Introduction To Public Speaking | Ben Hawes | Skillshare

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Introduction To Public Speaking

teacher avatar Ben Hawes, Side Hustle Coach

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

    • 2. Ben's Experience

    • 3. Preparing Your Content

    • 4. Overcoming Speaking Anxiety

    • 5. Breaking The Ice!

    • 6. All About Body Language

    • 7. Connect With Your Audience

    • 8. Impromptu Speaking

    • 9. In Closing

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About This Class

Learn all about how to give a great presentation or speech in this class about public speaking! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Ben Hawes

Side Hustle Coach


Hey everyone, it's Ben! Your favorite side hustle coach here to help you leverage your unique skills and talents to find, start and grow your own side hustle. Take my side hustle courses here and follow me on instagram for free tips around side hustles, small business and entrepreneurship. 


Visit my website for 1:1 coaching services:

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1. Class Introduction: Hello, everybody. Welcome to this class on skill share, which is called thoughts on Public Speaking. My name is Ben Hawes, and I'm a learning and development specialists out of Start up in New York City and I do a lot of public speaking at my work. I do a lot of public speaking in my personal life, and I am so excited to teach this class so a little bit more about me. Let's get into it. I've lived in New York City for about five years, and I absolutely love it. I work in HR at a cool start up in New York City. It's actually in Chelsea, which is a 25 minute walk from my apartment, and I just really have a good time working there. I do learning and development, so I put on a lot of different training sessions at work, which has helped me with my public speaking skills. I do a lot of public speaking and presentations at work. I also do it in my personal life, but at work I'm able to really practice this skill. I have learned a ton about getting my point across confidently and concisely, and I am just so excited to finally be teaching this class. It's something I've been wanting to do for actually about two years now, and I'm so excited to be finally getting on here and teaching this class. So before we get started, I also want to do a quick little shameless plug. Please follow me on skill share because I planned to do a lot of different classes on this platform. So if you follow me, you'll be able to get notified when I teach new classes and then we can become best friends and it'll be awesome. So today's agenda We're actually gonna be talking about a ton of different topics, but they're all related to public speaking. So the first thing we're gonna be talking about is how to actually build your content and how to make sure that your content is actually good and sets you up for success. This part of the class is gonna be pretty brief, and then we'll move to the topic of practicing and talk about like should we practice? How much should we practice? Some people memorize presentations, and some people just know what they're talking about, and they can actually wing it. So how do you find the balance between those two things that works for yourself? We're also gonna be talking about dealing with your speaking anxiety. And how can you make sure that you're not that nervous when you actually have to give a talk? We're also gonna talk about using great body language and using body language to actually make your talk a lot better. We're gonna talk about connecting with your audience, and then we're gonna finish up with tips for impromptu speaking because I know this is something that people think about a lot, so please join me, click ahead to the next part of this class and we'll get started. 2. Ben's Experience: So before we get started with this class, I do have a couple of disclaimers because I think it's important to understand where the instructors lie in terms of expertise. And I want to say that I'm actually not perfect at public speaking. There are definitely times that I can get up in front of a crowd and I'll still get nervous or I'll forget what I'm gonna say. But I have learned a ton. I've learned so much in my last five years in my career, just all about how to get your point across and how to get it across really, really well and how to make things land because that's really one of the most important things. The next thing that I want to do as a disclaimer is I just want to let you know that No, I have not spoken in front of thousands of people and I actually think that makes me uniquely qualified to teach this class because and hear me out. I think a lot of the different classes on skill share are all about how to give Ted talks or how to speak in front of thousands of people and I honestly think that most people that are taking classes on skill share are not giving Ted talks and not speaking in front of thousands of people. And so what I want to do today in this class is really narrow it down to speaking in meetings and giving presentations and pitching things to your boss because those air really the topics that I feel most comfortable in. So if that's what you're looking for, let's move forward and let's continue in this class. 