7 Tips for Confident Public Speaking

By Nathan Young


The Importance of Public Speaking Skills

Imagine commanding a room with confidence, persuasively conveying your ideas, and leaving a lasting impact on your audience. This is the potential power of learning how to improve your public speaking skills.

Public speaking is a potentially powerful and accessible tool for leadership, business, and career advancement. There are many opportunities to take public speaking courses yet the fundamentals of what can make a speaker effective can feel very vague to anyone who’s never studied the craft.

“To be able to grab an audience's attention and get your message across is an incredibly valuable skill,” said Brian Green, Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, Distinguished Toastmaster, and instructor at the UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies Storytelling for Business Course. “It’s the ability to build an idea in the audience's mind while keeping them engaged and entertained. They walk away with a new awareness because you found a way to share it more effectively.”

Essentially, it’s not just about saying the words confidently, but about connecting with your audience, ensuring they grasp your key messages.

Benefits for All Professions

The benefits of public speaking are not confined to a specific industry or profession. People in all stages of their careers can benefit.

“The value of good public speaking skills is in honing the ability to communicate. If someone is willing to continually improve, this can be a very powerful skill,” said Green.

Individuals who are apprehensive about public speaking have the opportunity to learn a new skill that can have a tremendous professional impact.

Those who are already comfortable speaking in public can capitalize on their confidence and enhance their ability to engage and persuade.

Overcoming Fear and Embracing Growth

Yet one of the big challenges many people have is a fear of public speaking.

“It's scary. You worry you might get criticism. You worry you might get judged,” said Green.

Yet stepping out of one's comfort zone and facing the fear of public speaking can be transformative.

“You go from fear to excitement because you realize that you're not going to burst into flames. No one's going to tell you how awful you are. It’s not the same as being a child in front of the chalkboard in the fourth grade doing math,” said Green. “But those are very deep-seated fears that a lot of us have. So part of the process of learning how to improve your public speaking is addressing those fears.”

Working through these fears involves managing discomfort, taking criticism and feedback constructively, and committing to continual improvement.

7 Tips For How To Improve Your Public Speaking

To help overcome the fear and take advantage of all the benefits of becoming an adept public speaker, below are seven tips for how to improve your public speaking by becoming more confident and getting over the fear of public speaking.

Public speaking can be a daunting task for many, but with the right approach and practice, it's a skill that anyone can improve upon.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

    First off, Green emphasizes the importance of practice.

    "It’s not possible to get good at this without practicing," he insists. "Practice to yourself. Talk to a chair. Talk to a lamp. But you have to say it out loud."

    Speaking it out loud is one of the most important aspects of practicing, Green emphasizes.

    “Saying it in your head is way too polished. It's just not the same as saying it out loud,” Green adds. “You have to make sure you are clearly saying what you have to say in a way that’s understandable to somebody who's never heard this before."

  2. Seek Feedback Actively

    Getting feedback is also crucial for improvement. Green emphasizes that feedback is an essential part of the learning process and you should not hesitate to seek it.

    “Get feedback from multiple sources,” shares Green.

    Two resources Green recommends are Toastmasters and public speaking courses like the one offered at UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies.

  3. Learn Your Preparation Style

    Understanding how you prepare is another important element of becoming a more competent and confident public speaker.

    "I know that if I walk in with an outline, nine times out of ten I will hit flow and be able to communicate my points,” said Green.

  4. Emulate Successful Speakers

    Observing and learning from other speakers is a valuable strategy too.

    "You might think, 'I like how they asked questions of the audience or paused for dramatic effect. That's great,'" said Green.

  5. Recognize Your Strengths and Weaknesses

    Acknowledging where you excel and where you need improvement is another essential element of becoming a more confident speaker.

    "You have to recognize what you excel at and where you can potentially improve," said Green.

  6. Embrace Imperfection

    Perfection should not be the goal when it comes to public speaking.

    "The perfect is the enemy of the good," Green stresses.

  7. Understand that Discomfort is Normal

    Stepping out of your comfort zone is crucial for growth and becoming a more confident speaker.

    “The myth would be that you're going to reach a level of comfort in speaking where you're unbothered and hit flow all the time. That's never going to happen," shared Green.

Overcoming Your Fear Of Public Speaking

Public speaking, though intimidating, offers immense value to professionals in numerous fields.

Becoming a confident public speaker requires practice, feedback, self-awareness, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.

Let UC San Diego Extended Studies help you improve your public speaking skills and tame your fear of public speaking. Course options include Public Speaking and Storytelling For Business, Mastering Your Public Speaking, and Effective Oral Presentation.

Posted: 2/29/2024 8:00:00 AM with 0 comments

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