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How to improve your speaking skills: 50 experts reveal their secrets [Infographic + Blog post]

I like building and growing simple yet powerful products for the world and the worldwide web.

‘How to improve your speaking skills?’ We asked 200 experts to give us their top tip on improving presentations, meetings, and speeches. We assembled 50 of the best pieces of advice for you, and it is entirely FREE. Bookmark this article and read it before an important presentation, meeting, interviews, or speeches.

Spiders? Cockroaches? Death? Public speaking? Which amongst these is the biggest phobia? Well, you guessed it right. It is public speaking. According to the national social anxiety center, 73% of the people are scared to speak in front of an audience. That is batshit crazy!

Another study by LinkedIn reveals that communication is the most sought after soft skill by employers. About 58% of employers want this crucial skill in their next hire. Therefore, your professional progress is highly dependent on this competency. However, most of us fear speaking in front of an audience. That is the bottom line.

It has been six million years since we existed on this planet, yet there is no solution to this massive problem. We at Orai are obsessed with solving this problem. So, we asked 200 highly successful speakers to share their top advice on ‘How to improve your speaking skills.’ We then combined 50 kickass tips into an infographic and blog post. Alternatively, if you prefer watching videos, then you can head on to our YouTube channel where we have posted video series: How to improve your speaking skills? Expert tips.

These exclusive answers offered by these experts will act as a guide to help you improve your meetings, speeches, and presentations. Some of their approaches might differ. However, you will discover an overarching trend. We suggest that you experiment with each of these and find out what works for you. 

These tips are tried and tested. And completely FREE for your perusal. We will not even ask your email to download this content. We think that this information must be available to all for FREE.

How to Improve Your Speaking Skills? Expert Tips to Nail Your Presentations and Meetings [Infographic]

how to improve your speaking skills
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1. Chetna Vasishth:

Founder of ChetChat | Twitter: @chetchat101 | YouTube: /ChetChat

“Visualization. Before any important speaking event, interview, or meeting, try to visualize the entire event step by step. This takes away the biggest fear of unfamiliarity. Visualize your introduction, think of the audience’s reaction, imagine where you are going to stand, what is in your hand, where the screen is, etc.”

2. Drew Badger

Founder and CEO of EnglishAnyone.com | Twitter: @englishanyone | YouTube: EnglishAnyone

“Begin with the unexpected, like a surprising fact or statement that contradicts conventional wisdom (but is nevertheless true). If you don’t give people a reason to keep listening right from the start, the rest of your presentation, ad, meeting or whatever likely won’t matter.”

3. Jonathan Jordan

President of Global Change Management | Twitter: @MinfullyChange | LinkedIn: Jonathan Jordan

“Presentation style is more important than the content.”

4. Vanessa Van Edwards

Founder of Science of People | Twitter: @vvanedwards | YouTube: Vanessa Van Edwards

“The best speakers hit a sweet spot of warmth and competence. It’s not just about being impressive; it is about being approachable, relatable, trustworthy, AND capable and dependable. Use an equal mix of stories, data, examples and take-aways. Try smiling, nodding, using hand gestures, and keep eye contact with the audience. The best speakers hit this balance throughout their presentations.”

5. Dave Kerpen

NY Times Best-Selling Author and Chairman of Likeable | Twitter: @DaveKerpen | LinkedIn: Dave Kerpen

“Practice makes perfect. Seriously, it seems simple, but it makes all the difference: no matter how experienced you are, practice before a big speech or presentation. Practice for a colleague, or record yourself. You’ll get better and better!”

6. Kathy Caprino

Author and Founder of Finding Brave | Twitter: @Kathycaprino | LinkedIn: Kathy Caprino

“Tell a powerful, compelling story about what you’re sharing and why you’re sharing it, that grabs the listeners and helps them relate at a very deep level to you and what you’re offering, and the key reason behind it.”

7. Anna Tyrie

Founder of English Like A Native | Twitter: @1_Like_A_Native | YouTube: English Like A Native

“Preparation, preparation, preparation! You can never be over-prepared for speeches. Being underprepared can result in you feeling nervous and out of control, which will impact your voice, body language, and overall delivery. Don’t cut corners, prepare and knock it out of the park.”