3. Preparing Your Content: Okay, so let's get started with part one getting ready for your talk. So when I think about public speaking and I think about getting ready to give a talk, I always think about actually preparing your content in a way that makes sense for you and in a way that actually sets you up for success when giving your presentation. So the first thing that I'll say in this section is that you should really just make sure that your presentation is super super organized. The more organized your presentation is meaning, like having bullet points and having slides that actually go in order, the better your presentation is actually gonna be. The next thing that you're gonna want to make sure you have is a clear beginning, middle and end. So what is your method for actually getting your point across? Think about this before you actually start putting together your content because it's actually gonna help you get things in order, and it's ultimately gonna make your talk a whole lot better. The other thing that I want to say about getting things organized and getting things prepared is making sure that you are very clear on your content and that will help you reduce any uncertainty and anxiety. The more you know what you're gonna talk about, the better you're actually going to do when you're giving your talk. Additionally, make sure when you're actually getting things ready that you give yourself the time that you need to actually create some clear content. Sometimes I'll be in a meeting and people will be speaking. And it's very, very, very clear that they just threw something together before they came into the room. They didn't practice. They didn't put something together that was clear and easy to access and easy to understand . And so they just kind of jumble around their words. They're nervous. They're not really sure what to say. And I will say it's very, very clear when someone hasn't prepared. So absolutely make sure that you put in the time to prepare and have clear content before you walk into the room and give your talk. The last tip on the section before we really get into some tips on how to give a great talk is used presentation tools to set yourself up for success so similar to how I am giving this presentation. Right now I have slides. I have things that are in place that are gonna help me understand what I'm going to say and are gonna help me understand what's coming up next in my talk. So the more you couldn't do to use presentation tools to set yourself up for success, the better. So whether this be Power point, Google Slides, keynote any of the above, just use something that will help you with your presentation. There are people in the world who can get up and give a talk without actually using any kind of tools. I would say that's like V two. That's like next version of you giving your talk when you're still in this phase where you're learning about how to do public speaking, you're learning about how to give presentations and get your point across confidently and concisely. Then I do think it's better to just use a presentation tool. Even if that presentation tool isn't necessarily projected on the screen behind you, you can have a piece of paper in front of you letting you know what you're going to say as long as you do really know what you're gonna say and just use that as kind of a guide 4. Overcoming Speaking Anxiety: Another thing I want to talk about as you prepare for your talk as you prepare for your presentation or your pitch is this anxiety that comes with public speaking. I do a lot of trainings around public speaking at work, and one of the things that people constantly are coming to me saying is that they are just definitely afraid of public speaking. And it doesn't matter if it's one person in the room. It doesn't matter if it's 100 people in the room. People are constantly worried that what they say will not be taken the way they want it to be set, or that somebody will reject their point or that they'll say no. And it's really, really important that people learn how to kind of overcome this anxiety. And the big thing that I want to say before we get started on the tips is that the anxiety might always be there. It's more about how you deal with the anxiety than how you avoid the anxiety, because it's very, very possible that any time you give a talk, you're going to be a little bit nervous. But I do have some tips on how you can manage it and how you can actually get better at overcoming this speaking anxiety. So the biggest thing that I've learned and this is actually straight up from personal experience the more you speak, the more comfortable you get. I used to get so nervous about asking questions in class or giving a talk to the rest of my classmates. And even in the beginning of my career in New York, I noticed that if I had to ask a question of an executive in a meeting, I would just get nervous. And so what you need to do is just practice, practice, practice. So as a practice, one of the things that you can do to help relieve that anxiety and actually overcome it over time is to challenge yourself to speak one time in every meeting that you go to because the more you ask questions, the better off you will be when it comes to actually giving presentations and actually giving tops. And the reason is that asking questions in meetings really is public speaking. Because you have to raise your hand, you have to come up with a very concise point, and you have to ask it confidently, and you have to get your point across in a way that is concise and that people will understand. And the best thing about asking a question in a meeting or in a public place is that you only actually have to say one or two sentences to complete the task, whereas if you're giving a whole talk that could be a 30 minute thing. It could be an hour thing. So wait A practice in little small, bite sized chunks is to ask questions in meeting. So any time there's a Q and a opportunity for you at work or in your personal life, I definitely, definitely definitely recommend asking at least one question, because that will super super help you relieve this anxiety. Another thing that I've learned about giving presentations and giving talks is that when you are giving a talk often times, you're a little bit concerned that you are not necessarily an expert on the topic. And if you don't think you're an expert, that's gonna create a lot of anxiety. So if you have the chance, think of talking to a group of people as just facilitating conversation rather than giving a big talk because sometimes people put the pressure on themselves to really be the expert and to deliver a lecture that's actually going to change people's lives. But you don't really have to do that with every talk that you give. If there's a chance to think of it as just facilitating and conversation, maybe getting participation from the group and actually thinking of it as a crowd sourced conversation that is going to feel a lot