Become a Better Speaker: 9 Essential Public Speaking Tips – College Info Geek

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Hey, what’s up guys? Today we’re gonna tackle
one of the most highly requested topics on this
channel which is how to become a better public speaker. Now, this is actually perfect
timing for this topic, because last month I went
down to South Carolina to give a talk at a
conference called “FinCon” where I talked about
building a YouTube Channel, something I’m pretty
passionate about, and actually this month
I’ll be going to Vermont in a couple of weeks to give my
first paid speaking engagement. So, speaking is becoming
a larger part of my life, and while I’m not a
professional speaker, I do have a lot of experience
speaking in public, and I’ve gained a lot of
insights and skills over the years through practice, and I want to help impart
some of the knowledge I’ve been able to gain to
you so you can become a better public
speaker technically, and also start to calm some
of the nerves and anxiety that you might get when
you have to get onstage in front of a bunch of people. So to that end, I’ve got nine
specific public speaking tips for you this week that can help
you become a better speaker. And, the first one is to pay
very, very close attention to your rate of speech
when you’re on stage. Most inexperienced
speakers tend to speak a lot more quickly than
they think they’re speaking, and it’s because when
you’re onstage you have all this anxiety and you
have all the material up in your head and you’re just
trying to get through it as quickly as possible
because the number one thing you want to do is
get offstage to where nobody’s judging
you anymore, right? But the problem is,
this isn’t YouTube. The people sitting in the
audience aren’t looking at a bunch of other tabs, and they’re not liable to
click away after two minutes. They’ve sat there, and
they’ve dedicated some time to listening to what
you have to say, so if you can slow down and give them some breathing room, then they’re going to
be able to contemplate what you’ve said and more
easily follow along with what you’re talking about. Also, your rate of speech
isn’t the only thing you can control to make
your speech better. You can also employ
strategic pauses to highlight certain points. Now, there’s a lot
of speeches that I’ve watched to study to
become a better speaker myself, but there’s actually
a fake one that I really, really like and want
to use as an example here, and it’s this 2023 TED
Talk that the producers of the movie “Prometheus”
put out as an advertisement for the movie. And in this TED Talk, Guy
Pearce’s character is talking about cybernetic individuals and basically his ambitions
to take over the world, but when I watched
this, i thought it was a fantastic piece to
study for public speaking, because he employs these pauses so dramatically
and so effectively. So check that video out
after you watch this one, and start to learn from it. Now another thing Guy
Pearce does amazingly in that video is my second tip, which is to pay attention
to your body language. And, this is important
for two specific reasons. Number one, your body
language forms a large part of the non-verbal
communication that compliments the verbal communication
of your words. The way you hold yourself,
the way you’re poised, your posture, the way
you move your hands and gesture to highlight
certain points. These all go hand-in-hand
with the words you’re speaking and
can help to compliment and drive home those points. But the other reason is that,
the unconscious body language that a lot of
inexperienced speakers have is something
that can harm you. We have a lot of nervous ticks. For example, when I was an
inexperienced speaker just starting out, a lot of
things that I would do, I would put my
hands in my pockets. I guess that camera’s
fixed right there, but I can try to
show you, right? I put my hands in and
out of my pockets, over and over again
while I was speaking, and I would also pace around
the stage really distractedly, kind of moving, and I wasn’t
really consciously pacing and using that to effect, I was
just doing it unconsciously. So these are things that you can control to both not
distract your audience, but also to help
bolster your points. My third tip is to consciously
try to improve your ability to make eye contact with
your entire audience. Now one thing rookie
speakers do a lot of times is they’ll fixate on one
section of the audience, and they’ll stay there
during their entire speech, because they’re nervous. But the problem is, there
are people over here, and over here, and your
entire audience are the people you are addressing. So you want to make sure you’re
trying to make eye contact with each and every single
person during your speech. Now, I know it can be
difficult to make eye contact when you’re already nervous
about being on stage, so you can employ
a classic speaker’s trick which is to
simply look over the heads of the
people in the back row, who are far enough
away that they probably won’t be
able to tell that you’re not directly
looking them in the eye. But, I do want to challenge you. The next time you
have to make a speech, if you’re feeling nervous,
and find it difficult to make eye contact, and you
want to employ this trick, I do challenge you to at
least try to make eye contact with a couple people
throughout your talk, because this is something that
gets easier to do over time, and it will make you a
more engaging, effective, and more human, speaker. Now, speaking of practicing
that eye contact, the fourth tip is to,
in general, practice. Practice, practice, practice, and when you think
you have practiced all you could have potentially
ever practice, do it again. The idea here is not to practice your speech
