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The 5-step guide to becoming a better public speaker

Whether you're pitching to a client or presenting a new idea to your team, speaking to a big group of people can be nerve-wracking.

While it may come naturally to a few people, most need to work at it.

That's why we put together a handy step-by-step guide on how to become a better public speaker...

1. Learn from the best

Nowadays, thanks to YouTube and TED Talks, there are thousands and thousands of great public speaking examples you can learn from - from Sheryl Sandberg to Elon Musk.

Study someone with a demeanor you think matches yours - how do they pace themselves? How do they stand? How do they use their hands? This is your new benchmark - you now have a clear goal of where you want to be in public speaking! 

2. Know your audience

There's no point perfecting just one technique. 

A seasoned public speaker knows how to adjust their tone and their message depending on who they're speaking to.

Breaking the ice with a few jokes might be a handy trick sometimes, but not always. Likewise, trying to dominate the room with an aggressive pitch is sometimes likely to put some people off. Read the room and be flexible! 

3. Know what you're going to say

It's vital you have a clear plan of what you're going say and how you're going to structure your speech. 

Start with your headline message - then go about explaining it with 3 or 5 key points (the brain is hardwired to remember things in 3s or 5s). Then sum up by quickly going over those points again.

At the same time, don't memorize something word for word - even when it works, it comes across as robotic.

4. Record yourself first

You might not like watching or listening to yourself back, but trust us, it's one of the most vital steps in this guide.

There's no better way to get perspective on how you come across when speaking - from how you stand to how fast you're speaking.

5. Just remember one thing

The people you're speaking to, whether it's a hall of 100 people or a meeting room of 10 people, are not here to see you. They're here to hear what you have to say. 

They're not really judging what you're wearing, what your voice sounds like or how often you smile. They're judging you on the quality of what you're saying - is it genuine? Is it a good idea? Do I believe in what this person has to say?

Believe in your ideas first and foremost, and the rest will come much more easily.

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