less pressure for you. And it's just a great way to think about giving a presentation. So the more you can do that, the lessons idea you'll have, I absolutely promise you another thing that you can dio to reduce anxiety when it comes to public speaking is making sure that you have everything you need and that you know where everything is. So things like your water bottle the remote to change the slides. Are you using a microphone? And do you know that that microphone has enough battery power toe last through your whole talk? Where are the screens and how do you control the screens and who can see the screens? And is the font big enough for people. The more you know about these little details, the more at ease you'll feel about the whole talk. Because sometimes the I t and the tech behind you giving a talk can really ruin the vibe. And the more you are able to control those pieces, the less anxiety you'll have. Because when you think about anxiety, the whole reason that I ever get anxiety, it's because I feel a lack of control. And the more I can do to feel in control, the better I will feel about the public speaking. Another thing that can really help you with anxiety is kind of coming to an understanding that nobody in the room really cares about your talk as much as you do your the person who created the presentation, you're the one who's ass is on the line and you're the one who is going to make sure that the conversation is happening in the way that you want it to happen. And so just understanding that there are people in the room or watching your presentation. But they don't feel the same pressure that you feel they are there because they want to participate. They're there because they want to learn from you, and nobody is putting pressure on you besides yourself. So if you are the person who has the pressure, you're the person who has the control and just understanding that nobody cares as much as you do. As bad as that sounds, it's actually pretty true. So when you put that in perspective that can help, you really reduce being nervous about giving your talk. And then the other thing is that a great opening line can really reduce your anxiety right when you get up on stage, because sometimes you'll get up and you just start getting into the presentation and I'll talk a little bit about this in the next section. But you'll just get up there and you just start talking and you're just be nervous and it won't feel like a natural start. So if you can get out there and say one thing that will make people laugh, you will absolutely win people over and you'll feel more comfortable yourself. So I remember one time I got up in a college course and it was a class on PR and we had to give a presentation on a project that we had just done and we got up and it was my turn to speak. And I started speaking and I just went right into it cause I was second or 30 in order. And I just started speaking and I got really nervous. I got dry mouth. I was shifting my body a lot, and I just kind of said, Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't know why I'm so nervous. I worked really hard on this, and I think it's really great. And when I said that line and people laughed, it really loosened me up and got me ready to give the talk. And it helped me get on the same page with the audience, and we'll talk a little bit about that, connecting with your audience in a future slide. But really, if you can get up there and just kind of like knocking out of the park with a one liner right off the bat, your anxiety will go down so fast you won't even be able to believe it. So those are my tips on anxiety and how you can reduce it when it comes to public speaking 5. Breaking The Ice!: So now we're gonna get into part two and we're gonna talk about actually giving your talk. So what are some things that you can do after you've already prepared your content? How can you actually deliver a speech or a presentation that lands really, really well with people and makes people feel really good about the content that you're delivering? So, like I said in the last section, you really have to get up there and just break the ice. If you get up there and you just kind of go right into your presentation, you're gonna lose people immediately. They're not going to know who you are. They're not going to know why. You're the person up there giving a speech, and so you're gonna lose them, and they're not going to be able to pay attention to what you have to say. So the more you can do to kind of introduce yourself or connect with at least one person in the audience before you even get started on your presentation before you get to your first slide, the better off you're gonna be. So I just wanted to give that its own slide because it's super super important 6. All About Body Language: and now I want to talk about body language because as everybody knows, body language is so, so, so important when it comes to giving a talk or a presentation. So I have some tips for everybody because I have learned a lot about actually public speaking and a lot about body language when you're public speaking and there are plenty of resource is out there online that I would be happy to connect you to if you wanted to reach out. But there's so much importance on body language when it comes to public speaking. I remember one time I was giving a talk and I didn't realize that I was doing this, but I was crossing my arms the whole time. I had my microphone in my right hand and I crossed my arms and I was just kind of talking into the microphone and it was so visually off putting that people just didn't relate to my talk and they couldn't pay attention to what I was saying and I didn't seem confident. And when it comes to public speaking, confidence is actually so important. So the first thing that you need to dio and I know This is not mind blowing for everybody who's watching this class but be open. So don't cross your arms. Don't put your head down. Don't kind of make yourself smaller. What you should do is make yourself bigger, make yourself more open, have a wide stance and figure out a way to really just kind of look as confident as possible. So