How to Practice Public Speaking?
Finding Learning Opportunities in Your Daily Life
Recently, I had a powerful question asked during one of my classes – we receive so much feedback on the various aspects of our presentations, how do we try to incorporate and internalise these feedback since we will not get a chance to speak/present all the time? This question is especially significant when you attend an intensive course, and you try to digest every single technique or details shared during the course. How do you rise above the information anxiety and start to develop a simple framework to apply in your daily routine immediately?
For us, public speaking training is more than just memorising and digesting theory – a large part of the learning process involves putting the techniques into practice. One of the key aspects of the process involve breaking out of your comfort zone. Every position of discomfort is an opportunity for you to break away from the comfortable, intuitive habit and grow. As you push yourself to the limit in a public speaking context, you will soon learn to enjoy the growth process entirely!
To help supplement your learning process moving forward, we have prepared three simple tips that will help you set off on the growth journey on the right foot.
Tip #1: Every Speaking Opportunity is a Learning Opportunity
The first step requires a mindset shift – we often share with our clients that public speaking courses are not about memorising specific techniques or scenarios. Instead, the keyword we need is – awareness. The key part of improving your public speaking skills involves having an awareness of how the techniques you have learnt apply in your day-to-day experience. This awareness would include techniques you have incorporated or even those you observe around you.
In this sense, every communication opportunity is a learning opportunity. From that informal conversation with a colleague to a high-stakes presentation before a larger audience, each of these communication settings gifts you a chance to practise the techniques taught. In fact, it is preferable to hone your practical skills in a casual, low-stakes setting, allowing you to experiment and explore your communication style. You will not want to find yourself trying to cram all the techniques in that one high-stakes scenario and adding unnecessary stress!
Tip #2: Grow Incrementally – Take Focused, Tiny Steps
One of the wide topics that we cover for public speaking involves body language or non-verbal communication techniques. This topic forms the core part of your delivery style – from the way you use your body to your vocal variety. With so many different techniques and advice you may get in just one session, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost on how to best internalise these techniques. Instead of trying to force the learning process, the two methods you can try is either incremental growth or package learning.
For incremental growth, build your public speaking habits through small but dedicated steps. Pick one specific technique that you can observe, practise and assess in your day-to-day settings. For example, focusing on your body posture for a few weeks at work will allow you to assess how changes in your body posture (or even power poses), can change the dynamics of a conversation. For package learning, take note of techniques that are easier to apply together. For example, your eye contact can go hand-in-hand with body posture, allowing you to keep track of two techniques at one go. This not only allows for incremental growth, but it also helps you to tease out the interplay between different techniques. You may start to notice, for example, that when trying to recall your script, you will break eye contact and lean to the side. This is but one of the many combinations you may observe!
Tip #3: Keep Track of Your Progress – Develop Your Conscious Competence
Part of the learning process involves creating conscious competence (on your way to unconscious competence – where the techniques become almost second nature to you). One of the key methods I found useful is the practice of journaling. Don’t worry – you don’t have to write your deepest, darkest secrets in a diary! Instead, this is a targeted and committed process of tracking the various aspects of your learning journey in a trackable format.
Journaling can go beyond the physical book. Some of our clients, for example, prefer to track their progress by sharing their learning growth with a close friend, posting their progress story on social media, or even keeping a mobile journal on their phones! In pursuing this journaling process, remember to be specific in your description. For example, instead of saying “I felt more confident than before”, try to unpack what this feeling entailed, e.g. “After 5 minutes of power posing, I felt a slow rise of confidence that started from my muscles relaxing to my mind slowly keeping its focus”. The aim of your journal is not just to remind yourself about the learning experience the day after, but to act as a constant guide even after these techniques become second nature!
Learn, Grow and Progress!
The learning process is not easy – even more so for a skill such as public speaking. Most, if not all, of our students, are tied by their common desire and dedication to improving themselves for that defining, high-stakes situation. With this in mind, it would put you in good stead to set off on this learning journey on the right foot! Try the three tips we have shared above and let us know how your learning journey has been thus far!
Public Speaking Academy strives to help students with both types of communication:
For verbal communication:
Public Speaking for Adults:
Public Speaking for Kids/ Children: