Become a Better Speaker: 9 Essential Public Speaking Tips – College Info Geek


Hey, what’s up guys? Today we’re gonna tackle
one of the most highly requested topics on this
channel which is how to become a better public speaker. Now, this is actually perfect
timing for this topic, because last month I went
down to South Carolina to give a talk at a
conference called “FinCon” where I talked about
building a YouTube Channel, something I’m pretty
passionate about, and actually this month
I’ll be going to Vermont in a couple of weeks to give my
first paid speaking engagement. So, speaking is becoming
a larger part of my life, and while I’m not a
professional speaker, I do have a lot of experience
speaking in public, and I’ve gained a lot of
insights and skills over the years through practice, and I want to help impart
some of the knowledge I’ve been able to gain to
you so you can become a better public
speaker technically, and also start to calm some
of the nerves and anxiety that you might get when
you have to get onstage in front of a bunch of people. So to that end, I’ve got nine
specific public speaking tips for you this week that can help
you become a better speaker. And, the first one is to pay
very, very close attention to your rate of speech
when you’re on stage. Most inexperienced
speakers tend to speak a lot more quickly than
they think they’re speaking, and it’s because when
you’re onstage you have all this anxiety and you
have all the material up in your head and you’re just
trying to get through it as quickly as possible
because the number one thing you want to do is
get offstage to where nobody’s judging
you anymore, right? But the problem is,
this isn’t YouTube. The people sitting in the
audience aren’t looking at a bunch of other tabs, and they’re not liable to
click away after two minutes. They’ve sat there, and
they’ve dedicated some time to listening to what
you have to say, so if you can slow down and give them some breathing room, then they’re going to
be able to contemplate what you’ve said and more
easily follow along with what you’re talking about. Also, your rate of speech
isn’t the only thing you can control to make
your speech better. You can also employ
strategic pauses to highlight certain points. Now, there’s a lot
of speeches that I’ve watched to study to
become a better speaker myself, but there’s actually
a fake one that I really, really like and want
to use as an example here, and it’s this 2023 TED
Talk that the producers of the movie “Prometheus”
put out as an advertisement for the movie. And in this TED Talk, Guy
Pearce’s character is talking about cybernetic individuals and basically his ambitions
to take over the world, but when I watched
this, i thought it was a fantastic piece to
study for public speaking, because he employs these pauses so dramatically
and so effectively. So check that video out
after you watch this one, and start to learn from it. Now another thing Guy
Pearce does amazingly in that video is my second tip, which is to pay attention
to your body language. And, this is important
for two specific reasons. Number one, your body
language forms a large part of the non-verbal
communication that compliments the verbal communication
of your words. The way you hold yourself,
the way you’re poised, your posture, the way
you move your hands and gesture to highlight
certain points. These all go hand-in-hand
with the words you’re speaking and
can help to compliment and drive home those points. But the other reason is that,
the unconscious body language that a lot of
inexperienced speakers have is something
that can harm you. We have a lot of nervous ticks. For example, when I was an
inexperienced speaker just starting out, a lot of
things that I would do, I would put my
hands in my pockets. I guess that camera’s
fixed right there, but I can try to
show you, right? I put my hands in and
out of my pockets, over and over again
while I was speaking, and I would also pace around
the stage really distractedly, kind of moving, and I wasn’t
really consciously pacing and using that to effect, I was
just doing it unconsciously. So these are things that you can control to both not
distract your audience, but also to help
bolster your points. My third tip is to consciously
try to improve your ability to make eye contact with
your entire audience. Now one thing rookie
speakers do a lot of times is they’ll fixate on one
section of the audience, and they’ll stay there
during their entire speech, because they’re nervous. But the problem is, there
are people over here, and over here, and your
entire audience are the people you are addressing. So you want to make sure you’re
trying to make eye contact with each and every single
person during your speech. Now, I know it can be
difficult to make eye contact when you’re already nervous
about being on stage, so you can employ
a classic speaker’s trick which is to
simply look over the heads of the
people in the back row, who are far enough
away that they probably won’t be
able to tell that you’re not directly
looking them in the eye. But, I do want to challenge you. The next time you
have to make a speech, if you’re feeling nervous,
and find it difficult to make eye contact, and you
want to employ this trick, I do challenge you to at
least try to make eye contact with a couple people
throughout your talk, because this is something that
gets easier to do over time, and it will make you a
more engaging, effective, and more human, speaker. Now, speaking of practicing
that eye contact, the fourth tip is to,
in general, practice. Practice, practice, practice, and when you think
you have practiced all you could have potentially
ever practice, do it again. The idea here is not to practice your speech
until you get it right, but to practice your speech
until you can’t get it wrong. And this is because, mastery
helps you to get you through any anxiety you’re feeling. As we talked about in
my test anxiety video, anxiety can actually
block your brain from making connections. So, the more of a concrete
grasp you have on your material, the more likely you’re going
to be able to get past those anxiety blockers, get the
thoughts out of your brain, through your lips, and into
the ears of the eager audience. Also, mastery is
important because when you’re getting something right in your
practice situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean
you’ll be able to get it right in the more stressful situation
where you’re addressing real living, breathing,
farting, human beings, right? So, make sure you practice until you know your material cold. Now on that note, you
might be thinking, “Well, my speech teacher told
me not to memorize my speech.” And in general, I do agree
with that piece of advice, but I want to drill into it,
and give a little bit more of a specific option on it. So in my mind, you
should not write your speech out like an essay and try to memorize
it word for word. If you do that, you’re
going to sound unnatural, you’re going to sound robotic, you’re going to sound,
well, like you’re reading. But, I do think you should write your speech out in
the form of bullet points, have the main points listed out, have any details and facts
and statistics and figures you wanna sight written out, and memorize those, so,
when you get on stage, you don’t have anything in
your hands except maybe a presentation remote or a prop, and you can recite the
entire speech from memory, because you know
your points cold, you know exactly what
it is that you need to communicate to your audience. Now, another final
note on practice is that practice works
for individual speeches, but it’s also something
that’s going to make you a better speaker over time. So if you feel like, right
now, your public speaking skills aren’t at the
level you want them to be, the best way to get better is to simply speak again
and again and again. There’s an organization
called Toastmasters, where you can get with
other budding speakers and people who want to
improve their skills and actually get up
and give speeches in a non-threatening environment, you can take a speech
class at your school. which I definitely
recommend you should do. And, you can also do
things that aren’t really public speaking, but
just things that give you performance anxiety. If I’m being honest, the thing
that has helped me become a better public speaker the
most is running my podcast and my YouTube channel. Because, each and every
week I have to create something where I’m
speaking to an audience. Yes, my actual public speaking experiences have
contributed to my skills. but I’ve done way more
videos, and way more podcasts, and those have
helped me as well. So if there’s
something that gives you performance anxiety,
whether it be dancing in public or doing karaoke with your
friends, or something, anything that gives you a
little bit of anxiety upfront, but then afterwards you
realize that the world didn’t end even though you did it, that’s gonna help
build your confidence and decrease the
amount of care you have of what people think, and
those improvements will all feed back into
your speaking ability. Now, my fifth tip is
also related to practice, but it’s a little bit of a
technical improvement you can make to your practice,
and it’s to do exactly what I’m doing right now. When you practice, take
a video camera with you and film yourself. This is what I would
do every single time I had a speech in college. I would go find an
empty classroom, and with my first few runs
I wouldn’t video tape it, because I was just trying
to get the material down in my head, so I
memorized it all. But, once I had
the material down, then I would film myself
doing each and every take. And afterwards, I
would watch the take, review each aspect
of my performance, and pick out the things
that could be improved. This is a huge upgrade over just practicing
for an empty room, because you’re not always aware
of the things you’re doing. Maybe you have a nervous tick, maybe you’re looking back
at the slides too often, or maybe you’re pacing too much. But the tape doesn’t lie. So, if you can watch that
tape, see your mistakes. You can know what to correct,
and you’re going to be able to practice more effectively,
and maybe have to practice even less than you would
originally need to. So tip number six is to know who your audience is. And by that, I mean
realize the people in your audience will most likely fall
into one of two categories. Number one, over here,
you have the people who are rooting for you. They wanna see you succeed,
they’re invested in your topic, and these are your champions,
like your fans, right? Then over here, you have the
evil people who are going to laugh at you, and
throw tomatoes at you, and curse your family
for all eternity, right? Or not. Over here, actually you
have people who are bored. And it’s not because of you, it’s because their
minds are elsewhere, they don’t wanna be there, they’d rather be off
doing something else, and whatever you do, if you perform badly, if
you perform really good, or if you’re more in the middle and just doing a mediocre job, it’s likely that
that’s not going to have much of an
effect on them at all. Now, you do wanna get the most number of people possible
into that former category of the people who are really
invested in your topic. And, that’s what the other tips in this video can help you do, but I want you to
realize that the people in that latter category, the
people who just don’t care, they don’t matter. So don’t worry
about what they’re going to think when you’re
creating your speech, or when you’re up on
stage delivering it, because that anxiety
isn’t worth it. If you get feedback
later on after the speech that you can use
to constructively improve, that’s good. But, don’t let it worry
you in the moment. Moving right along,
my seventh tip is to focus more on the topic
and less on the aspects of your performance, when
you’re delivering your speech, and also you’re preparing. I found through experience,
that when I’m really invested in what I’m talking about,
and more specifically, when I’m invested
in a transformation, I want it to have
on the audience, I don’t care so much about the technical aspects of my speech. I don’t care about
my body language. I don’t care about
my eye contact. I’m not even thinking
about it, because it’s become almost as
if I was explaining something I cared
about to a dear friend. And, I want them to learn
what it is that I know. So, the focus comes off
the nervousness of standing on stage, and addressing
a bunch of people, and it’s placed on
this is what I know, and this is what I
really want you to learn. I’m really excited about it,
and I hope that what I say can teach you or persuade
you to take some action. Tip number eight, don’t
have a stupid haircut. What I mean by that is, think about your appearance. Dress well, and try
to make a great first impression when
you step on stage. This is important because
of the Halo Effect, which is also known as
exaggerated emotional coherence. And it’s basically
a term to explain the fact that humansmake
split-second first impressions of people right
when they meet them. So, the problem
with this is that, well, maybe it’s not a problem, maybe it’s just a fact of life. What happens is people use
those first impressions to essentially fill in what they
don’t know about the person, and also make judgements
about what comes next. So, if you get on stage
and you’re dressed well. You hold yourself well, and
people are impressed with you, then they are more likely to
forgive any mistakes you make. And, they’re also more
likely to be receptive to whatever it is you’re saying. But if you don’t look good,
then it’s going to be a lot harder for you to convince
people of what you’re talking about and those mistakes
will be all the more glaring. So, first impressions matter. Then my ninth and final tip is, take a breath. Don’t think you
need to be perfect. Focusing on perfection
is the number one way to trip yourself up,
to give yourself massive amounts of anxiety, and to fail. Don’t worry about being perfect, just get on stage and
deliver the best speech that you can give. There’s a book I read
in college called “Confessions of
a Public Speaker” by a guy named Scott Berkun. I highly recommend it if you
want to get better at speaking. It’s on my essential books list, but there’s a passage
in here that really resonated with me
when I read it. And he says, “I don’t
want to be perfect. I want to be useful,
I want to be good, and I want to
sound like myself.” Nobody gives a perfect speech. Even if you think somebody
gave a perfect speech, that person can point
out all the errors, and all the things they wish
they would have done better. So, get on stage,
focus on doing good, focus on improving over
your previous performance, and then just focus on
that topic like I said. Try to enact a transformation in your audience and
you’re not going to care so much about your nerves
and your performance. So, those are the nine tips
I wrote down for this video. But, I do have a little
bonus tip of sorts for you. And, it’s to study people who
are great public speakers. I have a playlist of
videos here on YouTube, that I have been
building for a few years, and whenever I need to
make a speech of my own, I’ll go study some
of those speeches. and try to pinpoint
exactly what they’re doing that I’d like to improve
on with my own skills. So, in the companion
blog post for this video, I’ve linked that
playlist and as a bonus, I’ve also linked to some of
my earlier speaking videos, and just to forewarn you, one of the earlier ones
is really, really bad. So laugh at me all you want, I don’t care because
I have improved, and I just want to kind of
show you guys that practice does make better. Not perfect. So that’s it for this video, hopefully it helped
you out and if it did, I just wanna let you
know that next week, we’re going to follow up
this topic with an additional video on how to craft
great presentations, so we’ll talk about making
great slides and using story and narrative to
keep your audience engaged. So, if you haven’t
subscribed to this channel, you can click the subscribe
button to get notified about that video and
others in the future, and if you like this video,
click that like button to support this channel
and other than that, I will see you guys next week. Hey guys, thanks so much
for watching this video. If you wanna get new videos
on being a more effective student every single week, click that big red subscribe
button right there. I also wrote a book on
how to earn better grades, so if you wanna get
a free copy of that, click the picture of the
book and you can find those speeches in my playlist
along with notes and a summary of this video
in the Companion Blog post, which you can find clicking
the orange button right there. Last week’s video was
over some of the struggles I’m dealing with
in my work life, and what I’m doing about
it, so check it out. Also, you can see a pretty
cool skateboarding stunt in that video which
I enjoyed filming. And if you wanna connect,
I’m on twitter @TomFrankly, which is also my Instagram, and otherwise you can
leave a comment below.