one of the ways that I've actually learned that you can actually look more confident is showing your hands and palms. If you show your hands in your palms, people automatically think you're more comfortable and that you're more confident if your hands are in your armpits or they're in your pockets, it just doesn't look like your as enthusiastic. It doesn't look like your as educated on the topic. People just don't trust you as much, which is so weird to think about, but it really, really, really does matter. The other thing you want to do is sit or stand as still as possible. So this is something that I'm really guilty of, and I have to actually pay attention. Every time I go into some kind of presentation, I have toe literally plant my feet on the ground. Or make sure that I'm not sitting in like a swivel chair and just don't move. Um, you can move your hands, you can move your upper body, but the more you could just stay in one spot, the better you're gonna be. So no foot tapping, no swiveling in a chair, no swaying back and forth. All of those things signal to the audience that you're not really confident. And then you're not really comfortable giving this talk, and you want to make sure that you feel comfortable because then the audience will feel more comfortable and your message will be better received by that audience. I think sometimes we don't think about facial expressions when it comes to giving a talk. But you actually need to be very intentional about the facial expressions that you're giving. And I know that feels like a lot of work when you're trying to get your point across. But it's actually really important because if you're just sitting there with a dead face, people aren't gonna be able to relate to you, and facial expressions are a great way to get the audience to relate to you. So if something is surprising. Make a surprised face. If something is disappointing, make a disappointed face. If something is really, really exciting, trying to make a face that expresses that something is really, really exciting, you should do the same with hand gestures. So our bodies and our minds are actually really in tune with our hand gestures, and it's actually really natural to use hand gestures and to get your point across using different motions with your hands. Obviously, you don't want to go overboard with hand gestures, but the more you couldn't use your hands, it's actually gonna help you get your point across better, because it's gonna help you express how important things are or help you put things in order by using different hand expressions. So the more you could do that, it's actually going to be a lot better. The last tip on this slide is really hard for some people, and I've learned how to do it a little bit better. So what you want to do when you're giving a talk is actually look some of the people in the eye. There are some tips that will tell you to look above people's. I some tips that will help you kind of figure out how to not look in people's eyes. But I think it's actually really, really helpful to look someone in the eye and see how they're receiving your content, because if you can see that they're disengaged by looking them in the eye, you can figure out how to change that live. But if you don't look at them in the eye and you're not giving a good presentation, you're not gonna know that until you watch the recording later, or until someone tells you afterward that the presentation just didn't land well. So that's what I have for body language. If you have any questions about thes, please definitely reach our or comment below, because this is a really, really important topic. 7. Connect With Your Audience: the next thing that I want to talk about and I would actually say this is my most important slide is connecting with your audience because when you're giving a talk, you don't want to just get up and have it feel like a lecture where nobody is involved. You really want people to feel connected to the content that you're giving and feel like they're a part of the conversation that they're in the room to. So the best thing that you could do is really just connect with your audience. So I do have some tips here on how to actually do that. So the first thing that you don't want to do is find a way to actually engage with the audience. So looking people in the eye, um, actually connecting with them with your body language and with their body language. There's a few different tips on how you can do this. One of them is looking about people's heads. I've heard this many times. It doesn't really work for me because I don't get that engaged with the audience if I'm looking not directly at them, eh? So this is not necessarily something that I recommend, but something that could be a starter tip. If you're looking to kind of connect with the audience, the next thing that you can dio is used the eye color test. So I don't know if you've heard about the eye color test, but if you look at somebody and you're trying to look them in the eye so that they feel like they're connected to you, one of the things that you could do is just focus on what color their eyes are. If you look at someone and you try to see what color their eyes are, you're definitely going to be looking at them right in the eye and they're gonna feel like , bam! This person is looking at me. This person sees me and I am understanding their point, and I feel engaged in the conversation. Another thing you can do to help get people involved in your talk. He's use what's called the quadrants method, and this is basically a method that will help you connect with everybody in the room, regardless of where they are. So if I'm on a stage and I can see that there are maybe 100 people in the audience. I'm going to split those people into quadrants. So I'm gonna do, like, a top laughter top, right? Ah, bottom left a bottom right. And what I'm gonna dio is I'm just gonna look at the bottom, right? And then when I look at the bottom left and then I'm gonna look at the top, right and the top left, and I'm just going to continue to move between those groups so that everybody feels like I'm looking at them