Just because you have amazing interpersonal skills, it doesn’t mean that public speaking is your forte. The atmosphere is quite different, and one on one charm may not cut it in a large crowd. There are a few ways to get your practice in to become a better public speaker.
Look in a mirror.
A public speaker oozes confidence. Confidence takes practice. In front of a mirror, read a passage that will help you practice your tone and pitch. What also helps is finding a public speaker you admire. Study their techniques and mimic them. Eventually you will adapt your own unique style.
Here are some tips you can take advantage of to sharpen your speaking skills. Practice speaking on any topic without using the word “um”. Purposely slow down your speech so as not to slur your words. But be careful with speaking too slow and seeming boring. Work on raising your voice level up and down to avoid sounding monotone.
Another method to use for practice would be to record yourself. Sometimes watching your reflection in real time may not be enough to catch certain habits you’d like to change. With a recording, you can play back and pinpoint what you’d like to improve.
Speak to friends and family.
Once you have developed a technique, try it out on a small group of family or friends. Not only will it confirm your level of confidence, but it will allow opportunity for a third party opinion. The more small groups you speak in front of, the more improvement you can make with trial and error. Be sure to “upgrade” your audience as your confidence grows. It is also a good idea to look for various speaking opportunities to see what genre you are strongest at. (i.e. radio hosting, party MCing, etc.)
Above all, practice makes perfect. If you continue to work on your public speaking tools, chances are you will find a voice that best fits your personality and expertise.