Hey, what's up guys?
Today we're gonna tackle one of the most highly
requested topics on this channel which is how to
become a better public speaker.
Now, this is actually perfect timing for this topic,
because last month I went down to South Carolina to
give a talk at a conference called "FinCon"
where I talked about building a YouTube Channel,
something I'm pretty passionate about,
and actually this month I'll be going to Vermont in
a couple of weeks to give my first paid speaking engagement.
So, speaking is becoming a larger part of my life,
and while I'm not a professional speaker,
I do have a lot of experience speaking in public,
and I've gained a lot of insights and skills over the
years through practice,
and I want to help impart some of the knowledge
I've been able to gain to you so you can become a
better public speaker technically,
and also start to calm some of the nerves and anxiety
that you might get when you have to get onstage
in front of a bunch of people.
So to that end, I've got nine specific public speaking tips
for you this week that can help you become a better speaker.
And, the first one is to pay very, very close attention to
your rate of speech when you're on stage.
Most inexperienced speakers tend to speak
a lot more quickly than they think they're speaking,
and it's because when you're onstage you have
all this anxiety and you have all the material up
in your head and you're just trying to get through it
as quickly as possible because the number one
thing you want to do is get offstage to where
nobody's judging you anymore, right?
But the problem is, this isn't YouTube.
The people sitting in the audience aren't looking
at a bunch of other tabs,
and they're not liable to click away after two minutes.
They've sat there, and they've dedicated some time
to listening to what you have to say,
so if you can slow down and
give them some breathing room,
then they're going to be able to contemplate
what you've said and more easily follow along with
what you're talking about.
Also, your rate of speech isn't the only thing
you can control to make your speech better.
You can also employ strategic pauses
to highlight certain points.
Now, there's a lot of speeches that
I've watched to study to become a better speaker myself,
but there's actually a fake one that
I really, really like and want to use as an example here,
and it's this 2023 TED Talk that the producers
of the movie "Prometheus" put out as an
advertisement for the movie.
And in this TED Talk, Guy Pearce's character is talking
about cybernetic individuals and
basically his ambitions to take over the world,
but when I watched this, i thought
it was a fantastic piece to study for public speaking,
because he employs these pauses
so dramatically and so effectively.
So check that video out after you watch this one,
and start to learn from it.
Now another thing Guy Pearce does amazingly
in that video is my second tip,
which is to pay attention to your body language.
And, this is important for two specific reasons.
Number one, your body language forms a large part
of the non-verbal communication that compliments
the verbal communication of your words.
The way you hold yourself, the way you're poised,
your posture, the way you move your hands
and gesture to highlight certain points.
These all go hand-in-hand with the words
you're speaking and can help to compliment
and drive home those points.
But the other reason is that, the unconscious body language
that a lot of inexperienced speakers
have is something that can harm you.
We have a lot of nervous ticks.
For example, when I was an inexperienced speaker just
starting out, a lot of things that I would do,
I would put my hands in my pockets.
I guess that camera's fixed right there,
but I can try to show you, right?
I put my hands in and out of my pockets,
over and over again while I was speaking,
and I would also pace around the stage really distractedly,
kind of moving, and I wasn't really consciously pacing
and using that to effect, I was just doing it unconsciously.
So these are things that you can
control to both not distract your audience,
but also to help bolster your points.
My third tip is to consciously try to improve your ability
to make eye contact with your entire audience.
Now one thing rookie speakers do a lot of times
is they'll fixate on one section of the audience,
and they'll stay there during their entire speech,
because they're nervous.
But the problem is, there are people over here,
and over here, and your entire audience are
the people you are addressing.
So you want to make sure you're trying to make eye contact
with each and every single person during your speech.
Now, I know it can be difficult to make eye contact
when you're already nervous about being on stage,
so you can employ a classic speaker's
trick which is to simply look over
the heads of the people in the back row,
who are far enough away that they
probably won't be able to tell that
you're not directly looking them in the eye.
But, I do want to challenge you.
The next time you have to make a speech,
if you're feeling nervous, and find it difficult to
make eye contact, and you want to employ this trick,
I do challenge you to at least try to make eye contact
with a couple people throughout your talk,
because this is something that gets easier to do over time,
and it will make you a more engaging, effective,
and more human, speaker.
Now, speaking of practicing that eye contact,
the fourth tip is to, in general, practice.
Practice, practice, practice,
and when you think you have practiced
all you could have potentially ever practice, do it again.
