Are you ready to kick your speaking skills up to the next level? If you are, then do you know how to become better? If you are thinking that you need to get one of those “fancy word of the day” calendars to practice with, that’s not going to do it. In fact, the secret to becoming a better speaker has nothing to do with learning a new skill. Rather, it has everything to do with becoming better at something that you should already be doing – practicing your next speech.
Why Practice Really Matters
For most of us, speaking in public is not the only thing that we do during a given day. What’s interesting is that we seem to understand that for most things in our life if we want to get better at them, then we need to practice.
However, when it comes to public speaking, for many people practice is not something that they do. Instead, all too often speakers seem to pull together a speech, glance at it before they take the stage and then go out and wing it.
Ouch, speaking as an audience member I can tell when you are winging it and it’s not pretty. In order to boost your speaking skill level, you’re going to not only have to practice but also practice right. It’s time to go over some advanced practice techniques.
5 Ways To Improve How You Practice Your Next Speech
Speaker Roena Oesting is a speaker who has taken the time to study the best ways to practice giving a speech. Based on her research, here are 5 advanced practice techniques that you need to start to use:
- You’re Perfect – Not!: The first thing that you need to realize about practice is that it’s going to make you a better speaker, but it’s not going to make you perfect. Don’t think that you’re going to have to keep practicing until you become perfect, you’re goal should simply be to become better every time you practice your speech.
- Learn From The Past: We’ve all given speeches in the past and based on these speeches you should have some feedback. Hopefully you have written evaluations that you can refer back to. In the worst case, give a call to someone who was in the audience last time you gave a speech and ask them what you need to change in your next speech.
- Practice! You are only going to become better by practicing your speech, take the time to run though it from start to finish. Don’t worry about mistakes you make – keep on going until you reach the end of the speech. You need to get a “feel” for how the whole speech fits together.
- Give It A Rest: After you’ve practiced the speech a few times and feel that you have it pretty well under control, back off. Put your speech away for the rest of the day and even a full day if you have the time. Getting some distance from your speech will allow you to come back to it with a fresh outlook later on.
- One More Time On The Big Day: The day that you will be giving your speech, make sure that you carve out enough time to practice the speech one more time fully from start to finish. Once you’ve got this taken care of, put it away and know that you are now fully ready to deliver a a great speech.
What All Of This Means For You
For some reason the thing that we know about sports, singing, and games that we play – that practice makes us better – seems to escape us when it comes to public speaking. As a group, we all seem to try to minimize how much we practice the speeches that we give – do we really think that we’re that good?
If you want to take your speaking skills to the next level, then you need to start to use the 5 advanced practice techniques that we’ve discussed. This includes realizing that you’ll never be perfect, using your notes to improve, practicing again and again, and taking a break in between practice sessions.
Question For You: When do you think you should practice your speech on the big day – early on or just before you take the stage?
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!