Tips to become a more engaging public speaker

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Whether you’re delivering a keynote speech, a sales pitch, or simply leading a team meeting, effective communication is essential to get your message across and drive action. As a business leader, your ability to communicate effectively can make or break your career, as an engaging speaker is essential not only for motivating your employees, but also for pitching your ideas to potential investors, clients or partners.

Below are the members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs recommend nine tips that can help you improve your public speaking skills and reap the rewards of becoming an engaging speaker.

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1. Speak out of love, not fear

As a “recovering introvert,” I used the “love, not fear” mantra to turn my fear of public speaking into something I love because I realized it was a way to provide more value to people’s lives. When you address an audience that is driven by love and the desire to serve them, they can see and feel it, no matter how skilled you are at public speaking. – David Henzel, TaskDrive

2. Hire a speaking coach

This may sound like a simple solution to mastering a complex skill, but coaches have exercises and speaking techniques that make an impact. Another benefit of hiring a speaking coach is the personalized attention to your specific speaking challenges. Building this skill has been one of my tools in building my brand as an entrepreneur, and it has led to great opportunities. – Matthew Kapala, alphametic

3. Join a club

The best tip is to join a club that helps people build speaking skills. Many local nonprofits offer public speaking opportunities and teach effective communication skills. Joining one of these clubs gives you the chance to learn from more experienced speakers, practice your message and get feedback. Plus, they help you build confidence in yourself and your message. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

4. Make use of strategic breaks

One tip to become an engaging speaker is to use strategic pauses in your speech. Pausing allows you to create emphasis, control the pace, and give your audience plenty of time to absorb information. This, in turn, helps hold the listener’s interest, improves comprehensibility, and exudes confidence in your delivery. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

5. Practice your presentation

My tip for becoming an engaging speaker is: practice, practice, practice! Preparation is essential to becoming a confident and effective speaker. Practicing your presentation and becoming familiar with the material will help you connect with your audience and deliver a compelling message. – Rachel Bother, PRESS Modern Massage

6. Be truthful and authentic

Don’t pretend, tell it like it is. Don’t try to make up information when motivating employees, pitching a solution, or engaging your audience, as it’s a recipe for disaster. At first you may get away with it and intrigue your listeners. But when the truth unfolds, it will destroy your reputation for good. So be authentic and truthful to ensure lasting relationships with your audience. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes

7. Watch how others speak

Keep checking out other great speakers on YouTube. You subconsciously begin to pick up on the way they talk, including their tone of voice and the way they use non-verbal communication. If you want, it’s good to get in the zone by watching a great speech before giving yours. – Andy Karuza, NachoNacho

8. Prioritize the message over the words

Being organized and “knowing your stuff” makes being an engaging speaker much easier. Instead of memorizing pitches or motivational words, knowing the general theme of what you want to say gives you more confidence when you speak. Instead of focusing on the perfect words or phrasing, it’s better to prioritize the message and key points to resonate with your audience. – Ian Blair, ConstructionFire

9. Know your audience

Research your audience to understand their interests, needs and expectations. This will help you tailor your message and delivery style to them. For example, if you are speaking to an investor, you may want to focus on growth strategies and financial metrics, while if you are speaking to employees, you may want to focus on the company’s culture and mission. – Eddie Lou, CodePet