until you get it right, but to practice your speech
until you can’t get it wrong. And this is because, mastery
helps you to get you through any anxiety you’re feeling. As we talked about in
my test anxiety video, anxiety can actually
block your brain from making connections. So, the more of a concrete
grasp you have on your material, the more likely you’re going
to be able to get past those anxiety blockers, get the
thoughts out of your brain, through your lips, and into
the ears of the eager audience. Also, mastery is
important because when you’re getting something right in your
practice situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean
you’ll be able to get it right in the more stressful situation
where you’re addressing real living, breathing,
farting, human beings, right? So, make sure you practice until you know your material cold. Now on that note, you
might be thinking, “Well, my speech teacher told
me not to memorize my speech.” And in general, I do agree
with that piece of advice, but I want to drill into it,
and give a little bit more of a specific option on it. So in my mind, you
should not write your speech out like an essay and try to memorize
it word for word. If you do that, you’re
going to sound unnatural, you’re going to sound robotic, you’re going to sound,
well, like you’re reading. But, I do think you should write your speech out in
the form of bullet points, have the main points listed out, have any details and facts
and statistics and figures you wanna sight written out, and memorize those, so,
when you get on stage, you don’t have anything in
your hands except maybe a presentation remote or a prop, and you can recite the
entire speech from memory, because you know
your points cold, you know exactly what
it is that you need to communicate to your audience. Now, another final
note on practice is that practice works
for individual speeches, but it’s also something
that’s going to make you a better speaker over time. So if you feel like, right
now, your public speaking skills aren’t at the
level you want them to be, the best way to get better is to simply speak again
and again and again. There’s an organization
called Toastmasters, where you can get with
other budding speakers and people who want to
improve their skills and actually get up
and give speeches in a non-threatening environment, you can take a speech
class at your school. which I definitely
recommend you should do. And, you can also do
things that aren’t really public speaking, but
just things that give you performance anxiety. If I’m being honest, the thing
that has helped me become a better public speaker the
most is running my podcast and my YouTube channel. Because, each and every
week I have to create something where I’m
speaking to an audience. Yes, my actual public speaking experiences have
contributed to my skills. but I’ve done way more
videos, and way more podcasts, and those have
helped me as well. So if there’s
something that gives you performance anxiety,
whether it be dancing in public or doing karaoke with your
friends, or something, anything that gives you a
little bit of anxiety upfront, but then afterwards you
realize that the world didn’t end even though you did it, that’s gonna help
build your confidence and decrease the
amount of care you have of what people think, and
those improvements will all feed back into
your speaking ability. Now, my fifth tip is
also related to practice, but it’s a little bit of a
technical improvement you can make to your practice,
and it’s to do exactly what I’m doing right now. When you practice, take
a video camera with you and film yourself. This is what I would
do every single time I had a speech in college. I would go find an
empty classroom, and with my first few runs
I wouldn’t video tape it, because I was just trying
to get the material down in my head, so I
memorized it all. But, once I had
the material down, then I would film myself
doing each and every take. And afterwards, I
would watch the take, review each aspect
of my performance, and pick out the things
that could be improved. This is a huge upgrade over just practicing
for an empty room, because you’re not always aware
of the things you’re doing. Maybe you have a nervous tick, maybe you’re looking back
at the slides too often, or maybe you’re pacing too much. But the tape doesn’t lie. So, if you can watch that
tape, see your mistakes. You can know what to correct,
and you’re going to be able to practice more effectively,
and maybe have to practice even less than you would
originally need to. So tip number six is to know who your audience is. And by that, I mean
realize the people in your audience will most likely fall
into one of two categories. Number one, over here,
you have the people who are rooting for you. They wanna see you succeed,
they’re invested in your topic, and these are your champions,
like your fans, right? Then over here, you have the
evil people who are going to laugh at you, and
throw tomatoes at you, and curse your family
for all eternity, right? Or not. Over here, actually you
have people who are bored. And it’s not because of you, it’s because their
minds are elsewhere, they don’t wanna be there, they’d rather be off
doing something else, and whatever you do, if you perform badly, if
you perform really good, or if you’re more in the middle and just doing a mediocre job, it’s likely that
that’s not going to have much of an
effect on them at all. Now, you do wanna get the most number of people possible
into that former category of the people who are really
invested in your topic. And, that’s what the other tips in this video can help you do, but I want you to
realize that the people in that latter category, the
