Boost your freelance business with our guide to public speaking skills and strategies to captivate any audience. Plus, discover why body language is vital.
Picture it: In the hushed stillness of a business meeting, a single entrepreneur takes the stage. Their message is ready, and their spirit is unshakable. Their words flow, weaving a story that captivates the attention of potential clients before them.
Equipped with the public speaking skills discussed below, this entrepreneur could be you. Public speaking is essential for growing your small business or freelance career, and that’s why we’re here — to explain how to harness its power.
From expert tips to actionable strategies, here’s how to develop public speaking skills to command any room confidently.
What is public speaking? Why is it important? 📣
Public speaking is the act of talking in front of an audience in a structured, deliberate manner. Typically focusing on a specific subject, it’s an art form that goes beyond mere conversation. An effective public speaker connects with their listeners in a way that inspires change and influences decision-making. In the business world, the importance of public speaking skills can’t be overstated.
When it comes to landing jobs as a freelancer, clients across industries don’t just value what you have to offer, but they also appreciate how you present it. Your ability to articulate your thoughts and discuss services confidently shapes first impressions and plays a significant role in your success. Whether pitching a project or explaining your product line, competent communication skills can be vital to landing you the contract.
Why are public speaking skills important?👂
Public speaking skills are essential in the professional world, particularly for Independents and small business owners. They facilitate communication, boost credibility, and foster long-lasting relationships. Conveying your ideas clearly and persuasively makes a considerable difference when pitching to clients, negotiating contracts, and networking.
Additionally, compelling public speaking captivates audiences and inspires action, increasing business opportunities and driving growth. Honing your public speaking skills can be instrumental in distinguishing your services and positively impacting customer perceptions.
7 public speaking skills ✨
Public speaking skills are more multifaceted than you might think. A lot goes into delivering a presentation to a group of any size, whether during a virtual meeting or in person, and your skill level can significantly affect how well your message gets across.
Here are the top seven skills to focus on:
- Confident delivery: The more assertive you are in your delivery, the more credible your presentation, including body language, will appear. Ensure you make eye contact with your audience, rehearse your speech multiple times, and look professional when speaking.
- Clear articulation: Speaking well is one of the most important public speaking skills. Enunciate your words, use proper grammar, and speak loudly enough for everyone in the audience to hear you clearly. Also, practice intonation to express the right emotion that aligns with your words.
- Organization: A well-structured presentation is easy to understand. Put together your points logically to ensure smooth transitions and solid connections between ideas.
- Engaging storytelling: Stories captivate audiences and make your message more memorable. Use storytelling to illustrate your points more effectively so listeners can visualize your speech.
- Explicit understanding of listeners’ needs: Consider your audience’s needs and expectations, and use them to customize your presentation. What do they want to gain from listening to you? For example, if you’re pitching a prospective client to buy your company’s software, ensure you highlight the product’s benefits in a way that correlates with the client’s specific requirements.
- Compelling PowerPoint presentations: Use PowerPoint to support your talk (try building a pitch deck). Present clear, visually appealing slides to enhance the audience’s understanding, and use fewer words on each slide. Also, remember to always end on a high note.
- Controlling performance anxiety: If you tend to feel anxious and jittery before addressing a group of people, learn techniques, like deep breathing and mindfulness, to manage this. Not only will it improve your performance, but it will also make the experience more enjoyable. You can start with a few minutes of breathing exercises to instantly release tension.
Why is body language important?
Body language plays an essential role in public speaking. It’s a powerful tool that enhances your verbal message and builds a strong connection with your audience. Effective body language portrays confidence, authenticity, and enthusiasm, which are integral in engaging and persuading listeners.
A few critical components of body language in public speaking include:
- maintaining eye contact to establish a personal connection with your audience
- using open gestures to signal openness
- standing upright to convey professionalism and authority
- using facial expressions that align with your message to make your words more engaging and believable.
How to improve public speaking skills ✏️
Even if you consider yourself a public speaking expert, there’s always room for improvement. Enhancing your skills through consistent practice and some specific techniques.
Here are 12 public speaking tips to help you refine your prowess:
- Practice regularly: There’s no denying that practice makes perfect. Rehearse your presentation multiple times in front of a mirror or to a loved one to boost your confidence and perfect your delivery. Going over your content with someone you know and trust also helps you receive feedback, creating an opportunity to master your speech.
- Take a workshop: Sign up for a public speaking class, workshop, or tutorial. You could even turn to prerecorded courses on YouTube to practice while learning.
- Film yourself: Record your presentation and watch it back to see what your audience will see.
- Know your audience: Since your listeners are the ultimate thing, it’s imperative to know their requirements, expectations, and interests beforehand. This allows you to tailor your message accordingly, facilitating maximum impact.
- Organize your thoughts: Use an introduction, body, and conclusion to organize your thoughts and help your audience follow along. And ensure to reiterate the main points in your conclusion so your ideas remain fresh in the audience’s memory.
- Use visual aids: Use PPTs with bullet points and graphics to support your speech, and always keep your content simple and aesthetically appealing.
- Be enthusiastic: Show passion for your topic. Enthusiasm is contagious and keeps audience members engaged.
- Work on nonverbal communication skills: Body language, facial expressions, and gestures significantly enhance (or detract from) your message. Use them effectively.
- Control your voice: The best orators speak clearly with an appropriate pace, tone, and pitch. Varying these factors helps emphasize different points.
- Handle nervousness: If you have a fear of public speaking, practice deep breathing, visualization, or other techniques to manage nerves before and during your presentation.
- Seek feedback: After your speech, ask trusted co-workers, friends, or a family member for their opinion. This can provide valuable insight into what needs improvement.
- Watch videos: If you know a great public speaker, watch videos of them doing their thing and take notes. You can also try watching motivational speakers doing TED Talks –– pay close attention to their presentation skills.
Post your freelance services on Contra 💻
Becoming a better public speaker is necessary for Independents and business owners who want to create an impact and effectively convey their message. Whether addressing a boardroom about scaling your company or having a coffee meeting with a client, the ability to command your audience’s attention and express yourself eloquently significantly influences your professional trajectory. To unlock your full potential, begin honing these skills today and promote your services on Contra. An Independent-driven community, the commission-free Contra platform is designed to manage the freelancer-client relationship. If you’re a client aiming to streamline your business operations, Contra can connect you with the ideal professional to meet your needs.