5 Slightly Unconventional Ways To Practise Your ‘Public Speaking’
“I just don’t have any opportunities to present in my line of work”.
I’ve heard this multiple times from people I’ve coached.
But, just because you don’t *present* at work, doesn’t mean you don’t have any opportunities to *practise* your presenting skills.
Confused about that statement?
Let me share 5 slightly unconventional ways for you to hone your public speaking skills, that don’t require you to present regularly at work.
You should be able to action at least ONE of these straight away.
1. USE VOICE TO TEXT DICTATION
I had a client who couldn’t type (emails) for a few weeks because they injured their hand.
So they had to switch from writing emails, to dictating them (with their voice).
Now that might sound easy, but from what they advised, it absolutely wasn’t.
They mentioned at the start, they had to have multiple attempts at an email. As the structure wasn’t really there and they had unnecessary filler words.
But over time, they found the way they structured what they were saying improved, as did the filler words.
Not only did this translate to better and quicker emails. But, it also had a profound effect on their ability to present better and respond to impromptu questions at work.
So, if you’re interested to have a risk-free way to improve your ability to structure what you say and you’re up for the challenge that comes with having to re-do what you’ve ‘dictated’ with your voice, this is a great one!
2. SEND VOICE MEMOS OR VIDEO MESSAGES
In a similar vein, another way to get incidental practise in, is to send people voice memos or short videos (instead of text messages).
I will sometimes send potential clients a voice memo when chatting via direct message on LinkedIn.
With a voice memo, you generally don’t have an ability to listen to it back and re-record it, so you have to get good at getting your thoughts out well the first time!
This forces you to think before you speak and helps you to structure your thoughts.
Similarly, with a video message, it gets you comfortable speaking on camera and if you do watch it back before sending, gives you an opportunity to see (and fix) what you don’t think is hitting the mark.
So, if you’d like an ability to get daily practise, switch all your text messages to voice memos or video messages!
Or just do it for certain people you feel comfortable with.
3. WHILST READING BOOKS TO KIDS
Every night for the last couple of years I’ve read at least 1-3 books to my little one before she goes to bed. If you do the maths, that’s well over 1000 books.
I would never have thought they’d be a great place to practise your public speaking skills.
But now I know they’re an amazing place to practice things like:
- A slower pace
- Dramatic pauses
- Animated vocal variety in general
- Relevant voices for the different characters
- Exaggerated facial expressions
- Eye contact for specific parts of the story/book
- Adding in a personal touch, ad-libbing here and there
- Even allowing interaction (to finish the end of rhyming books as an example)
So, if you have kids, don’t waste ‘book time’.
Use it as a fantastic opportunity to practise your delivery skills!
4. RUN A ‘BROWN-BAG’ SESSION AT WORK
I remember the week after I attended my first formal Presentation Skills Course, I ran a Brown Bag session at work.
It was a great way to share the techniques I’d learnt. It also was a fantastic way to consolidate my learnings as well.
It also resulted in me running more Brown Bags, as I started getting asked to run sessions for other teams. In the end, I was actually sent by my organisation to China and India to run Storytelling Sessions for our whole Tech campuses there. It was such awesome experience!
It doesn’t matter who your audience is. Or how many people turn up. Practise is practise!
The more and varied scenarios you can get to put your skills into practise, the better.
You will learn so much from each and every talk. So it’s well worth it to set one (or more) of these sessions up!
5. USE AN AI-BASED ANALYTICS PLATFORM
Last year I started offering an Artificial-Intelligence based Speaker Analytics Platform (Yoodli) to all my clients. Whether they’re part of my Group Coaching Programs, or they’re one of my Private Coaching clients.
It means they’re able to practise an impromptu talk or prepared speech whenever they want (24/7) and get rich metrics over things like:
- Number and nature of filler words (e.g. Ums, ahs)
- Number and nature of weak words (e.g. Probably, I guess)
- Vocal variety
- Vocal pacing
- Placement in the frame, eye-contact, smiles & more
It also provides an ability for me to go in (if they share a speech with me) and provide time-stamped feedback over their talk.
My clients find it fascinating seeing the real-time feedback.
As a result, they’re more inclined to review their past talks, which helps them make more dramatic improvements to their delivery.
If you’d like to check out the tool I use for yourself, you can do so here!
If you want to practise your public speaking skills, but you don’t get to present much at work, go with one of these options.
They’re great ways to hone your delivery, with very little risk!
Q – Have you used any of these yourself? If not, which one will you try out first!?
P.S. If you’d like an opportunity to practise your public speaking skills in a structured way, with multiple opportunities to get rich feedback from me and other participants, you can do so in my Powerful Presenter Group Coaching Program. Over 10 weeks, in a group of up to 8, you’ll learn exactly how to prepare and deliver an impactful presentation. Plus you’ll get to present formally for feedback four times. We kick off Tue 14 Feb and it’s going to be the only live round I run this year. If you have any questions, send me a DM and i’m happy to respond. There’s only 2 places left at the time of writing this article!
Emily Edgeley is a Public Speaking Coach for the Technology industry. Since 2017 she’s run over 280 group coaching sessions, coached more than 250 people privately, and formally supported first time and experienced speakers at 10 Conferences, covering 1000+ people across the globe.
She’s on a mission to help anyone in the Tech arena learn how to speak with clarity, impact, and confidence, whether that’s at work or at a Conference. So they can share their ideas, build their brand and start to enjoy ‘public speaking’!