fifty-four percent of American adults rank public speaking ahead of fear of death among life’s major fears. Most people become nervous and uneasy at the very thought of standing up to speak in front of an audience, and their hearts pound.

Speaking professionally really is not something that you can decide in favor of or against. You don’t really have a choice. If you want to realize your full potential in the world of business, you must learn how to improve your effective communication skills to better communicate with people. I have seen executives make extraordinary career jumps, saving themselves as much as five to 10 years of time working up the executive ladder, simply by using effective communication skills at a corporate meeting. I’ve observed men and women who’ve put their careers onto the fast track by overcoming their fears and developing their presentation skills.

Pay any price, spend any amount of time, overcome any obstacle, but make a decision, right now, that you’re going to learn to speak well before groups and practice your presentation skills consistently. It could be one of the most important decisions you ever make in assuring long-term success in your career.

Please comment below and share your thoughts about effective communication techniques for better public speaking. Also, please share with your friends if you enjoyed this post about improving your presentation skills for greater success!

Topics included in this article include

Public Speaking

Effective Communication

Presentation Skills

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

  • Communication is a two-way street. If you practice taking the opposing viewpoint, you can reduce the difficulty and anxiety that sometimes arises when trying to truly communicate with others. (For example, knowing what your significant other really means when she says she’s too tired to talk.) Developing empathy helps you better understand even the unspoken parts of your communication with others, and helps you respond more effectively.

  • Rev Ernest Nkrumah

    This is really tool I think every human being need in order to make it in life.Comminication in very important in our daily walk.its something that you can’t do away with.I really love this information.Very helpful,to everybody especially pastors and preachers who want to make a great impact…..Brian Tacy is one of the best I ever come across.God bless you Brian Tracy

  • Daphne

    I happened to stumble across this article by accident, and I must say, it has helped me enormously.
    I am 17 years old and was being tested in order to become an Officer in the IDF. One of tests included public speaking, and whilst speaking I remembered this article (along with other articles you’ve written). It helped me overcome my nervousness in order to appear more confident and thus speak more eloquently. Evidently it helped and next year I will serve as an Officer in the IDF Air Force.
    I felt that I owe this success to you and wish to thank you for all the work you’ve done.
    Wishing you all the best,

  • I always bump into something extra helpful anytime I peruse your writings, thank you, Brian once again! And one of my favorite motivators from you – “Make a decision!” – works here as well perfectly and is so true. You can have all the training, all the presentation tools and awesome softwares if you are not determined and stable inside to achieve the goals you set. Thank you again!

    • Brian Tracy

      You are very welcome. Thank you for commenting and I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the blog post and my work. To YOUR success, Brian Tracy

  • mohammed audu warha

    it has been my greatest desire to see myself speaking to audience, but overcoming my fear seems to be difficult. this could help me improve my public speaking. thank you for this.

  • I like it when folks get together and share ideas. Great website, keep it up!

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  • manohar

    thanks a lot…u r realy doing extremly gud thing for other.great work

  • Great Article!

    I really found this astonishing!

    Fifty-four percent of American adults rank public speaking ahead of fear of death among life’s major fears.

    Guess there is some work to do!

    Kind Regards,


  • Cool Jam

    I’ve been ur follower since Adam & I’m yet to regret it. God bless You for your contribution to making the world a better place. U motivate the world. U inspire the world.

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