100 thoughts on “Become a Better Speaker: 9 Essential Public Speaking Tips – College Info Geek”

  1. I use a lot of empty phrases while speaking. e.g. "more or less" or "roughly". I think they root from my insecurities. Usually I'm not aware of it but when i am it gets even worst because it stops me mid-sentence. Any tips?

  2. Hey Frank! Awesome video, it's very helpful, however I've been looking forward to watch that slides video you talked about. I'm proud of not making all-text slides, but I'm sure there are a lot of things I can improve. Thanks for all the info you put out there.

  3. Hi all, anyone watching this video willing to participate in a study looking into online tools for public speaking? Click on the link below for details: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YTPubSp

  4. If you become a public speakers, and you have several topics/interests that you want to cover. Should you focus on only one topic? Or should you do multiple topics?

    As talking about the same topic (ex. motivating students at school), would get tiring. Perhaps switching things up. But is that going to be a problem?

  5. Tom, can we fight? I need to punch you, but out of anger, technically and meticulously in a fair bare handed duel to the death.

  6. Tomas, thank you for every thing that you have been done for my listening english. you speach so very fast, and now, that I've heard you many time, I can understand what you are talking about.

  7. Excellent video with great info! At the end of your video you mentioned that you were going to be doing a video on how to craft a great presentation. Did you make that video and if yes, what is the link? I could not find it listed on your channel.

  8. 1.first impression
    2.body language
    3.slow down
    4.take a breath, doesn't need to be perfect.
    5.focus on content not performance
    6.practise +
    7.make a video

  9. I Tend to swallow a lot when public speaking. I don't know why but it just happens and I don't know how to stop it. If you have any tips on this let me know!

  10. I'm good at putting people to sleep when I make a presentation.
    I guess I have to speak less calmly and be more exciting. : /

  11. I found this video very helpful! I really want to improve as a speaker mainly for my channel so thank you so much for all these tips,including videoed and that book! That was awesome!

  12. I'm not scared of public speaking in my conscious mind but when I did my class speech I couldn't stop shaking

  13. I practice by speaking with my friends but most of them didn't pay attention to me though the end , what should I do? It lessens my confident.