8. Alf Rehn

Professor of innovation, design, and management at University of Southern Denmark and Chief Editor at The Art of Keynoting

Twitter: @alfrehn | YouTube: Alf Rehn

“Great public speaking is both an art and a science. You can’t ignore the craft – honed movements, understanding timing, knowing how to use your voice, etc. – yet technique isn’t everything. Great speakers are both great at the craft and have a personal, unique voice and presence. So make sure you’re both the artisan and the artist!”

9. Victor Antonio

Founder and CEO of the Sellinger Group | Twitter: @VictorAntonio |YouTube: Victor Antonio

“Have ‘mental candy’ for everyone! Know the level of experience of your audience and include content that benefits all the levels.”

10. Nir Eyal

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Founder of Nir&Far | Twitter: @nireyal | LinkedIn: Nir Eyal

“No matter what the message is: Don’t be boring!”

11. Nancy Duarte

Principal at Duarte | Twitter: @nancyduarte | LinkedIn: Nancy Duarte

“My tip for remote meetings is to look at the camera. I scoot the image of the person I am talking to right in front of the camera to remember this. Also, make sure to show up with the right kind of emotional energy and the right kind of vocal variety so you keep engaging the audience not only visually but also auditorially.”

12. Theo Priestley

Principal at Theo Priestly | Twitter: @tprstly | LinkedIn: Theo Priestley

“There’s a big difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something. A lot of people only get to Step 1.”

13. Chris Croft

Founder of Chris Croft Training| Twitter: @chriscroft | LinkedIn: Chris Croft

“Involve the audience – ask them questions as you go along. Have an agenda, and regularly signpost where you are on the agenda as you go through your talk.”

14. John Basedow

TV Personality, Author, and Creator of FitnessMadeSimple.com | Twitter: @JohnBasedow | YouTube: John Basedow

“Think of your audience as your friends or fans, not your adversaries. They want you to do well, so they’re entertained and informed. No one wants you to succeed more than they do.”

15. William Arruda

Co-Founder at CareerBlast and Reach | Twitter: @williamarruda | LinkedIn: William Arruda

“Don’t repeat yourself. Most public speakers deliver repeat performances – like they’re Broadway actors playing the same role every night. Make each presentation unique and 100% audience-centric to truly captivate and make your mark.”

16. Megan Cunningham

Founder and CEO of Magnet Media | Twitter: @megancunningham | LinkedIn: Megan Cunningham

“Learn as *much* as you can about your audience before your presentation. For large conferences, learn what has been successful in the past from their ‘greatest hits’ or ‘best of..’. For more intimate gatherings, do a survey and request the bios/titles of your attendees. Really customize your speech to the *current* needs of your audience.”

17. Daron K. Roberts, J.D.

Former NFL Coach, Lecturer and Founding Director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin

Twitter: @CoachDKR | LinkedIn: Daron K. Roberts, J.D.

“Keep copious notes; I keep notes of the stories, points, and quotes that resonated with people during speeches. I create a ‘greatest hits’ list so that I have a core set of stories and quotes that will work for any speech I give.”

18. Mike Robbins

Author and Principal at Mike-Robbins.com | Twitter: @mikedrobbins | LinkedIn: Mike Robbins

“Be yourself, focus on what you know about, connect with the audience on a personal level, share personal stories…be authentic and vulnerable.”

19. Marques Ogden

Former NFL Player, Best Selling Author, and Principal at Marques Ogden

Twitter: @OgdenElite | LinkedIn: Marques Ogden

“Focus on the strength of your message and your desire to help others achieve success. As long as your heart is pure to help others succeed, you will always do and be your best!”

20. Barbara Bruno

Founder and CEO of Good as Gold Training, Inc. | Twitter: @barbbruno |LinkedIn: Barbara Bruno

“Conduct extensive research on your audience, so you sound like an insider who cared enough to learn about them and their industry before you addressed them. Also, whenever possible, include participation from the audience to help them stay engaged.”

21. Paul Salamanca

Vice President of Sales at SecurityScorecard | Twitter: @paulsalamanca | LinkedIn: Paul Salamanca

“Have either pictures on a slide or words/bullet points that remind you of which stories to tell. Easy to remember stories so you’ll never be left speechless.”