people who just don’t care, they don’t matter. So don’t worry
about what they’re going to think when you’re
creating your speech, or when you’re up on
stage delivering it, because that anxiety
isn’t worth it. If you get feedback
later on after the speech that you can use
to constructively improve, that’s good. But, don’t let it worry
you in the moment. Moving right along,
my seventh tip is to focus more on the topic
and less on the aspects of your performance, when
you’re delivering your speech, and also you’re preparing. I found through experience,
that when I’m really invested in what I’m talking about,
and more specifically, when I’m invested
in a transformation, I want it to have
on the audience, I don’t care so much about the technical aspects of my speech. I don’t care about
my body language. I don’t care about
my eye contact. I’m not even thinking
about it, because it’s become almost as
if I was explaining something I cared
about to a dear friend. And, I want them to learn
what it is that I know. So, the focus comes off
the nervousness of standing on stage, and addressing
a bunch of people, and it’s placed on
this is what I know, and this is what I
really want you to learn. I’m really excited about it,
and I hope that what I say can teach you or persuade
you to take some action. Tip number eight, don’t
have a stupid haircut. What I mean by that is, think about your appearance. Dress well, and try
to make a great first impression when
you step on stage. This is important because
of the Halo Effect, which is also known as
exaggerated emotional coherence. And it’s basically
a term to explain the fact that humansmake
split-second first impressions of people right
when they meet them. So, the problem
with this is that, well, maybe it’s not a problem, maybe it’s just a fact of life. What happens is people use
those first impressions to essentially fill in what they
don’t know about the person, and also make judgements
about what comes next. So, if you get on stage
and you’re dressed well. You hold yourself well, and
people are impressed with you, then they are more likely to
forgive any mistakes you make. And, they’re also more
likely to be receptive to whatever it is you’re saying. But if you don’t look good,
then it’s going to be a lot harder for you to convince
people of what you’re talking about and those mistakes
will be all the more glaring. So, first impressions matter. Then my ninth and final tip is, take a breath. Don’t think you
need to be perfect. Focusing on perfection
is the number one way to trip yourself up,
to give yourself massive amounts of anxiety, and to fail. Don’t worry about being perfect, just get on stage and
deliver the best speech that you can give. There’s a book I read
in college called “Confessions of
a Public Speaker” by a guy named Scott Berkun. I highly recommend it if you
want to get better at speaking. It’s on my essential books list, but there’s a passage
in here that really resonated with me
when I read it. And he says, “I don’t
want to be perfect. I want to be useful,
I want to be good, and I want to
sound like myself.” Nobody gives a perfect speech. Even if you think somebody
gave a perfect speech, that person can point
out all the errors, and all the things they wish
they would have done better. So, get on stage,
focus on doing good, focus on improving over
your previous performance, and then just focus on
that topic like I said. Try to enact a transformation in your audience and
you’re not going to care so much about your nerves
and your performance. So, those are the nine tips
I wrote down for this video. But, I do have a little
bonus tip of sorts for you. And, it’s to study people who
are great public speakers. I have a playlist of
videos here on YouTube, that I have been
building for a few years, and whenever I need to
make a speech of my own, I’ll go study some
of those speeches. and try to pinpoint
exactly what they’re doing that I’d like to improve
on with my own skills. So, in the companion
blog post for this video, I’ve linked that
playlist and as a bonus, I’ve also linked to some of
my earlier speaking videos, and just to forewarn you, one of the earlier ones
is really, really bad. So laugh at me all you want, I don’t care because
I have improved, and I just want to kind of
show you guys that practice does make better. Not perfect. So that’s it for this video, hopefully it helped
you out and if it did, I just wanna let you
know that next week, we’re going to follow up
this topic with an additional video on how to craft
great presentations, so we’ll talk about making
great slides and using story and narrative to
keep your audience engaged. So, if you haven’t
subscribed to this channel, you can click the subscribe
button to get notified about that video and
others in the future, and if you like this video,
click that like button to support this channel
and other than that, I will see you guys next week. Hey guys, thanks so much
for watching this video. If you wanna get new videos
on being a more effective student every single week, click that big red subscribe
button right there. I also wrote a book on
how to earn better grades, so if you wanna get
a free copy of that, click the picture of the
book and you can find those speeches in my playlist
along with notes and a summary of this video
in the Companion Blog post, which you can find clicking
the orange button right there. Last week’s video was
over some of the struggles I’m dealing with
in my work life, and what I’m doing about
it, so check it out. Also, you can see a pretty
cool skateboarding stunt in that video which
I enjoyed filming. And if you wanna connect,
I’m on twitter @TomFrankly, which is also my Instagram, and otherwise you can
leave a comment below.

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