I’ve written many articles on the art and science of public speaking. They all contain highly practical tips that will dramatically improve your public speaking. However, if I had to guess, I’d say 85% of people who read this website don’t actively try to apply the tips. This is due to a variety of factors, the largest of which is most likely apathy (I get it, I can be apathetic too!)
Plenty of people fall into the trap of simply reading and not doing. And this often happens because people don’t set goals.
If you’re part of that 85%, I’d encourage you to re-engage and actually use these tips. Here are a few ideas of how you can do so.
- Set tangible goals for yourself. Not just “I want to get better”. My last year of competitive debate, I told myself I wanted to get first place speaker at least once. This helped me to actually achieve it.
- Be intentional about reading this website. I try my best not to write fluff like “be more charismatic when you speak”, because that doesn’t tell you how to get better. I write very practical and usable tips, so try to actually use them. (And please let me know in comments or by email if I’m not clear enough with anything I say).
- Write down your favorite tips and think about them when you practice speaking or attend speaking competitions. Right before your next performance, pick out a single tip that you want to really nail down in that presentation. Don’t try to do everything at once.
- Commit to practicing speaking at least 15 minutes a day. Find an amount of time you’re comfortable with and ask your family to keep you to that pledge. Full disclosure: I didn’t do as much practice as I should have. I can’t imagine how much better I would have been if I had spent even more time practicing. If you’re able to force yourself to do it every day for a month, it is likely that it will become a habit.
- You know that feeling when you’re speaking and you keep saying the wrong word for something or stumbling over yourself trying to think of the next thing to say? This is a symptom of having too little practice. The speeches for which I was prepared, I never did this. At debate nationals, I had several great debate rounds and spoke well. Then I had to debate against a case and team that I had not prepared against. Because I was ill-prepared, I kept stumbling over myself. The round after that, I had a strategy prepared already so my speaking was smooth.
Thanks for reading, and good luck reaching your goals!