Want to save this page for later?

NextGen Magazine


4 Tips to Become a Better Speaker

Jason Wong
Published Date:
Jan 15, 2016

BoringPresentationWith success often comes the need to speak in front of a group of people, a daunting prospect for many, especially if it’s your first time outside of an academic setting. It could be that you’ve been chosen to run a meeting about a new project, or you’ve been given the opportunity to speak at a conference. How can your speech keep your audience’s attention? Fortune has a few tips to keep in mind:

Slow down. People have a tendency to speak faster when they’re nervous, so slow down, and embrace natural pauses in your flow of thought. Speaking slower will also give you time to formulate your thoughts, and cut down on words you don’t want like “uh” or “um.”

Use jargon only if necessary. Sometimes, only a certain word or phrase will convey the nuances of your point effectively, but don’t overdo it. Better that the audience understands you and can take the time to digest what you’re saying, rather than working just to figure out what you’re trying to say.

Be purposeful. Avoid the use of wishy-washy clarifying phrases like “kind of.” Trying to sound less opinionated or more humble can just make you sound unsure, or what you’re saying sound unimportant, or both.

Relax. People will be able to tell if you’re anxious, so when you’re speaking, imagine that you’re talking to a friend, and let the pitch of your voice reflect what you’re talking about. Do have good posture, but don’t stand/sit so stiffly that people notice it as odd.