The anxiety before you get on stage!

The nervousness while on stage!

The heavy breaths and sweaty palms!

If you are afraid to speak in public, you can probably relate to all the feelings described above.

Trust me, I understand, because I have been there; public speaking is terrifying if you are yet to get a hang of it. That fear that you are not making sense and that you are humiliating yourself is always there at the back of your mind. 

And since there is nothing as dreadful as public humiliation, many people rather avoid public speaking like a plague. Yet, it is an essential skill to have in today’s world; not if you want to make progress in your life or career.

Of course, not all of us will be TED speakers, but even in that little sphere where we find ourselves, we may need to speak publicly.

For instance, a presentation at work or class is a form of public speaking. Therefore, improving your public speaking skills becomes necessary.

So, in this post, I will give you tips to become a better public speaker and discuss the traits you need to be a better public speaker.


10 Tips to Be a Better Public Speaker

  1. Watch Great Public Speakers

I heard someone I know who used to be timid say he became a good public speaker by watching great public speakers.

He watched different public speaking videos on YouTube to study how great speaker delivered their speeches. He studied how they gesticulated, paced their words and controlled their voice and breath. He also noted their body language and use of the stage.

By doing that, he was able to learn by mimicking. So, I believe this is a great point to consider.

How do you become a better public speaker when you don’t know how great public speakers speak? I am sure you have seen many public speeches, but you probably didn’t pay attention to learning how it is done because you didn’t think to.

Now, all you have to do is to be intentional about learning all that to be a good speaker yourself. You can start with TED talks on YouTube.


  1. Practice Public Speaking

Then, you need to practice what you have learnt. I am sure you have heard that practice makes perfect. That saying applies to being a good public speaker as well.

And you don’t have to wait until you have an opportunity to deliver a speech or make a presentation to practice.

Create the opportunity for yourself. Start by speaking out more in groups and watch how well you are able to engage your audience.

Then, practice before a mirror; watch out for your tone, body language and gesticulation.

You could also get friends together and practice before them. This might work better if you have an actual presentation. You could practice with friends before the presentation.

In fact, you should certainly always give a mock presentation before an actual speech. If you cannot get friends or family members on it, do it before a mirror.


  1. Prepare

Never go before an audience without preparing; it may be disastrous.

Even the most seasoned speakers prepare before giving a speech. So, as someone who is starting off, you have no excuse.

And it doesn’t matter whether you know the topic like the back of your hands or not, prepare and outline what you are talking about and how you will approach it.

You need to organise your thoughts and how you will present them. Then, write down and outline your major talking points to serve as cue cards.

Part of the preparation is also giving a mock presentation, which I have explained above.


  1. Dress the Way You Want to be Addressed

Dressing is another major aspect of public speaking that is not often emphasised but is very important.

The way you look can impact your confidence level. You are likely to be more confident when you know you look good.

So, make sure to dress for the occasion. Look good and comfortable, and make sure not to wear anything distracting.

In fact, your dressing can make your audience pay more attention to you. Therefore, it’d be wise to dress to fit the occasion. For instance, your dressing might be more casual when speaking to a young tech audience as opposed to middle-aged accountants.

How to be a better public speaker


  1. Use Stories

People like stories; not only are they entertaining, we are likely to relate more to them.

In fact, experts would advise that you start with a story to draw your audience in.

So, think about a story or anecdote that you can include that would make your audience interested in your speech.

Also Read: How to Become a Better Communicator


  1. Learn and Engage the Audience

Before your speech, learn about your audience because your audience will determine your approach. For instance, giving a presentation in class would require a different approach from a TED talk.

Learning your audience will also help you prepare better ways to engage them. Then, you’d know their pain points and what they are looking to get from your speech.

Remember, the speech is about them, not you. So, take the attention off you and to them. Ask questions – if possible – and let them get involved in the discussion.


  1. Be Yourself

Studying and mimicking great speakers doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be yourself. Don’t lose touch with your personality when learning from others.

Add your own personal touch to it, and the authenticity will shine through to the audience.