  14. Rate of speech, strategic pauses
    Body language : hands, pacing
    Eye contact w/ audience
    Practice
    Don't write text but bullet points
    Film yourself
    Know who your audience is
    Focus more on the topic and less on the aspect of your speech
    Good first impression
    Breathe, don't focus on perfection

  15. Thank you very much. Although i have only given a couple speeches, i hope to someday have a podcast or the like of my own, and your tips were very helpful!!

  16. Amazing video, to me is so hard to make a speech, i'm too self conscient, thank you for the tips, im thinking about make videos on YouTube hoping it helps me with my speech and my anxious and self conscient personality

  17. I just recently found your channel Thomas, this like many of your videos are great! I'm trying to improve my speaking skills and this video will help a lot!

  18. Thanks I have to take a class soon for like public speaking and stuff like that (my mom made me :/) and hopefully this helps!!!

  19. What about presentations that are recorded? Some of these tips won't be as relevant as mistakes can be covered using cuts. Eye contact would be with the camera

  20. I'm that one person, interested but slightly hearing impaired that (I suppose) always looks like they are listening the hardest. So people tend to address me mostly when they are nervous and focus on one person. AND IT'S SO AWKWARD!! I'm just one person in the audience, please let me be! ๐Ÿ˜›

  21. 13:38, I am not going to laugh at you. People have no right to laugh at each other when they do not know how hard and struggle it can be at the beginning. Thank you very much for the important tips and please keep up the good work.

  22. Practice not until you get it right, but until you canโ€™t get it wrong. Damn that was a good one. Love it!

  23. How are you able to speak so accurate, clear and with such a comfortable speed? Has you been talking and speaking a lot since you were young? Did you engage in story telling and debate competition since schooling? I really enjoy listening to you. Thanks.

  24. But how do I do JAM? It's a thing in my school where you get a minute to prepare a speech that's gonna be 1 minute long.

  25. I'm in grade 6 and after about 5 weeks (because it's spring break) I have speech fest and after watching this video, I hope I can do way better than I did the previous year

  26. I love the halo ๐Ÿ˜‡ effect I think itโ€™s crazy! So true! Glad you broke got that up!!

  27. 5.6K likes and 34 dislikes. Who are these people who dislike?! Think YouTube should get rid of the thumbs down altogether. People clicking away is thumbs down enough.

  28. Just watched this again and saw you get 1M subscribers! I know I'm a bit late but hey, congrats! ๐Ÿ˜€

  29. ๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ–•๐Ÿฝ

  30. Hi Thomas! Thank you for all these tools. They have been really helpful. I was able to start over and organize myself efficiently. Now, I mostly follow you on The Money Matters podcast and I love it! You do a great job and love listening about beer too, although I am not a sour beer fan ๐Ÿ˜€ I heard about your work on youtube and I was wondering If you had seen the DirtyBiology Channel. I am not working in a youtube channel myself. However, I'd like to share this with you because I believe it is a great quality job and there is always room to improve. I understand that volunteers help with subtitles in different languages so more people can have access to the info. Also if you appreciate the job you can always tip it through the website tipee. I hope find this interesting! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sxy6ye_QzPg&list=PLl5zW0Z-tqm6SL5omJXkMxXwS8aJEZA65&index=10

  31. NLP laden presentation, subtext, or helping someone…good one to help to ensure success ? I prefer this memorization tip. Thanks.

  32. That was amazing info ty greatly; i just did a public speach for approx. 75 folks & experienced all the exact pitfalls you've expressed! You really know what you're talking about & i wish i would've viewed this before going in… Thx for your passion!

  33. Even with your "terrible" presentation, you still nailed it with research and content. I'm glad you never gave up. You're videos are some of my favorites, because they pack a lot of information in a short time period. It's plain to see that you genuinely care about helping others improve.

  34. hi frank. I was doing a sort of competition thing on public speaking at school. I watched your video as I was terrified of public speaking. I took your advice and I came 3rd place. I can't thank you enough this was so helpful.

  35. Thank you this will help me in making my Commencement speech for my 8th grade graduation and make my transition to High School

  36. I am hiring well trained speakers to earn $10k-$100k per event. I like way this guy trains the speakers and woukd like to work with you all here. Thanks

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