As a speaker and a speaking coach, not only have I improved my own speaking skills, I've helped others improve as well! Check out some of the tips I share the most with my speaking coaching clients.
1. Never let 'em see you sweat
One of the questions I ask my clients is "what's the worst thing that could happen while you're speaking?" Many of them respond, "I'll get asked a question I don't know the answer to."
Unless you're on Jeopardy, no one expects you to know the answer to every question on the spot! If you're a true expert, you'll thank them for their question and use it as an opportunity to follow up with them later on with your confirmed answer.
2. Hit record!
Whoever said "practice makes perfect" wasn't lying! If you're struggling with public speaking, set up your phone or iPad and take a video of yourself practicing. You'll likely pick up on at least one thing that you didn't realize you do when you're speaking.
Once you know where you need to improve, you can work with a speaking coach to help address it!
3. Think back to the big picture
When you're working on a presentation, remember that it's not really about you. It's about the AUDIENCE! Who are the people sitting in the room? Why should they care about what you're going to say? How does it affect them? What matters the most?
I would present my speech differently for college students than for a Fortune 500 company's Board of Directors - even if I'm teaching them the same concept. That's why I spend the time helping my coaching clients identify their ideal audience early on.
4. Liven up the place
I was recently asked to speak on a college campus and the event organizer said, "We want someone who isn't going to just talk AT them. They've been in lecture halls all day, so we really need something interactive that will wake up their attention."
Amen to that! I've been to my fair share of conferences, networking events and guest speakers and while some speakers have a great message, they don't always share it in a way that's entertaining... Don't be afraid to be yourself and wake the audience up with something they aren't expecting!
5. Embrace your nerves
"Jasmine, I always get nervous before I speak." Um hey there, so do I! I've done live TV interviews and speaking engagements to over 1,000 people, but I still get the butterflies before I speak sometimes.
I love the way my mentor Jess Ekstrom put it once, "Being nervous just means that you care enough whether something goes well."