  1. Think Positively and Be Calm

It is normal to be nervous when giving a speech. Trust me, even some seasoned speakers still deal with nerves.

But the truth is that most of our supposed flaws are all in our heads.

So, don’t go down a well of negativity because you are nervous; it’s normal.

Instead, think positively. Visualise yourself being the best speaker there is and affirm yourself positively.


  1. Watch Out for Body Language

You cannot expect your audience to be interested when you act or portray disinterest in your topic. Your audience is likely to take a cue from you.

So, you need to pay attention to your body language. Are you communicating excitement and enthusiasm or disinterest?

Also, are you communicating confidence or nervousness? That could make or mar your speech. To show confidence, stand straight and maintain eye contact with your audience.

On the other hand, watch out for the body language of your audience. Are they engaged and excited? Or are they yawning and rolling their eyes?

That’d be a good time to tell a story or ask questions. Or that could be a clue that you are taking too long.


  1. Record and Assess Your Speeches

Record yourself on camera, so you can assess how you did.

Of course, you might not need to do that if the event is recorded. But if not, you could request to set up a camera or ask a friend to help you record.

Make sure you are honest about the assessment. However, don’t be too hard on yourself as well.

To ensure you get the right assessment, get someone else to assess and ask them to be honest with you.

Then, take the feedback to improve your skills.


Must-Have Traits to Be a Better Public Speaker

You are likely to be a better public speaker if you have the qualities of a good public speaker below:

a motivational speaker public speaking with a microphone

  1. Confidence

I am sure you expected confidence to come first because you can hardly be a good public speaker without confidence.

If you come across as timid and nervous – while completely natural reactions – you’d lose your audience’s interest.

Your audience would likely only feel the need to listen to you when they see that you know what you are talking about. And timidity doesn’t tell them that you know your stuff.

So, while some level of nervousness can be expected, make sure to adequately prepare so you can be more confident.

Also Read: Ways to Build Your Self-Confidence


  1. Social Intelligence

You cannot afford to be so much into yourself when delivering a speech. You must always remember that it is about the audience. And so, focus on them.

A good public speaker knows to read the audience and see when they need to make adjustments based on the audience’s body language.


  1. Conciseness

People really don’t want to listen to someone ramble and ramble on end. Now, it is possible that your section is long, but you need to also make sure not to fill it with fluff.

Better a 30-minute engaging session than an hour with mostly fluff. Try to be as concise as possible; be straightforward and avoid repetitions.


  1. Flexibility

A good public speaker is not rigid; they are flexible and ready to adapt to the current situation. They are fast on their feet and creative as the situation calls for it.  


  1. Passion

It is usually clear when you are passionate about what you are talking about as opposed to when you aren’t.

However, if you are not naturally a passionate person, you can practice by watching passionate speakers.

This is important because if you want people to listen to you passionately, you have to speak passionately to them.


  1. Self-Awareness

You also need to be self-aware to be a better public speaker. You need to know your strengths and weaknesses so you can leverage the information.

Then, you can enhance your strengths and minimise your weaknesses – while working on them – when speaking in public.


  1. Genuineness

I have emphasised learning from others throughout this post. However, please bear in mind that I am not implying you should copy someone else and lose your authenticity.

Always be yourself; it is attractive and draws your audience in.


  1. A Good Sense of Humour

You also need to be able to get the audience to share a good laugh here or there. Of course, it shouldn’t be all laughs – if it’s not a comedy show – but some humour will do you and your audience some good.

It will make them interested, and it will calm your nerves.


  1. A Good Dress Sense

This may not look like it has anything to do with public speaking, but it does a lot.

Firstly, when you look good and know you look good, it improves your confidence. So, make sure to find a sense of style that is comfortable and stylish.

Of course, you will also want to consider the kind of event and audience you are speaking to. You shouldn’t go wrong when you add all these points together.



 Public speaking is indeed nerve-racking, but you can learn to be a better public speaker if you pay attention to this article. Have you ever had to speak in public? How did you manage the nerves? Let me know in the comment section.