I’m sure that, throughout your life, you’ve come across the situation – or will come across it – of having to speak in public, whether it’s to present a work at the university, a thesis, a paper or a conference, etc.
Do you get nervous when faced with this type of situation? Or do you feel satisfied with your public speaking? Whether you want to improve, learn or alleviate your fears, in this article we propose 13 techniques for effective public speaking .
13 great techniques for public speaking
The 13 techniques for public speaking, as we will see, have to do with different aspects of oneself and one’s speech: verbal language, non-verbal language, attitude, etc. Let’s see what each technique consists of and how we should apply it properly:
1. Deep breathing
The first of the techniques for public speaking that we propose is deep breathing before the talk, inhaling and exhaling little by little several times in a row . This technique will help you to feel more relaxed and will also bring oxygen to your brain to increase your concentration.
When we take a deep breath, our abdomen swells; you can try putting your hand on it during the inhalations and see how it fills with air, and then release it progressively. Besides applying this technique before the talk, you can also do it during the talk; the important thing is to control your breathing and be aware of it.
2. Maintain eye contact
It is important to maintain eye contact (looking into the eyes) with the attendees of your talk or lecture . You don’t have to look at them penetratingly and constantly; it’s a matter of looking at their faces while you talk.
As we will see throughout the article, non-verbal language is very important in this type of situation, as it accompanies the speech and enriches it.
3. Voice control
When we speak in public, the voice should be moderate-high (depending on the size of the room and the number of people attending); the important thing, however, is that the voice reaches the whole audience (from the first row to the last).
Thus, the volume of the voice is a very important aspect, but also the tone. Think of your voice as your main tool to convey your message, and that it can give it intensity and conviction.
This way, the voice has to change its tone, intoning the key points of your speech.
4. Control the speed of speech
The speech must be neither too slow nor too fast ; thus, the speed must be moderate. This is important so that the speech is understood and the listeners do not lose track of the explanations.
Another technique for public speaking is vocalizing . This will allow you to transmit a clear message, which will reach the audience and be clearly understood. Not vocalizing can lead to the message not being understood.
6. Maintain a positive attitude
As we can see, it is just as important, if not more so, how one speaks than what one says. Thus, maintaining a positive attitude during your speech will make the message “soak up” this positivity . In this way, the message that will come will have more strength and vitality, and the listeners will be able to catch this energy through your words.
Besides, negative thoughts (for example, thinking “I’m not doing well”, or “they’re getting bored”) won’t help you, but on the contrary, they will make you more nervous and convey an image of insecurity (and this is very noticeable when you speak in public).
7. Be confident
The next technique for public speaking is to have confidence in yourself . Confidence is key to transmitting personal security and for the audience to believe in your message and support it. In addition, in line with the previous technique, having positive thoughts will help you to continue speaking with confidence.
Think that, surely you are an expert in the subject you are going to talk about; you must think “nobody knows it better than I do, I can do it”.
8. Be honest
Another technique for public speaking is simply to be sincere . Sincerity, even if we don’t know it, is often transmitted, it is noticed. Your objective should be to get across a message that has some value, and in which you believe. To do this effectively, your attitude and words must reflect authenticity and transparency.
Try not to lose the thread of your speech, concentrating on each and every word you utter , as well as on your gestures and your non-verbal language. You have to focus on the present moment, on the “here and now”, since being aware of other things can damage your speech.
In this way, being more aware of the audience than of your message can make you deviate from the subject without realizing it, or simply lose focus and lose the thread. That’s why it’s important to stay focused and not get distracted.
10. Control your fear
The next technique for public speaking refers to controlling fear or shame . All this is surely achieved thanks to the previous techniques, and with a lot of practice. When you are in control of the fear or shame, you will be in control of the situation and your message will get through effectively.
Also, you can try to think positive thoughts to help you remember that nothing bad will happen to you in such a situation, and that your fears are irrational.
11. Control your body posture
As we were saying, non-verbal language is very important when we speak in public, as it is a tool that empowers and accompanies our message. Thus, within this non-verbal language we find the body posture; this should not be too rigid or too bent .
We must be upright, with our shoulders relaxed and modulating our posture and body according to our words.
12. Watch your non-verbal language
A bit like a synthesis, this technique gathers some of the previous techniques for public speaking . Thus, taking care with gestures, voice, posture, tone, speed, eye contact, etc., will help us to transmit a powerful, convincing and real message, so that our body is coherent with our words.
To finish the techniques for public speaking that will allow you to make an effective presentation, we propose the latest technique: practice, practice, practice . You can do this at home alone or in front of a family member or friend, and then go on to include more people.
The important thing is that you expose yourself to the situation that gives you distress (or simply that you gain experience in your speech). The more you practice, the more likely it is that you will lose your shame and that your explanation will be complete and clear.
Gottesman, D.,Mauro, B., Piñero, L. and Andreu, C. (2008). Techniques for speaking in public. Ediciones Urano.
Morales, C. (2007). Guide to public speaking. Complete and practical method for the most diverse situations. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.
Puchol, L. (2008). Public speaking: new techniques and resources to influence an audience in any circumstance. Editorial Díaz de Santos (4th Ed.).