There is no way around public speaking. Conveying your thoughts to people in public is a skill you will not only need at college but at work too. Just think about: later you will need this skill to convince your boss why you need a raise and why it is a fair thing to do (and that is only one example)!
However, you should start working on this skill early, while you are still a college student. Improving your public speaking while at college is a brilliant opportunity for you to fine-tune your skills and take your speaking and an ability to be persuasive to a brand-new level.
There is a huge difference between a mediocre public speech that people will forget the moment the speaker finishes his last words, and a powerful speech that will be remembered.
Wondering what makes these two speeches so different? There are ten points to bear in mind that will make anyone a better speaker. Read on to find out what they are.
- Know your audience
You cannot talk in the same way to different people. They all have different perspectives, values, and things that are relevant to them. Therefore, before you convey your thoughts, study the audience you are talking to very closely. Otherwise, your words won’t grab their attention.
- Keep it short
People have a very short attention span. Therefore, you won’t be able to hold their attention for a very long time. That is why the best speeches are rather short and to the point. Guy Kawasaki once said, “Simple and to the point is always the best way to get your point across.”
- Have only one takeaway thought
You need to stay focused and to have your audience stay focused with you. If you are trying to conveying several deep and important thoughts at the same time, chances are, they won’t quite remember them all.
So, the best thing to do is to articulate only one deep idea per speech. You need to repeat that idea within your text several times. And this will ensure that your audience, be it one person or a group of people, will take it away with them.
- Describe a problem
The reason for you to give this speech is a problem that you want to solve. And that problem along with the goal of your speech should be mentioned at the very beginning of the speech. This way the target audience understands what you aim for and what they can expect from you.
- … and offer a solution to it.
And as you describe a problem, offer a unique and an interesting solution to it. After all, the only reason people are listening is that you might have something they need. So, show them a better way to something.
- Start bright
“The first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds have the most impact in a presentation.” – Patricia Fripp
You need to have a hook at the beginning of your speech. Start with something particularly attractive, bright, fresh, and thought-provoking, and you will not lose the audience’s interest till the last sentence.
- … and end well.
As you probably know people remember the introduction and an end of each speech. They can easily get distracted in the middle of your speech, and it is normal. But you need to finish with a strong message so that they remember the beginning and the end of your speech for sure!
- Add visuals
People comprehend information better when they can actually see it. Therefore, if you can throw some visual aids in, go for it. When you give a report in front of your classmates, you need to make sure that you have a nice-looking PowerPoint Presentation in the background with slides that support your main ideas.
- Provide examples
Do not be boring. Young people do not like to be lectured, and you as a student yourself should know that. That is why to make your speech interactive and interesting, you need to offer your audience simple examples from real life that prove your point.
Make sure that examples are relevant and appropriate before you tell them to the general public.
- Ask questions
“If you want to connect, you must let them reflect” once said Darren Lacroix. And he was totally right. If you want to be remembered by those listening to you, you should definitely ask people interesting and controversial questions. Do not give them all the answers altogether!
If you are afraid of standing in front of people and giving a speech, then you are not alone. A lot of people are. And even the greatest speakers are still often worried about the need to speak publicly. However, as long as you prepare a decent speech and deliver it properly, you have nothing to worry about.