Shavon Dion Bethel recently discussed key tips for strong public speaking.
“Effective public speaking skills are essential in my field, but they’re also essential in so many other occupations and areas of life,” Shavon Dion Bethel said. “Excellent public speaking skills can provide more opportunities in life and ensure your messages are remembered for years rather than forgotten in minutes.”
Shavon Bethel stated that one of the most important aspects of preparing for public speaking is to have the intent to move people. Your audience should feel like they want to do something after hearing you speak, whether that’s something that improves the community, their occupation, or a variety of other areas of life. He stated that there is no value in your speech if nobody acts or feels differently after you give it.
“Your public speech must be interesting,” Shavon Dion Bethel said. “You know this if you’ve ever sat through a boring presentation. A lack of entertainment will result in a lack of listening, and that will render your speech useless as well.”
Bethel suggested starting your speech with a strong first statement, whether it’s a personal anecdote or an inspiring quote, that will draw the attention of the audience and hold it. The structure of your speech should also be in sections, flowing smoothly from the first “grabber” statement to the meat of the speech and into a call-to-action conclusion.
“There is arguably no practice more valuable than rehearsing your speech out loud,” Shavon Dion Bethel said. “The more times you practice, the more confident you’ll feel when it comes time to speak. Time yourself against a clock, allow time for unexpected interruptions, and remember to breathe.”
Bethel added that knowing the setting in which you’ll be giving the speech is also important. Arriving ahead of time will help you work out any kinks with the microphone, sound system, or any visual aids you’ll be using. Even speaking with a few people in the audience before your speech will help you feel more comfortable in this new setting. Shavon Dion Bethel explained that this tactic can help you feel more like you’re communicating to friends than complete strangers.
“My final piece of advice is to let go and relax,” Shavon Bethel said. “Be sure to pause throughout the speech, breathe, and even drink water if needed. Perfection doesn’t occur 100 percent of the time, but that doesn’t mean you gave an ineffective speech.”
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