Public speaking is the single greatest fear amongst people. It is feared more than heights, snakes, or any of the other top sources of stress and anxiety.
As a politician, you have no choice but to be as proficient as possible in your public speaking skills in order to communicate your messages and stances on important issues to those of which you intend to achieve their support.
The following is the complete list of public speaking skills necessary to make you a great public speaker, turning your platform into something that can be understood and accepted by as many people as possible.
Top 6 Most Important Public Speaking Skills
You should exude a sense of extreme confidence with everything that you say to people on a public forum.This confidence will translate directly to those you want to reach and give them a sense of security that your message is legitimate and worthy of the time they spend listening to you.
You may have a message that will truly help countless amounts of people, but if you do not show confidence and conviction in the words you are speaking, the sense of insecurity will be felt by your listeners. If you aren’t confident in your speech, those that hear it certainly won’t have confidence that they can trust your message.
A great way to achieve this much-needed confidence is to constantly practice your speeches alone and then to increase significant numbers of people who are willing to give you constructive criticism to improve your sense of confidence.
As long as you are truly excited about your message and believe in what you are saying, you can allow your excitement to overpower any sense of nervousness or hesitancy you may feel.
As long as you are yourself when you are speaking, this authenticity will be exuded to the public who will grow fond of you as a person and couldn’t care less if you fumble over a word or two.
Practice But Do Not Memorize
This may seem counter intuitive at first glance, but studies have shown that forcing one self to memorize every word of a speech brings with it much unnecessary pressure that can create more problems than good.
Memorizing every single word in order can lead to a whole variety of issues that will only add stress.
For example, if you are going through the motions and reciting your rehearsed monologue word byword, you could run into a mental blank where you forget the next line. This can create a domino effect of anxiety that can cause you to completely lose your entire train of thought.
By completely memorizing your speech, you are focusing too much on the words than the actual message you are trying to deliver. It becomes a mechanical process that strips you of your personality and enthusiasm towards your message.
Instead of memorizing every line of your talk, you should instead focus on remembering your key points and central ideas that create your platform.
Let’s say that your speech is focused on improving the lives of the people you are looking to represent on a personal level. You can break down your stances into the physical, mental, and emotional.
When rehearsing the mental health improvements that you think should be enforced in your district, try to come up with different ways of reciting your plans. Your central theme is to decrease issues related to stress, anxiety, depression, and other forms of mental illness. The goal will not change, but the rhetoric used can be altered to fit as many people as possible.
At the end of the day, it is your intent and goals that are most important and not the words that you use. Frequent supporters of yours that attend multiple speeches will be glad to see that your words are ever-changing.
The goal here is to sound less like a robot and more like someone with actual convictions that are honestly intended to help people. This will also allow you to make more eye contact with your viewers and develop a connection with them instead of looking down at your notes frequently and worrying about the next word you’re supposed to say.
This may seem like a pretty simple and obvious trait to have, but it is truly a skill in every sense of the word. Politicians so often lose focus on being an actual person and become a walking billboard for their platforms.
At the end of the day, people want to be able to connect with those of which are looking to represent their best interests. It becomes very clear early on in one’s campaign if he or she is a genuine person and not just another talking head that is worried more about fitting into the box that makes a politician.
You should allow your personality and beliefs to shine through in everything that you say. If at any point, you are uncomfortable with what you plan on saying to people, then don’t say it.
Everything that you do as a politician should come naturally. If you have even a semblance of inhibition or uneasiness with any aspect of your central goals, you should throw them away. If you cannot fully endorse everything that you say, you cannot expect others to.
Throw away any preconceived notions of what you think a politician is and just focus instead on being a good person who wants to use your position to help as many people as possible.
There is little more frustrating in the world of politics than listening to a politician that sounds like everything that they say is completely rehearsed. This monotonous tone and inflection immediately come off as insincere to anyone that hears it. Part of this robotic cadence can be attributed to nervousness.
