Learn a New Skill: Public Speaking Like the Pros

This is the season of award shows—the Grammys, Oscars, Tonys. Some celebrities manage to make their award acceptance speeches sound both spontaneous and smooth, while others clearly struggle with unscripted public speaking. While you may not be up for an Oscar, you may be nominated for an award at some point in your career and be called upon to make your very own acceptance speech or give a talk to your company. This is the time to tackle your reservations (or downright fears) about public speaking!
What is the secret behind convincing, powerful, and effective speeches? The key lies in the careful development of an effective message, and a well-rehearsed delivery. While nothing beats experience in front of an audience, learning about the components of an effective presentation and what goes into one is a great means to immediately bolster your abilities. Here’s all you need to start preparing and giving great presentations:

Preparation and Design

The preparation and design stage is key for setting up the foundation of your presentation. It is integral to determine the context of your presentation; who your audience is and under what conditions you are speaking to them. Through careful analysis and structuring, you can hone a message that will drive your points home and engage your specific audience. Here are some great courses to get you started:


You lose a lot of credibility and your message can suffer when your speech is overshadowed by nervousness and mis-speaking. You want to speak in a strong, clear, and charismatic way to drive your message home. Here are some courses to help you gain that “aura” of a powerful speech:

Tools and Aids

Effective presentations are delivered through equally effective and appropriate mediums. Resources such as Powerpoint presentations, physical props, and other various visual aids can be very beneficial for drawing an audience into your presentation. These courses are a great way to get familiar with Powerpoint and other tools and how to use them in a presentation:
Overall, your ability to speak and present effectively comes down to practice. You need to know your stuff. Take some time to familiarize yourself with what makes an effective presentation and then go out and execute. And, remember, be confident in your message and ability.
(Image source: Grant via flickr)

This post is the fifth in our "Learn a New Skill in 2014" series. Stay tuned to our blog or sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the posts. Digest emails will be sent out each Friday. 

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