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4 Ways to Improve Public Speaking Skills Without Public Speaking

Whether a seasoned professional speaker or just starting out and looking for a way to ease in, these will help

There are none.

Kidding. But not really.

Learning the art of public speaking can be intimidating. However, there are ways to ease into learning fundamental public speaking skills before formally presenting speeches or joining a specific public speaking group, such as Toastmasters International.

The 4 methods outlined below each work to strengthen the public speaking muscles in a variety of ways and are valuable experiences/practice for developing a well-rounded presentation skill set.

In other words, if you are looking to develop or hone a diverse set of speaking skills for any purpose (professional or other), any of these activities is guaranteed to help.

1. Take an acting or improv class

There is no better or faster way to expand a speaker’s comfort zone and skill set (especially coming from a formal professional environment) than to take an acting or improv class.

Public speaking skills practiced include:

  • Pushing the boundaries of the comfort zone

  • Honing nuanced voice and body language skills through character work

  • Performing in front of an audience

  • Perfecting the art of congruence (e.g., matching voice, body language, and words to convey the tone of a message)

2. Join a debate club

Until you have stood up and tried to articulate and defend coherent thoughts on a random subject while trying to appear unflappable from (sometimes unpleasant) interjections from a lively crowd, you won’t fully understand the value of debating for gaining a multitude of solid public speaking skills.

Public speaking skills practiced include:

  • Forming and delivering thoughts/messages on the spot

  • Using language nuances and subtleties to convey specific thoughts/ideas

  • Honing the art of listening before responding

  • Quick, efficient speech writing

3. Take a job serving

Serving is an excellent way to start out with small, frequent public speaking-like experiences that will help to gain public speaking skills and confidence quickly.

Public speaking skills practiced include:

  • Lots of practice giving short speeches to small audiences (e.g., today’s special)

  • Responding to questions in front of small groups

  • Using vocal volume, tone, and variety (especially in a loud venue)

  • Using congruence of voice, body language, and words to practice matching speaking style with the feel of the venue (e.g., reviewing a pricy wine list in an upscale, formal restaurant vs. describing draft beer selections in a boisterous pub or meal options at a kids restaurant)

4. Teach something, anything

Whether teaching swimming to small kids, or college-level content to a full lecture hall, teaching requires many public speaking skills and is an excellent way to both practices as well as hone the art of public speaking.

Public speaking skills practiced include:

  • Preparation and presentation of material using visual aids

  • Formatting information to be easily digested

  • Presenting to groups of varying sizes

  • Responding at the moment to questions from an audience

In summary, you don’t have to jump into delivering formal presentations right off the bat to start developing a solid set of public speaking skills.

The 4 methods outlined in each use speaking skills in different ways and are fun, diverse ways to practice and gain experience.

So, if you are ready to start speaking and want somewhere different to start, remember to try:

  1. Taking an acting or improv class

  2. Join a debate club

  3. Take a job serving

  4. Teach something, anything



What other alternative methods are helpful ways to develop public speaking skills?


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