When speaking to the public, you should be focused on treating it like a conversation you are having with your friends and those of which you hold in high regard. If you are truly in politics for the right reasons, the people that you are trying to reach should be considered your friends or at least people who you genuinely care about.
Speak to them just as you would with friends or family. The people just want honesty and respect. They know when something sounds rehearsed and not heartfelt. To better prepare you for talking to large amounts of people in an honest and natural way, start out by giving talks to your friends and family.
Focus on your ideas and key points instead of memorized lines. Allow these central ideas to flow into your head naturally just as the talking points come naturally during a conversation.
We don’t get nervous when talking about sports or the weather and we should get nervous when speaking from the heart on matters that are important to incite change.
Connect with Your Audience
When giving your speech or public talk, you should make sure that you have time allotted for your audience to join in on your points to create a conversation.
This may seem out of bounds since all that you ever seem to see anymore are one-sided talks by politicians who lecture this listening on their talking points without ever checking in on their audiences.
This is the norm, but it doesn’t mean that it is right. It certainly doesn’t mean that you have to follow this norm.
Your aspirations are to represent the best interests of the people, and you will never be able to truly do so if you do not gain insight into what they are thinking or feeling. If say you have a predetermined 30 minutes for a speech,ensure that you have at least 20 minutes to answer questions and more importantly relate to what your viewers are saying and thank them for their contributions.
Let’s say for example that you are giving a talk on the current state of your district’s efforts in preventing global warming. You have already delivered your speech in an economical manner, allowing those present for the speech time to add in their feelings.
One viewer mentions that something should be done about the local power plant that has been rumored to dump waste products in a local lake.
You should not only agree in the manner but should ask him/her about what they think should be done in order to rectify the situation. Thank them for their input and respond with what you are going to do to fix the problem and let them know that their opinions will be utilized during the forthcoming action.
Become a Storyteller
Your speech shouldn’t sound like a speech at all. It should have the format of a story that people want to hear and cannot wait to learn more of. A memorized speech will not only come off as such but will bore people to the point that they begin to zone you out early and often.
Whenever possible, you should add in personal stories that relate to the topic of the speech directly. By adding in a personal narrative, you are allowing the viewers of your speech to not only learn more about you but are adding in a human element that they can relate to.
Ensure that your personal story tied to the subject of your speech adds to the narrative and doesn’t take away from the central idea you are trying to convey in the body of your speech.
Even if your story doesn’t allow others to relate directly to whatever you have gone through, you can add in a moral or theme that will work as an all-encompassing tool.
Let’s say for example that the body of your speech dealt with responding to the need for more of a focus on issues of mental health.
You could begin your personal narrative by discussing a time in your life when you dealt with depression and the steps you took to overcome it.
If you’ve never experienced any level of mental health instability, you could bring up a close friend or family member that went through a troubling experience or you could talk about a time when you helped someone who came to you for help through companionship. By doing so, you are showing to the people that you can directly relate to the issue and show right then and there why the correction of the problem means so much to you.
After telling this story, you can add in themes of perseverance and hope to indicate that issues with mental health can be alleviated with the help of love and compassion from others.
You never want to end a speech on a low note, so whenever you bring up a sensitive matter to any group of people, you want to provide a solution that alleviates said issue.
Telling a story that centers around a central problem and then following it up with a solution will create the sense that you will do the same with all issues that you come across during your time in office.
Key Takeaways on the Best Public Speaking Skills
Without the ability to speak publicly, you will never be able to reach the office you have your sights set on as a politician.
A well thought out speech is the most efficient method of both connecting with your audience and proving your worth to all potential voters.
You shouldn’t focus on memorizing lines for your speech as those who are listening will quickly pick up that it is rehearsed. You should instead have the perfect logical order of your talking points laid out in an ordered map in your head.These central themes will allow you to use them as a reference to allow the words to come out naturally just as you would with any standard conversation outside of the campaign trail.
One of the most important public speaking skills you need is to just be yourself and speak from the heart. It will not only benefit you in the long run but will provide a breath of fresh air in the form of positivity that seems to be all but lost these days.