6 Things that Great Public Speakers Always Do [Updated May 2024]

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Tricia Brouk founder of The Big Talk making a curtsy on stage

Elevating yourself from being a good public speaker to a great public speaker can be achieved. It starts by recognizing and implementing a few small, yet powerful adjustments to your presentation style. Many speakers remain in the realm of “good” simply because they are unaware of these impactful tweaks that can transform their stage presence.

Here are six essential tips that great public speakers consistently use to captivate and engage their audiences:

Earn the Audience’s Time & Attention

Make eye contact. Smile. Captivate them with confidence. Let your ideas flow through you. By focusing on earning the gift of your audience’s time and attention, they will want to earn yours.

Establish Credibility

Authenticity and passion are crucial, but credibility is what sets great public speakers apart. It’s essential to choose topics that ignite your passion and ones where you can authoritatively speak. Establishing your authority on the subject is critical, whether through education, research, or personal experiences. After all, if you aren’t credible, why should the audience invest their time listening to you?

Ask Yourself 3 Key Questions

Before you choose a topic to speak about, always ask yourself three key questions: Why does it matter? Why does it matter to you? And why does it matter to the world?

If your topic only matters to you, we won’t be able to relate to it. For example, TEDx Lincoln Square speaker Sarah Montana applied to be on my stage with her story of forgiveness. We were concerned that this would be an idea that would be difficult for the audience to receive. She talked about forgiveness in terms of her mother and brother being murdered on Christmas Eve.

I allowed her to submit a video in order to see what was possible from her idea – and it was incredible. Her talk connected the dots between her unique experience and a broader global experience. She spoke about how we can all transform our lives through forgiveness. Your audience needs to see themselves in your talk, otherwise your words will just be information without impact.

Rehearse Realistically

Great public speakers know that rehearsing in isolation isn’t the best way to prepare for that big stage. Instead, they practice under gradually increasing levels of stress—from presenting to a trusted family member to speaking in front of colleagues and eventually large groups. This method not only enhances familiarity with the material but also prepares the speaker for any unforeseen challenges during the actual presentation.

 Craft Your Speech as a Conversation

A speech should not sound rehearsed or read; it should be a dynamic conversation. Great public speakers infuse their personalities into their talks, using natural language and humor (if it suits their style). This approach makes the presentation more relatable and engaging, ensuring it feels like a genuine interaction rather than a monologue.

Harness the Power of Movement

Words matter, but so do body language and movement. Video yourself or rehearse in front of people that are going to be honest about what you’re doing and not doing. If you flap your arms, you need to know that so you can break the habit.

By integrating these strategies, you’ll not only refine your public speaking skills but also stand out as a memorable and influential speaker. Remember, the journey from good to great in public speaking is continuous and requires practice, feedback, and a willingness to adapt and grow.

Learn More About Tricia Brouk!

Tricia Brouk is an award-winning director, writer, producer and public speaking coach. As an expert in the art of public speaking, she puts speakers on TEDx and other big stages. She also hosts The Big Talk, an award-winning public speaking podcast on iTunes.

Tricia can help you become the confident, inspirational speaker you are meant to be. If you’re looking for a speaker coach who can get you to the next level, reach out to Tricia Brouk today! In the meantime, check out her YouTube page for more public speaking tips and tricks.

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