practice public speaking

How do you practice public speaking?

What’s the best way to practice public speaking?

From practicing with family to starting small and working your way to larger audiences, here are 11 answers to the question, “What’s the best way to practice public speaking?”

  • Practice With Family or Aloud When Home Alone
  • Record a Video of Yourself
  • Attend Speeches to Pick up Tips
  • Tell a Great Story
  • Speak in Front of Strangers
  • Head to the Rooftops
  • Convey Relaxation With Your Body’s Language
  • Put Criticism to Good Use
  • Join a Local Toastmasters Group
  • Practice in Front of a Mirror
  • Start Small and Work Your Way to Larger Audiences

Practice With Family or Aloud When Home Alone

By far one of the best ways to practice public speaking for anyone is to practice with their family members or out loud at home. Public speaking is definitely not for everyone and there are many people who tend to be uncomfortable, anxious, or downright terrified if they’re speaking in front of a group of their peers. Even if you feel you can ace any public speaking opportunity, the best method to practice your speeches, and overall improve your public speaking skills, is to practice with any family member in your household or simply practice your speech out loud in your room.

The first step to practicing and getting comfortable with doing a speech is to be in a comfortable environment to start. If you can ace your speech with people you’re comfortable sharing with or in a safe environment, then you can transfer that effort almost effortlessly in front of random people or peers. Envision your comfortable environment during your speech.

Chris Hunter, Director of Customer Relations, ServiceTitan

Record a Video of Yourself

Record yourself while practicing your public speaking. When reviewing the video, take notes on things you did well and things you should improve upon, such as your diction, confidence, and posture. This is one of the best ways to practice public speaking since you can do it by yourself at any time, and you can create an ongoing video record of your journey mastering public speaking.

Adam Shlomi, Founder, SoFlo SAT Tutoring

Attend Speeches to Pick up Tips

Practicing public speaking begins with your knowledge of how this entire process works, and one of the best ways to do this is to attend speeches and pick up tips from more experienced speakers. When you attend seminars and programs where keynote speakers or industry leaders share their experiences and insights, you have the opportunity to study them in an environment you will soon find yourself in.

When you pay close attention to every detail, from how they scan the audience and maintain eye contact to the use of inflection in their voice, you’ll be able to notice every detail to develop your unique style accordingly.

Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Founding Director, Aspiring Families

Tell a Great Story

I personally think that a person who’s excellent at public speaking is synonymous with being a great storyteller. I also try to keep improving my public speaking skills by keeping that in mind, to be able to tell a story that’s evocative. Most of the time, the audience doesn’t like to be bombarded with only facts, as they enjoy the personal touch or anecdotes from the speaker to keep them interested in listening. Therefore, I try to use humor, a story, or an anecdote whenever I speak about something in public.

Georgi Todorov, Founder, ThriveMyWay

Speak in Front of Strangers

The best way to hone your public speaking skill is to practice in front of people you don’t know, like in public spaces or in a conference setting. Practicing public speaking in public areas like the garden gives you the chance to become more skilled and confident when addressing an audience.

You may ask someone in the audience to provide feedback and critique your performance. This tactic gives you the opportunity to refine your techniques and builds a stronger foundation for more intricate presentations. You can also improve your public speaking skills by recording yourself so that you can review and evaluate your performance afterward.

Andre Oentoro, Founder, Breadnbeyond

Head to the Rooftops

Shouting it out from the rooftops may not be your usual style, but when it comes to polishing your public speaking skills, this is one of the most effective methods. Choose a rooftop where no one else can hear you and a view as expansive as it can get. Now speak your heart and mind while picturing the many people out there as your audience.

For one, this practice method gives you the confidence to address an audience much larger than any other you may ever need to face; this will instill you with the confidence you need. More importantly, speaking in closed spaces will seem like a walk in the park when you develop the skills to deliver speeches in an open space.

Kris Harris, Owner, Nootka Saunas

Convey Relaxation With Your Body’s Language

I’m aware of how anxiety about public speaking may make you physically tense. In my opinion, the most effective public presenters keep their bodies in a relaxed, natural position while making direct eye contact with the audience. Having confident body language increases the likelihood that your audience will remember what you say.

Don’t cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets. Instead, stand with your arms at your sides and emphasize your ideas with deliberate gestures. Turn your attention to the spectators. Don’t spend too much time staring at the floor or your notes. If you’re feeling brave, you can even try making direct eye contact with the audience members.

Frederic Linfjärd, Director of Growth Marketing, Planday

Put Criticism to Good Use

I think it’s important to solicit feedback before practicing or delivering a presentation. This constructive criticism is well-intentioned and features concrete examples. If you trust someone, you’ll be more receptive to their advice on how to improve your communication skills. Accepting constructive criticism isn’t always easy.

Be patient and think things through before answering to minimize feeling defensive or taking criticism personally. Apply the concepts in a way that will enhance your presentation skills for the future. Make sure you always express gratitude to the person who shared their ideas with you.

Zephyr Chan, Founder and growth marketer, Living The Good Life

Join a Local Toastmasters Group

One of the best ways to get practice speaking in front of groups is by joining a local Toastmasters International Group. With more than 15,800 clubs internationally, this nonprofit educational organization provides the opportunity for people to enhance their public speaking and leadership skills.

Toastmasters offers a non-threatening environment to practice public speaking, and participants receive constructive criticism that helps take them to the next level in business and personal communication. Like any skill, public speaking abilities are honed through practice, and Toastmasters is a great way to get it.

Annie Ricci, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Prima

Practice in Front of a Mirror

Public speaking isn’t fun for anyone, but I learned quickly that the key to my confidence was knowing that I looked confident when speaking. Fake it until you make it, sure, but I prefer to control the perception. At a young age, I started practicing my speeches in front of a mirror. It helped me learn how to smile to be warm and welcoming, but also helped me to know when and how to adjust my facial expressions to highlight an important fact. It even kept me from reading off my notecards so I would get to a point where I truly knew my speech, rather than having only memorized it.

The mirror trick has carried me into zoom calls in my job now, where I’m sure to give myself a look on camera to engage my confidence when performing audits and client calls. You don’t have to fake it; if you practice enough, it becomes second nature. Confidence isn’t just in what you say, but how you say it.

Amber Krigbaum, Senior Manager – Paid Social, collystring

Start Small and Work Your Way to Larger Audiences

Reflect on the topics you enjoy speaking about or teaching and begin presenting at small groups, committees, employee networks, or teams where you can share your expertise. Your self-confidence increases through practice, and you’ll become more self-assured in your public speaking skills, which builds further upon your confidence. Slowly expand to larger audiences like webinars, communities of practice, special events, and local chapters.

Additional resources you can tap into, such as your employee and family assistance program, might have coaches who help with confidence building and training on communication skills. You can also work with coaches to fine-tune and polish your presentation style. No one achieves overnight fame and expertise, so take your time to build your skills.

Vajitha Ghouse, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Coach, Aurelia Coaching

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