Does public speaking feel outside of your comfort zone? With these public speaking tips you can powerfully impact your current and prospective life coaching clients!
You certainly don’t have to be a professional public speaker to be a successful life coach, but if you feel called to this extraordinary profession, public speaking is a great way to up your game.
Public speaking an excellent way to get in front of potential clients and, if you book paid speaking engagements, to earn extra income as a life coach.
Honing your public speaking skills can even help you speak more confidently and eloquently in one-on-one or small group coaching sessions!
Whether you’re speaking to 10 people or 100, if you understand how to engage and connect with your audience, you will be well on your way to inspiring them… and motivating them to sign up for a program with you!
Here are powerful public speaking tips that will help you make a powerful and positive impression on your audience
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #1: Make Eye Contact
In order to reach anyone, whether in a coaching session or at a public speaking event, you have to genuinely connect with them. Making eye contact says that you are fully present and will be speaking with sincerity and intention.
If you’re speaking to a very small group, try to look at each individual over the course of your speech, so that that everyone feels meaningfully engaged. If you’re a little nervous, it may be tempting to look out above people or around a room. But once you’ve made eye contact and feel people’s engagement, you’ll actually become less nervous!
If you’re speaking to a much larger group, it’s not always possible to make eye contact with everyone. But you can make eye contact with different people in different parts of the room.
Each time you look at an individual, do your best to complete an entire sentence or thought, without breaking your gaze. When you finish your sentence or thought, move on to another person from there.
When you make an effort to make eye contact with members of your audience, it’s like you’re having a real conversation with the group, which creates an exchange of energy and rapport.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #2: Smile
Smiling is a universal language. A genuine smile communicates warmth and compassion and also says that you are enjoying what you’re talking about! A smile says your engagement with a group brings you joy.
When you exhibit passion for the content matter, you will transfer this energy to others. Make sure to exude warmth to as many audience members as you can at a talk or during a session, but if you’re nervous, focus on the people who are positively interacting with you already.
Connecting with people who are visibly engaged – those clearly enjoying your presentation and nodding “yes” – will elevate your confidence, help you feel more relaxed and communicate more effectively!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #3: PAUSE… And Then Speak Slowly
When we get nervous, or even excited, it’s not just out heartbeats that quicken – our pace of speaking can also speed up significantly!
So believe it or not, it’s actually almost impossible to speak too slowly when speaking publicly. In fact, if your speaking seems slow in your mind, it’s probably exactly the right pace for your listeners. This is especially true when speaking at larger events.
Try including 3 to 8 second pauses at important moments in your speech, particularly right before key points or important questions. This will create a natural and captivating rhythm to your speech.
And when you give your listeners time to process what you are saying, you are more likely to connect with them in a meaningful way!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #4: Interpret Your Nervousness as Excitement
Have you ever noticed that when reporters interview Olympians before and after they compete and ask, “Were you nervous?” all the athletes give the same answer…
“No, I was excited!”
Olympic competitors are taught to take the body’s signs of nervousness – clammy hands, pounding heart and tense nerves – and reinterpret them as side effects of excitement and exhilaration.
So, when you’re speaking to a group, you can pause (remember you want to do this anyway!) and take a moment to notice what you are noticing. If you notice that you feel nervous energy, you can say to yourself, “I’m not nervous, I’m excited!” and you can begin to actually convince your brain of this!
As we all know, re-patterning our mindset is one of the most powerful tools we have for accomplishing goals, and delivering a speeches or leading a coaching session is no exception.
Remember, the more excited you are about what you’re saying, the more engaging you’ll be to your listeners!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #5: Thank Your Audience
Your listeners’ time, attention and energy are gifts they are giving you – and it’s important to receive gifts with gratitude!
Be sure to thoroughly and genuinely thank your audience for showing up, being present, trusting in you, and taking the time to invest in themselves.
Also be sure to express gratitude whether you are wrapping up an individual coaching session or giving a speech to a giant audience. Acknowledge that your audience members’ time and energy are precious resources, and for the time you were all together, they’ve chosen to dedicate their time and energy to you.
And of course, if an audience applauds you, thank them for this too! Gratitude is infectious and cultivates greater joy all around!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #6: Allow for Silence
Even the most seasoned public speakers occasionally find that they lose their train of thought. Maybe you’ve already experienced this yourself! When this happens, it can be tempting to want to fill those moments with “ummmms” and “uhhhhhs.” We feel compelled to fill the air with words.
If you do find you’ve lost your way on stage, it’s okay to allow for a few moments of silence while you regain your train of thought. You may think you look foolish, but in reality, you’ll appear professional, collected and confident when doing this.
The most precious things in speech are pauses. So use them liberally and don’t be afraid to allow for occasional moments of silence!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #7: Show Your Passion
What transforms a speech into something tremendous, magical even, is your ability to passionately believe in the product, idea or transformational principle you’re speaking about.
Passion simply can’t be manufactured. When you feel passionate about things you’re talking about, people in the audience will feel this!
So don’t be shy… let loose with enthusiasm while on stage and send that energy right out into your audience. Then watch as their eyes widen and big smiles light up their faces!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #8: Be Yourself
Your audience is there to see you and hear what you have to say. So share yourself! Be candid and real. Let them see who you are. Share personal stories or experiences so that your audience can see that you’re actually a real person, flaws and all. This will help them relate to you and trust you.
The best thing you can do in a speech, and what the most successful speakers do already, is to be the ultimate versions of themselves.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #9: Entertain Your Audience
Have a funny story to tell? One of the best things you can do while speaking from stage is to share a funny story, either about yourself or not, to get your audience laughing. A funny story or anecdote is a great way to break the ice!
Make your presentation so interesting, so entertaining and so inspiring that people can’t help paying attention. It’s not the audience’s job to listen… it’s your job to make them want to listen!
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIP #10: Answer Questions
Invite your audience to participate in your presentation, not just to sit and watch you as though they are passively watching television.
You may want to tell them to feel free to put their hands up to ask you questions as you go, or you may ask them to save all of their questions until the end of your presentation… the choice is yours.
The best presentations feel like conversations, even if you’re doing most of the talking! So always look for opportunities to foster that interaction. Answering questions is a great way to do this!
BONUS TIP! Anytime You’re On Stage, Even If You’re Not the One Speaking, You Are Still “On”
If you’re on stage with one or two other speakers (or more), if you’re doing a panel for example, it’s important to remember that the audience is watching you… even if you’re not the one speaking!
The audience is watching your gestures, the way you stand, and all manner of subtle aspects that your body language presents.
If you feel nervous, do your best to plant your feet in a comfortable stance and keep them there. When your legs are still, your upper body is also still.
Nothing is more distracting to an audience than a speaker who is nervously rocking back and forth, pacing or fidgeting on stage! So do your best to just breathe, and relax your body.
The secret to being a great public speaker is that it’s not about educating them… it’s ALL about how you make your audience FEEL
No matter how captivating your speaking is, most people will not remember everything you have said. They will, however, never forget how you made them feel.
When your energy and intention come from a place of wanting to truly help people, when it is clear that you long to serve and elevate them, they’re going to feel it!
So remember that at the end of the day, these public speaking tips are really about making people feel important – about establishing common ground, increasing positive energy, and motivating them to be their best selves. When you know this deeply as you speak to people, you are sure to succeed at reaching them!
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