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The Secret to Improving Public Speaking

The Secret to Improving Public Speaking

| On 04, Mar 2018

Speaking in public is the number one fear in America. There are countless ways, however, to improve your public speaking skills. The secret weapon to improving your own speech is to evaluate other speeches. You might not have thought of that, but let me tell you why it works.

  1. Evaluating speeches benefits everyone. There is a false misconception that only the speaker gets any benefit from an evaluation of their speech. This is false. You improve as a speaker by providing an evaluation. The speaker becomes aware of both their strengths and areas that they need improvement.
  2. Learn the objectives of the speaker. Before the speech takes place, ask the speaker what their objectives are. If you know this, you can tailor your evaluation accordingly. If you don’t, you may unfairly criticize them.
  3. Consider their skill levels. Evaluating the (very) inexperienced speaker: Be a little more encouraging and a little less critical, particularly if they exhibit a high level of speaking fear. Evaluating the (very) experienced speaker: A common misconception is that you cannot evaluate a speaker if they are more experienced than you. This is false. Though you may have limited speaking experience, you have a lifetime of experience listening to presentations. Your opinion matters. As a member of the audience, you are who the speaker is trying to reach. You are fully qualified to evaluate how well that message was communicated. Every speaker, no matter how experienced, can improve. Perhaps more importantly, every speaker wants to improve. You can help.
  4. Be truthful. If you did not like the speech, do not say that you did. If you did not like a component of the speech, do not say you did.
  5. Evaluate whether the objective was achieved. Everything other than the speaker him or herself and their primary objective is fair game for your evaluation: content, speech structure, humor, visuals, eye contact, gestures, intangibles, etc.

Hope this article helped. Are there any more tips that you have for evaluating speeches? Let us know!

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