22. Marcus Sheridan

Founder of iMPACT and Marcus Sheridan International | Twitter: @TheSalesLion | LinkedIn: Marcus Sheridan

“The greatest speakers and communicators don’t try to ‘convince’ or ‘persuade’ their audience. Rather, they put their audience in a position to convince and persuade themselves. This is why a speaker’s ability to dig deep and ask even deeper questions of their audience is the ultimate key to influence and change.”

23. James Dodkins

Principal at James Dodkins | Twitter: @JDodkins | LinkedIn: James Dodkins

Find interesting and different ways to engage the audience and stand out. I include music and musical examples to explain my core ideas. You can use anything as long as it’s different and engaging. Just find the right balance between content and entertainment.

24. Brant Cooper

CEO and Founder at Moves the Needle | Twitter: @brantcooper | LinkedIn: Brant Cooper

“Always have a go-to story. If you get stuck, you have a way out in your back pocket. It provides confidence, so in the end, you rarely get stuck!”

25. Richard Foster-Fletcher

Founder of NeuralPath.io, Host of Boundless Podcast, and Chair at Milton Keynes Artificial Intelligence

Twitter: @RFosterFletcher | LinkedIn: Richard Foster-Fletcher

“Your audience will only remember 20% of what you say; your job is not to try and increase that percentage but to make sure they remember the right 20%. Repeat and reiterate your key points and remember to pause. All the learning will happen in between your words.”

26. Sanjay Sehgal

Chairman and CEO of MSys Technologies | Twitter: @sanjaysehgal | LinkedIn: Sanjay Sehgal

“Inspire others by doing things which inspire you.”

27. Nikki Greenberg

Founder of Women in PropTech, Real Estate of the Future, and American PropTech

Twitter: @WomenInPropTech | LinkedIn: Nikki Greenberg

“You don’t need to rehearse to be yourself.”

28. Damon West

Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Houston Downtown and Principal at Damon West

Twitter: @damonwest7 | LinkedIn: Damon West

“The three hardest words for people to say are ‚” I need help.” Be on the lookout today for someone you can help. This is what being a servant leader and a coffee bean are all about.”

29. Amas Tenumah

CEO & Founder of Better Experience Group | Twitter: @AmasTenumah | LinkedIn: Amas Tenumah

“Help your audience throw rocks at their enemies! Illustration. Works every time.”

30. Tony Horton

CEO of Tony Horton Industries | LinkedIn: Tony Horton

“You’re greatest obstacles will be your greatest opportunity to grow.”

31. Christopher Salem

Founder of CSR Group Holdings LLC | Twitter: @whealthteam | LinkedIn: Christopher Salem

“Have an image or statement that is compelling to them that relates in values.”

32. Doug Thompson

Host of Tech Story Podcasts | Twitter: @thedougthompson | LinkedIn: Doug Thompson

“Tell your audience a story. It’s the most powerful tool a speaker has. The story is best if it is a personal one of the speaker that they know so well that they can tell it in their sleep.”

33. Rebecca Brown

Founder of Think Wow | LinkedIn: Rebecca Brown

Always be you. Not only is being yourself ‘good enough’ – it’s the most powerful thing you can be. When you’re authentic, your passion shines through naturally, and that’s an unbeatable, beautifully inspiring place to start!

34. David Avrin

Principal at Visibility International | Twitter: @DavidAvrin | LinkedIn: David Avrin

People overthink the presentation and worry too much about how they appear to the audience. The audience doesn’t care as much as you think. Instead, focus on being the same person you are off stage and simply teach them what you know.

35. Kerry Barrett

Founder of Kerry Barrett Consulting | Twitter: @TheReelKerryB | LinkedIn: Kerry Barrett

For virtual speeches, look into the lens of the webcam. Avoid looking at the monitor. This helps your audience feel like you are looking directly at them. Calibrate the way you speak to the differences in a virtual setting. While the best practices are mostly the same, the methods can be quite different.

36. Akwasi Frimpong

Olympian and Philanthropist at Akwasi Frimpong | Twitter: @FrimpongAkwasi | LinkedIn: Akwasi Frimpong Oly

What you need for success is already in you; it’s a matter of believing in yourself, having the will to work hard, and never giving up.

