The art of public speaking comes greatly from confidence. Majority of the people who are bad at speeches are like that, because of their fear. But that doesn’t mean that shy people have no hope in this field. In fact, most of the best speakers would chicken out in their early days of public performance.

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To become a good public speaker, it is vital for you to overcome your fear. Yet, it isn’t the only thing you require to get there. Here are 4 quick tips to help you become a better speaker:

1. Use Pointers

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Fully prepared scripts are for actors and politicians. Unless each and every word you say is going to be judged and held against you, you don’t need a full speech. If you use one, you’re going to end up reciting it. And that’s a great way to lose all of the interest of your audience.

So instead, it’s best to stick to an outline. Write down probes that will help you stick to your subject but will also keep your speech casual and spontaneous. This will build interest and trust between you and your audience. Most people look for authenticity, and having a casual, on-the-spot speech is just that.

You can also avoid stuttering, slip-ups, and forgetfulness by doing so. Just take up some flashcards with you. Everything you want to talk about should be listed on these flashcards with pointers. Know beforehand, what you want to say about these topics. Then just keep glancing at these cards to remember where you want to take your speech next to.

2. Maintain Eye Contact

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It is very important to maintain eye contact with your audience while giving a speech because you want them to feel engaged. If you keep looking at your shoes, or at your slides, the audience will give up on you and pull out their phones.

Build a certain level of intimacy between you and your audience by looking at them when you’re talking to them. If eye contact makes you nervous or uncomfortable, then there are ways of cheating around it.

For instance, you can look at people’s foreheads, noses or – if it is a big audience – their shoulders. This gives a notion that you are looking at them directly, when in reality, you aren’t.

3. Use Gestures Or Other Visual Aids

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When performing a speech, it is important to show emphasis on certain things. The way you express something makes all the difference. For example, if someone asks you a favor and you say, “Sure!” in a cheerful way, they will think you’re doing it generously. But if in the same case you replied with a monotonous, ‘Sure,’ they might think otherwise.

It’s the same kind of thing when it comes to gestures. The gestures show whether you are exaggerating or being sarcastic. Your body language, movement of your hands and your facial expressions count a lot. Primarily because these expressions put your emotions out in a visual form. And when an audience sees how liberal you are with your emotions, they won’t hesitate in letting out theirs.

At the same time, having powerpoint slides to add illustrations, data or key points also helps the audience take note of things. Studies show that people prefer photos over text. That’s why it is important to have a small number of photos as background while you speak. This gives them a better idea of what’s going on and they become more likely to pay attention.

4. Add Some Humor

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Yes, even at professional meetings. If you’re going up to speak, prepare beforehand for a funny icebreaker. This is not for the sake of making your audience break into a fit of laughter. It’s only because most of the time when an audience doesn’t know you, they go very tough on you. So even if you were doing a good job with your content, it isn’t likely that you’d convince them so.

Having a tad bit of humor in your speeches will make your audience less hostile. Even if one person breaks into a chuckle, it will encourage the rest to lighten up as well.