19 Public Speaking Tips From Brian Tracy’s Professional Speaker Career
Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in public speaking or are simply trying to prepare for a presentation to your team, your ability to deliver a message that others can connect with is an invaluable skill that is useful in any industry.
I have been public speaking for over 40 years, and I’ve learned a lot of helpful tips along the way about the art of public speaking.
Read on to discover 19 public speaking tips that will allow you to become a strong speaker who can captivate any audience.
1. Pick A Topic You’re Passionate About
You always want to speak on a topic that you’re well educated on, have a strong interest in, and have personal experience with. Your passion will naturally shine through and will help your audience stay engaged.
2. Know Your Audience and What They Want to Achieve
While you want to pick a topic you are passionate about, you also want to make sure you’re tailoring your speech to resonate with your audience. The better you know your audience demographic, the better you’ll be able to deliver a speech that resonates with them.
Remember, there’s a reason they’re there — so make sure you speak directly to them, being as relatable as possible.
3. Practice Your Speech Regularly
The key to effective public speaking is surprisingly simple: practice, practice, practice. Rehearse in front of a mirror or recite your speech to a friend. Planning ahead will also help make your delivery much smoother and improve your overall presentation. If you really want to advance your presentation skills, attend public speaking courses to improve your techniques and strategies.
4. Clear Your Mind
Even the most seasoned public speaker can get a little nervous before speaking, even if it is a virtual presentation.
While there are lots of ways to overcome your fear of public speaking, the best thing you can do right before your speech to clear those jitters is to take a minute to clear your mind via meditation or visualization. Picture your speech going well to allow your subconscious mind to clear out any distractions and focus on successful delivery.
5. Intrigue Your Audience Right From the Start
The introduction of your speech sets the tone for the rest of your talk, so it needs to be enthralling. Make a strong statement, ask a question, or refer to current events to get the attention of your audience right away.
6. Be Clear and Concise
Remember that less is more. Don’t over-inform your audience with unnecessary points. You want to ensure your speech is well-organized, easy to follow, and provides the listeners with exactly what they came there for.
7. Be Confident
Focus on your stage presence as you prepare for your speech so you can be as impactful as possible to your audience. Don’t overthink and get into your head — think positive to allow you to have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
8. Relate With Personal Stories
Incorporate personal stories and life experiences into your speech wherever possible. Doing so will help the audience relate to what you say and feel connected. Your stories remind them that you’re human, too.
9. Add Your Personality
Don’t be afraid to show the audience who you are. Make them laugh, share some quotes from other leaders that have inspired you, or use emotion to help hit your points home.
10. Speak Slowly
Speak slower than you think you need to. Frequent pauses during your talk will help draw your listeners in and ensure you can carefully articulate everything you’re saying. Talking slowly will also help you enunciate your words so they don’t miss a beat.
11. Take Deep Breaths
Take deep breaths before and during your speech. Inhale to the count of three; then exhale for the count of three. This will help with any nerves you have, plus it will enable you to incorporate pauses.
12. Make Eye Contact
As you deliver your talk, look at individuals in your audience and make brief eye contact. This will allow your audience to feel as if you’re speaking directly to them. Just be sure not to take too long of eye contact with one or more persons — steadily look from the back to front.
13. Move Around
Be aware of your body language. Don’t just stand in one place — if you have room, walk around as you speak, but don’t pace. Using hand gestures can emphasize important points in your speech and help you take control of the room.
14. Alter Your Tone Throughout
The best presenters have mastered their public speaking voice, which is the practice of utilizing different inflection points in certain areas of your speech.
You don’t want to sound monotone the entire time. Project your voice and build vocal power throughout so you can lead to a powerful final point.
15. Avoid Distractions As Best You Can
As much as you may try to prepare, distractions while on stage can interfere with your presentation. Do your best to stay focused during your speech so nothing interrupts your train of thought.
That said, sometimes the distraction is too noticeable to ignore. If this happens to you, direct the attention of the audience to it in a humorous way if possible and then continue speaking.
16. Incorporate Visuals in Your Presentation
Visual aids, such as pictures, charts, graphs, infographics, help engage your audience as well as reinforce your points. 65% of the population are visual learners. By including visual content, you’re increasing the percentage of people who will walk away from your speech and remember it well. Read this article I wrote for more ideas on PowerPoint presentations.
17. Be Timely With Delivery
Don’t go over your allotted time. It may be seen as disrespectful if you exceed the time you’ve been given. Timing your speech beforehand can help you keep things short. You can also set up clear milestones in your speech. If you know about how long each section of your speech is, you’ll be able to keep track of time in your head while presenting your speech.
18. End With A Bang And Say ‘Thank You
As you end your speech, provide some inspiration for your audience to take away. Deliver a strong call to action that enables your audience to crave more from you. And, as always, thank your audience for joining and listening.
19. Have A Post-Show Meet And Greet
If you have the opportunity to meet with the crowd after your speech, this is a valuable way to get some feedback. See what their response was and look at possible areas where they want to hear more or less from you.
This is also a great networking opportunity. You might be able to make connections that will land you a future speaking event, or consulting opportunities if you provide a service.
Improve Your Public Speaking Skills Before Your Next Speech
Public speaking presents as a daunting skill to many, but with these tips, you’ll be able to improve your public speaking skills and conquer your next speech and captivate your audience.
Check out my Ultimate List of Public Speaking Tips to know how to overcome your fear, write an effective speech, and become an expert public speaker that can build a successful career.
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 Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.