The idea here is not to
practice your speech until you get it right,
but to practice your speech until you can't get it wrong.
And this is because, mastery helps you to get you through
any anxiety you're feeling.
As we talked about in my test anxiety video,
anxiety can actually block your brain
from making connections.
So, the more of a concrete grasp you have on your material,
the more likely you're going to be able to get past those
anxiety blockers, get the thoughts out of your brain,
through your lips, and into the ears of the eager audience.
Also, mastery is important because
when you're getting something
right in your practice situation,
it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to get it right
in the more stressful situation where you're addressing
real living, breathing, farting, human beings, right?
So, make sure you practice until
you know your material cold.
Now on that note, you might be thinking,
"Well, my speech teacher told me not to memorize my speech."
And in general, I do agree with that piece of advice,
but I want to drill into it, and give a little bit more
of a specific option on it.
So in my mind, you should not write
your speech out like an essay
and try to memorize it word for word.
If you do that, you're going to sound unnatural,
you're going to sound robotic,
you're going to sound, well, like you're reading.
But, I do think you should
write your speech out in the form of bullet points,
have the main points listed out,
have any details and facts and statistics and figures
you wanna sight written out,
and memorize those, so, when you get on stage,
you don't have anything in your hands except maybe a
presentation remote or a prop,
and you can recite the entire speech from memory,
because you know your points cold,
you know exactly what it is that you need
to communicate to your audience.
Now, another final note on practice
is that practice works for individual speeches,
but it's also something that's going to make you
a better speaker over time.
So if you feel like, right now, your public speaking
skills aren't at the level you want them to be,
the best way to get better is to
simply speak again and again and again.
There's an organization called Toastmasters,
where you can get with other budding speakers
and people who want to improve their skills
and actually get up and give speeches in a
you can take a speech class at your school.
which I definitely recommend you should do.
And, you can also do things that aren't really
public speaking, but just things that give you
If I'm being honest, the thing that has helped me become
a better public speaker the most is running my podcast
and my YouTube channel.
Because, each and every week I have to create
something where I'm speaking to an audience.
Yes, my actual public speaking
experiences have contributed to my skills.
but I've done way more videos, and way more podcasts,
and those have helped me as well.
So if there's something that gives
you performance anxiety, whether it be dancing in public
or doing karaoke with your friends, or something,
anything that gives you a little bit of anxiety upfront,
but then afterwards you realize that the world didn't
end even though you did it,
that's gonna help build your confidence
and decrease the amount of care you have
of what people think, and those improvements will
all feed back into your speaking ability.
Now, my fifth tip is also related to practice,
but it's a little bit of a technical improvement you
can make to your practice, and it's to do exactly what
I'm doing right now.
When you practice, take a video camera with you
and film yourself.
This is what I would do every single time
I had a speech in college.
I would go find an empty classroom,
and with my first few runs I wouldn't video tape it,
because I was just trying to get the material down
in my head, so I memorized it all.
But, once I had the material down,
then I would film myself doing each and every take.
And afterwards, I would watch the take,
review each aspect of my performance,
and pick out the things that could be improved.
This is a huge upgrade over
just practicing for an empty room,
because you're not always aware of the things you're doing.
Maybe you have a nervous tick,
maybe you're looking back at the slides too often,
or maybe you're pacing too much.
But the tape doesn't lie.
So, if you can watch that tape, see your mistakes.
You can know what to correct, and you're going to be able to
practice more effectively, and maybe have to practice
even less than you would originally need to.
So tip number six is to
know who your audience is.
And by that, I mean realize the people in your
audience will most likely fall into one of two categories.
Number one, over here, you have the people
who are rooting for you.
They wanna see you succeed, they're invested in your topic,
and these are your champions, like your fans, right?
Then over here, you have the evil people who are going
to laugh at you, and throw tomatoes at you,
and curse your family for all eternity, right?
Over here, actually you have people who are bored.
And it's not because of you,
it's because their minds are elsewhere,
they don't wanna be there,
they'd rather be off doing something else,
and whatever you do,
if you perform badly, if you perform really good,
or if you're more in the middle
and just doing a mediocre job,
it's likely that that's not going to
have much of an effect on them at all.
Now, you do wanna get the most
number of people possible into that former category
of the people who are really invested in your topic.
And, that's what the other tips
in this video can help you do,
but I want you to realize that the people
in that latter category, the people who just don't care,
they don't matter.
So don't worry about what they're
going to think when you're creating your speech,
or when you're up on stage delivering it,
because that anxiety isn't worth it.
