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Speaking in public and why it helps you in life.

Speaking in public and why it helps you in life.

Speaking in public

When I was in grade 10, I took a class called “Speaking in public.” It was one of the terrifying things I’ve ever done in my life.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a terrible public speaker. It goes back as far as grade three! I remember it clearly – I had a leading role in the play.

I was so excited! But the second I walked on stage, the nerves took over, and it happened – I threw up in front of the entire auditorium! How embarrassing! 

A microphone before an audience
@Kritidech aromoon /

And things never got better for me from there. Public speaking has just never been my cup of tea.

So why take a class that terrified me? Because I didn’t want my fear of speaking in public hold me back for the rest of my life.

What is public speaking, and why is it important?

Public speaking is exactly what it sounds like, the ability to speak in front of other people.

But why is public speaking so important, and why is it important to have public speaking skills? These are two separate questions with very different answers, so let’s take a look:

Why is speaking in public so important?

A woman speaking in public
@Africa Studio/

Public speaking is important for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to deliver messages to a large group of people.

Secondly, it allows you to motivate people. Public speakers are often people who inspire change in the world.

With good public speaking skills, you can better win over a crowd and help to generate inspiration and motivation.

Why are these skills so important?

Audience listening to a speech

If you want to motivate the masses, these skills are essential.

Granted, however, not all of us will become public speakers, and some of us won’t need to do public speaking at all in our lifetime.

But the skill is a very important one to have. Why?

  • Public speaking abilities look good on a resume and can help you land a career.
  • Public speaking skills help to build self-confidence.
  • Public speaking skills improve your communication skills. 
  • Public speaking can help to make you more comfortable around your peers.
  • Public speaking helps to boost your leadership skills.
  • Public speaking helps to differentiate you in the workplace.

Why is it difficult for some people to talk in public?

While speaking in public comes naturally for some, others have a really difficult time with it.

Shakiness, sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, anxiety, self-doubt – These are all things that arise when speaking in front of others. So why is this so difficult? 

Public speaking anxieties
@Keith Bell/

In most cases, it’s simply our thoughts that work against us. 

  • Will I mess up?
  • I’m not good enough!
  • What will people think of me? 
  • Will people laugh at me? 
  • Will I fall on my face? 
  • What if I stutter? 
  • Will people find me boring? 

As we’re preparing for a public speech, we let our minds get the best of us. Then, anxiety takes over, and our thoughts become more physiological.

Our palms start to sweat, our hearts start to race, and panic starts to set it. 

So how can you become a better public speaker?

Prepare. The more knowledgeable and prepared you are to talk about a subject, the less likely you will make mistakes.

Also, you have to remember, you can`t say anything wrong, because only you know what your presentation is about and nobody else does. So eg. if you mention something in a different order than you originally planned, nobody will notice.

And the more you know your audience, the better you will be to direct your speech and language towards them, so you capture their attention. 

Preparing your presentation
@Roman Samborskyi /

Practice. Public speaking is a skill. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. The first time will be scary, the second time a little less, and the third even less.

If it helps, try practicing in front of a family member or some friends. 

Lose the notes. When you’re making a speech in front of an audience, it’s okay to bring notes, but make sure they are point form.

The last thing you want to do in a speech is read word-to-word from your notes. So go in with in-depth knowledge of your topic and speak from your heart – not your cue cards.

Fake it till you make it. This is advice I always give any time someone is facing a fear. You know you’re scared, but the audience does not.

So if you aren’t feeling confident, just fake it! Stand tall, speak with intention, make eye contact, and your audience will naturally be drawn to you. 

Preparing your speech
@RossHelen /

You were wondering how I made out in my Speaking in Public course? I got 100 percent – seriously! And if I can do it, you certainly can too!

Have I ever used it? To be honest, no. I’ve never encountered another situation where I’ve needed to speak in public.

But I still carry these skills with me and know that I now have the confidence to command an audience if I need to!

Looking for more information to help you become a better public speaker? Check out these podcasts:
The Speakers Secrets with Edrico Ambrister
The Speaking Show with David Newman
The Speaking Club with Sarah Archer

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