6 Ways to Develop Effective Speaking Skills

A professional giving a presentation to a group of people on effective speaking skills
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Speaking skills, especially effective public speaking skills are as important as listening skills and they form an integral part of interpersonal communication. It also plays a role in increasing social and emotional learning. You may not be a professional speaker, but having these skills will always come handy in various situations. Be it a class presentation, a toast at your friend’s wedding, an important presentation or even an interview, public speaking skills always help you get through these situations with ease. Overall, these skills help you boost your confidence, win people’s hearts and communicate effectively . 

One does not simply become a better speaker in a day. It takes a lot of experience, patience and hardwork to master the art of public speaking. However, you can kick-start your practice to become an effective speaker by taking help from the following tips.

1. Confidence

When put in front of a crowd it is natural to be nervous. Confidence is the key when speaking in public. Before you step on the stage, remind yourself that you are prepared and you can do this. Calm yourself down if you see yourself sweating or shivering. You can try these breathing exercises to boost your confidence.

A professional pointing to the camera with confidence
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2. Authenticity

Be authentic to who you are. Practise your speech but don’t mug it up.Out of nervousness, you might fumble with a memorized speech. When you speak a memorized speech, the audience can quickly grasp that you have mugged it up. It also makes you sound more mechanical. However, when you speak with your heart, it becomes more engaging and the audience can gauge that you’re passionate about what you speak. However you can prepare with some pointers beforehand to make sure you don’t forget important points.

A professional giving a presentation with authentic oratory skills
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3. Voice Modulations

If you don’t want to sound boring, pay attention to the way you speak. When you talk in a monotonous tone, it may sound robotic and mechanical. You want your audience to be engaged, so try different techniques of voice modulation. Voice modulations mean creating vocal differences as you speak. Some techniques you can use are:

  • Changing the pace/speed with which you speak – it should neither be too fast nor too slow
  • Take pauses before conveying an important point and after it
  • Change the pitch of your voice as and when required
  • Change the volume of your voice occasionally to create emphasis
Woman practicing her speaking skills into a microphone
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4. Connect with your Audience

When you interact with the audience, you feel they are with you and it makes you feel less isolated. You can also ensure that the audience pays attention to you by interacting with them. One way to interact with the audience is to ask questions

Asking such questions keeps the audience engaged and in turn gives you confidence as you speak.

A speaker going around the audience table and interacting with them for effective speaking skills
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5. Work on your body language

You might not realize but the audience can gauge if you’re confident or not, just by noticing your body language. So, the first thing you can do is to work on your body language to show that you’re ready and confident. The basic signs of confidence include :

  •  Standing upright
  •  Arms relaxed on the sides
  •  Maintaining eye contact with the audience

 Try avoiding leaning on one leg or doing unusual gestures and you are good to go!

A professional leveraging body language to be effective in public speaking skills

6. Watch recordings of your speech

As we know, practice makes a man perfect! You may not mug up your speech but try practicing the speech alone in an informal setting and record it. Listen to your recorded speech and try to look at it from the audience’s perspective. It will answer a lot of questions you have. You will yourself realize where you need to work and it’s a great way to give you more insights about voice modulation.

A professional improving oratory skills by watching recording of her speech in laptop
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There you go! Keep these pointers in mind the next time you’re on stage and believe in yourself! We’re sure you will nail that presentation in future. As “If you fail to practice your art, it will soon disappear”, so don’t forget to practice and let us know your go-to strategy in the comments below!

Resources: 

Skills You Need. (2012). Effective Speaking. Retrieved from https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/effective-speaking.html

Mind Tools Content Team. (2020). Better Public Speaking. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/PublicSpeaking.htm

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