If you get feedback later on after
the speech that you can use to constructively improve,
But, don't let it worry you in the moment.
Moving right along, my seventh tip is to
focus more on the topic and less on the aspects
of your performance, when you're delivering your speech,
and also you're preparing.
I found through experience, that when I'm really invested
in what I'm talking about, and more specifically,
when I'm invested in a transformation,
I want it to have on the audience,
I don't care so much about the
technical aspects of my speech.
I don't care about my body language.
I don't care about my eye contact.
I'm not even thinking about it, because
it's become almost as if I was explaining
something I cared about to a dear friend.
And, I want them to learn what it is that I know.
So, the focus comes off the nervousness of standing
on stage, and addressing a bunch of people,
and it's placed on this is what I know,
and this is what I really want you to learn.
I'm really excited about it, and I hope that what I say
can teach you or persuade you to take some action.
Tip number eight, don't have a stupid haircut.
What I mean by that is,
think about your appearance.
Dress well, and try to make a great first
impression when you step on stage.
This is important because of the Halo Effect,
which is also known as exaggerated emotional coherence.
And it's basically a term to explain
the fact that humansmake split-second first impressions
of people right when they meet them.
So, the problem with this is that,
well, maybe it's not a problem,
maybe it's just a fact of life.
What happens is people use those first impressions to
essentially fill in what they don't know about the person,
and also make judgements about what comes next.
So, if you get on stage and you're dressed well.
You hold yourself well, and people are impressed with you,
then they are more likely to forgive any mistakes you make.
And, they're also more likely to be receptive to
whatever it is you're saying.
But if you don't look good, then it's going to be a lot
harder for you to convince people of what you're talking
about and those mistakes will be all the more glaring.
So, first impressions matter.
Then my ninth and final tip is,
take a breath.
Don't think you need to be perfect.
Focusing on perfection is the number one
way to trip yourself up, to give yourself massive
amounts of anxiety, and to fail.
Don't worry about being perfect,
just get on stage and deliver the best speech
that you can give.
There's a book I read in college called
"Confessions of a Public Speaker"
by a guy named Scott Berkun.
I highly recommend it if you want to get better at speaking.
It's on my essential books list,
but there's a passage in here that really
resonated with me when I read it.
And he says, "I don't want to be perfect.
I want to be useful, I want to be good,
and I want to sound like myself."
Nobody gives a perfect speech.
Even if you think somebody gave a perfect speech,
that person can point out all the errors,
and all the things they wish they would have done better.
So, get on stage, focus on doing good,
focus on improving over your previous performance,
and then just focus on that topic like I said.
Try to enact a transformation
in your audience and you're not going to care
so much about your nerves and your performance.
So, those are the nine tips I wrote down for this video.
But, I do have a little bonus tip of sorts for you.
And, it's to study people who are great public speakers.
I have a playlist of videos here on YouTube,
that I have been building for a few years,
and whenever I need to make a speech of my own,
I'll go study some of those speeches.
and try to pinpoint exactly what they're doing
that I'd like to improve on with my own skills.
So, in the companion blog post for this video,
I've linked that playlist and as a bonus,
I've also linked to some of my earlier speaking videos,
and just to forewarn you,
one of the earlier ones is really, really bad.
So laugh at me all you want,
I don't care because I have improved,
and I just want to kind of show you guys that practice
does make better.
So that's it for this video,
hopefully it helped you out and if it did,
I just wanna let you know that next week,
we're going to follow up this topic with an additional
video on how to craft great presentations,
so we'll talk about making great slides and using
story and narrative to keep your audience engaged.
So, if you haven't subscribed to this channel,
you can click the subscribe button to get notified
about that video and others in the future,
and if you like this video, click that like button
to support this channel and other than that,
I will see you guys next week.
Hey guys, thanks so much for watching this video.
If you wanna get new videos on being a more effective
student every single week,
click that big red subscribe button right there.
I also wrote a book on how to earn better grades,
so if you wanna get a free copy of that,
click the picture of the book and you can find those
speeches in my playlist along with notes
and a summary of this video in the Companion Blog post,
which you can find clicking the orange button right there.
Last week's video was over some of the struggles
I'm dealing with in my work life,
and what I'm doing about it, so check it out.
Also, you can see a pretty cool skateboarding stunt
in that video which I enjoyed filming.
And if you wanna connect, I'm on twitter @TomFrankly,
which is also my Instagram,
and otherwise you can leave a comment below.