If You Want to be Good at Public Speaking . . .

If you want to be good at public speaking, I have three words for you.

Practice, practice, practice.

If you prefer, you can change the words to 

Work, work, work.

I prefer to think of work as your writing or outlining the speech and practice as how you get ready for the delivery.

Very few people can do anything without hard work or intense practice. For that reason, I practice every sermon that I deliver and most teaching sessions that I lead. I use the time to “try out” phrases and to make sure that I can speak the right words in the right way. Somehow, saying the words aloud in practice helps you to be more effective.  That alone is reason enough to practice, practice, practice.

I have three suggestions of how you should practice.

First, stand in front of a mirror and deliver your speech. This is especially helpful when you are new to public speaking. I no longer stand in front of a mirror. I’ve always hated doing it. It felt weird, but it helped me immensely. I highly recommend it. Once you have gone through this a few times, you can forget the mirror. But you can’t forget the practice.

Second, practice your introduction and conclusion. These are the most important parts of your speech. You can read my discussion of the beginning and the ending here.  http://waylonbailey.com/2011/09/a-must-for-good-public-speaking/.

Third, practice telling any stories that you use. One of the categories of my blog is Stories Worth Telling. In fact, it’s the most widely read category. Good story telling takes practice. I often tell my stories aloud several times to make sure that I have the emphasis, the details, and pauses where they should be.

I realize that practice is difficult and time consuming. It really is work, but remember why you are speaking. You are attempting to influence people. The best communicators are the most influential people. It really is worth the effort.

Here’s the good news. Your taking the time to practice will help make you be a better communicator.

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