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What to Do When Your Job Requires You to Be Good at Public Speaking, By: Courtney Crites

Apr 19, 2024 06:01 PM

As a student or new grad entering the job market, you might find yourself faced with the challenge of needing to be proficient in public speaking for your job. Whether it's presenting to clients, speaking at conferences, or leading meetings, being able to communicate effectively in front of an audience is a valuable skill that can greatly impact your success in the workplace. 

I know what you’re thinking… I haven’t quite nailed it yet. Truthfully, me either. But, if the thought of public speaking makes you nervous, I’m here to say don't worry! I have a few strategies and tips to help you become a confident and skilled public speaker for when it counts the most. 

1. Embrace the Opportunity to Learn and Grow

Public speaking is a skill that can be developed and improved with practice. Instead of seeing it as a scary requirement, think of it as an opportunity to enhance your communication abilities and grow both personally and professionally. Put it this way, if your manager asked you to present, they are confident enough in your ability to be successful. So, take it as a compliment.  By adopting a positive mindset, you can approach public speaking as a valuable skill that will set you apart in your career.

2. Seek Out Opportunities to Practice

Look for opportunities to practice public speaking in different settings. This could include hoping on a fake Zoom call with your friends, volunteering to give presentations in class, or taking on leadership roles in student groups. The more you expose yourself to speaking in front of others, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become.

3. Prepare Thoroughly

Before any speaking engagement, preparation is key, but you already knew this. Take the time to research your topic, organize your thoughts, and create a well-structured presentation. Practice your delivery multiple times to familiarize yourself with the content and ensure a smooth delivery. Remember, the more confident you feel in what you’re saying, the more at ease you will be when you’re speaking.

4. Use Resources for Improvement

Take advantage of the of resources available to help improve your public speaking skills. This can include online tutorials, books on public speaking, and even public speaking workshops or classes. There are also tons of public speaking apps and tools that can assist with everything from organizing your speech to providing feedback on your delivery. 

Note: you can also ask an AI tool to give you feedback on your speech/delivery! 

5. Focus on Engaging Your Audience

When speaking in public, it's important to remember that your audience is there to hear your message. They want to hear what you have to say. Focus on engaging them through storytelling, humor, and interactive elements. By making a genuine connection with your audience, you can create a more impactful and memorable presentation.

6. Work on Calming Your Nerves

It's totally natural to feel some nervousness before speaking in public, but managing these nerves is important. Practice deep breathing, visualization techniques, and positive affirmations to help calm your nerves before stepping onto the stage. Consider seeking out a mentor or coach (or your manager) who can provide guidance and support as you work on overcoming your fear of public speaking.

7. Evaluate and Learn from Each Experience

It’s only up from here! After every public speaking engagement, take some time for self-reflection. Consider what went well, what could be improved, and how you can apply these lessons to future presentations. By continually seeking to enhance your skills, you will eventually build your confidence and become a more effective public speaker.

Final Thoughts

While the prospect of needing to excel at public speaking for your job may seem intimidating, it's important to remember that with dedication and practice, you can become a pro. So, embrace the challenge, take it as a compliment, and remember that every opportunity to speak in public is a chance to grow and showcase your abilities.

You got this!