10 Resources to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

At some point in your career, you’re likely to need to do some kind of public speaking, even if that simply means presenting in front of your team. And if you enjoy doing it, you can skip this post (just kidding! There’s always room for improvement, right?).

If you’re like most people, though, it’s probably something you dread. Improving your skills in this area and gaining confidence in yourself can help get rid of some of those jitters, and it comes with the bonus of making you sound more authoritative on any subject.

To help you get started, here are my 10 favorite resources for improving your public speaking skills (none of which involve imagining everyone in their underwear).

  1. Everything I Know About Presentations, I Learned in Theatre School”, an article by Darren Barefoot, focuses on embracing the theatrical nature of all presentations and harnessing the power of anecdotes and metaphors to keep your audience’s attention.
  2. The Accidental Communicator, a blog by Dr. Jim Anderson, focuses on getting your point across to technical and non-technical audiences in a manner that engages everyone. His lessons can be applied to anything from team presentations to one-on-one staff meetings to, most recently, delivering bad news.
  3. If you’re an introvert, check out Susan Cain’s article “10 Public Speaking Tips for Introverts”, which focuses on the importance of communication, physical preparation with regards to your space, understanding your weaknesses, and exuding confidence even when you don’t feel particularly confident.
  4. Check out the Toastmasters International website. There, you can find a video library with tips on anything and everything public speaking, as well as information on how to find a local chapter where you can meet others looking to practice their public speaking skills.
  5. The website of a public speaking practicum from Harvard includes handouts from the class and a list of helpful resources.
  6. There are two great online speech banks (TED Talks and American Rhetoric) that you can watch to gain perspective on what good public speaking looks like. Pay attention to body language, inflection, pace, etc.
  7. In a presentation at Google, Scott Berkun reviewed how public speakers can modify those aspects of an environment that are within his or her control, ideas for getting your audience interested in what you have to say, and the necessity of practice.
  8. Four Hour Work Week author Tim Ferriss’ blog is full of great information, but one particular post, “Public Speaking—How I Prepare Every Time”, not only gives you a bit of insight into his speech prep, but also breaks down his popular point-example-point speaking format.
  9. Six Minutes is a website dedicated to enhancing public speaking skills. It has a plethora of articles and speech critique videos to help you prepare and perfect any presentation.
  10. GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler has a series of short lessons over at GovLoop Academy for enhancing your public speaking skills,with topics ranging from keeping your remarks brief to knowing your material to having fun.

What resources have you used to improve your public speaking skills?

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