37. Stacey Boerhns

Customer Experience Consultant at Stacey Boerhns | Twitter: @staceyboehns | LinkedIn: Stacey Boerhns

The key to any presentation is to look at people directly in the eye and to be funny. Handouts make your speech memorable. Answer questions to keep your audience engaged with not only what you’re saying but with what they’re saying. Use visuals such as PowerPoint presentations or even props so people can relate to what you’re saying.

38. Elizabeth Barry

Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Barry Consulting Agency | Twitter: @EBandAmarketing | LinkedIn: Elizabeth Barry

“Be kind and direct.”

39. Lindsay Boccardo

Founder of Lindsay Boccardo Training and Coaching | Twitter: @lindsayboccardo | LinkedIn: Lindsay Boccardo

Make sure your cup is full. Have a therapist, a coach, people who take care of you on your team. Then you can freely give without expectation to your audience.

40. Mandy Hickson

Former RAF Fighter Pilot and Founder of Hickson & Hickson Ltd. | Twitter: @MandyHickson | LinkedIn: Mandy Hickson

“Be yourself. The audience can see if you are not authentic immediately.”

41. Patrice Tanaka

Founder and Chief Joy Officer of Joyful Planet LLC | Twitter: @sambagal | LinkedIn: Patrice Tanaka

“Focus on putting your audience at ease, letting them know that they don’t have to worry about you. An audience will be somewhat on edge, hoping that a speaker will be good, so they don’t have to worry about them.”

42. Jeff Bonaldi

Founder and CEO of The Explorer’s Passage and Bonaldi & Company | Twitter: @XplorersPassage | LinkedIn: Jeff Bonaldi

“Know Your Audience! Before any speech, meeting, or interview, I spend time researching and understanding my audience. I then make sure that I am speaking about topics that align with the interests of the audience. The best speakers in the world are those that know their audience!”

43. Julienne Ryan

Principal at J.Ryan Partners | Twitter: @juliennryan | LinkedIn: Julienne Ryan

“1. Practice. 2. Test materials on “friendly but objective resources” 3. Approach your audience with a positive attitude.”

44. Kit Pang

Founder of BostonSpeaks | Twitter: @KitPangx | YouTube: Boston Speaks

Here’s a tip for running great meetings: You want to show up. Most of the time when we are at meetings, we might have our phones, we might be distracted, or we might be thinking about the future. How can you sit and pay attention to the people speaking on the other side of the world?

45. Gary Kayye

Founder of rAVe [PUBS], Director of the rAVe Agency, and Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina

Twitter: @gkayye | LinkedIn: Gary Kayye

Being present in the moment – Meditation and Mindfulness.

46. Alison Hadden

Founder of No Time to Waste | Instagram: @notimetowasteproject | LinkedIn: Alison Hadden

Stick to the rule of three for maximum impact when presenting. Introduce your three main points at the start, hit on each one, and then summarize and repeat them at the end to give your audience the best chance of remembering your content!

47. Jezra Kaye

Founder of Speak Up For Success | Twitter: @jezrakaye | LinkedIn: Jezra Kaye

Talk to the audience (or listeners) the exact same way I would talk to friends. You may want to say things a little differently, depending on who you’re speaking to, but your attitude should be the same as it would be with anyone you really like.

48. Dutch Martin

Founder of SpeakOrBeSpokenTo | Twitter: @damartin1906 | LinkedIn: Dutch Martin

Don’t just give a speech; tell a compelling story that resonates with your audience and forces them to LEAN IN, as opposed to SIT BACK.

49. Stanley K. Ridgley

Associate Clinical Professor of Management at LeBow College of Business and Principal at Business School Presentations

Twitter: @stanleyridgley | LinkedIn: Stanley K. Ridgley

Treat online meetings seriously. Dress for the occasion. Don’t think that you can afford to cut corners or wing it because it is a virtual situation. Appear for virtual meetings just like you would for a face to face meeting. That means dressing for it, preparing for it, genuinely treating it seriously, and observing all courtesies.

50. Robert Begley

Principal and Coach at Robert Begley | LinkedIn: Robert Begley

Leave your audience with a meaningful, memorable message.

We hope you found these expert tips useful and will help you progress in the right direction with communication skills.

What was your favorite expert speaking tip? Let us know in the comments below.

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