sometimes. What he will do when they're really uncomfortable is they only look at one person, so they are not able to connect with the entire audience because their eyes are just locked on this one person, and it doesn't really make the audience feel engaged. So my tip, this is something that I personally dio is I choose one person who I know will support me, and I have that person sit right in the front. And if that person sit in the front, I know they're going to kind of, like, not along with me, and they're gonna be kind of my safe space. So what I'll do is like every minute or so. I'll look at that person just to make sure that things are landing well, just to make sure that things were going all right and then I will use that person is my comfort zone. But I'll venture out every now and then. So that's really something that has helped me personally in my own quest to become a great public speaker. And then another thing that you can dio. I noticed that a lot of teachers do this when people are sleeping, and teachers are a good example of people who are good public speakers because they kind of have to be to get the lessons across when they're talking to their students. I remember in high school there would be times that I would sleep in class because I was just so tired from whatever I was doing the night before. And if I if I was nodding off and I was kind of falling asleep, a teacher would just say my name in the middle of the lesson. Maybe they would say so. X equals why Ben plus X y Z, or whatever it was, and it would wake me up and it would get any more engaged and I would realize that the speaker wants me to be in touch with what they're saying, and so they're going to call me out. So maybe don't call people out necessarily if you feel like they're not engaged. But it's a great way to make sure people are engaged. So if you're giving a talk and you want to make sure that people are engaged, feel free to use people's names in your examples or in your stories to make sure that they are listening and that they are involved in the conversation. And then the last thing that you can do to connect with your audience is to just make sure that you're prepared to answer questions from people. Sometimes I noticed that people will give a training or they give a presentation and they go right up to the finish line and leave no time for a discussion or questions. And that leaves the audience feeling a little bit less engaged because people want to ask questions. They want to have a conversation at the end of your talk. And the more you can dio toe leave that time to answer any questions, the better off you're gonna be so these are just some ways to connect with your audience. The biggest thing is, just be a real person. Be yourself and it will naturally happen. But these are some tips that will help you get there. 8. Impromptu Speaking: the last thing that I want to talk about, because this is something that I find to be just totally fascinating is impromptu speaking . The first time I heard the word impromptu speaking, somebody actually endorsed me on LinkedIn for impromptu speaking, and I didn't know what it was, and I googled it, and I found out This is kind of a skill that people have, where they can get up in the middle of a meeting that get up in the middle of a training, and they can just start talking and speak off the cuff and speak what's on their mind just because it's on their mind. So this isn't necessarily people who have prepared a talk, but people who are able to speak when they're asked to speak without preparing. So I thought I would give some tips on kind of how to best prepare yourself for impromptu speaking. Now, a story that I have from impromptu speaking is really kind of a funny story where I was at my brother's wedding this past summer, and I wasn't planning to give a speech, and I don't think he even wanted people to give a speech. It was a small wedding, and nobody really asked me to give a speech. But I was sitting at the dinner and his best man got up and gave a speech and he had prepared a speech that was really, really good and kind of talk to the memories that he had with my brother. And when he sat down, somebody kind of signaled to me that they wanted me to give a speech, and so I wasn't really planning on giving a speech. But I figured it seems like the room wants me to get up and kind of say something about my brother s O while somebody else was giving a speech. I kind of came up with how I was going to give this little presentation really on my relationship with my brother and how excited I waas for his wedding to be happening and for him to have a new wife. And so I got up and I actually spoke for five minutes and I got a lot of laughs, and I think it was really good. Some people recorded it, so watched it afterward, and I actually was pretty proud of the fact that I was able to get up, kind of off the cuff and speak for, like, five minutes on my brother and his wedding and his wife and all that stuff. So I have these tips that will help everybody be able to kind of do that because I do really, really, really believe that. It's an important skill tohave. So the first thing I would say is, if you have, like three minutes to come up with something to say, the best thing that you can Dio is come up with like 223 bullet points on what you would want to get across when you get up to finally speak. So this happens at work. This happens in meetings. Any time that I want to kind of get up and give a talk or give a two or three minutes kind of spiel on something. I always come up with a few bullet points for what I want to say. So what's the beginning? What's the middle and what's the end is a good way to model it. Another thing that you can do is come up with one opening statement that you know we'll get a good reaction, because if you come up with that, then the rest of it is smooth sailing because first impressions are everything. And everybody knows that a first good line is really, really gonna take you a long way when it comes to public speaking. And especially when it comes to impromptu speaking. So as you're sitting there getting ready to kind of get up and spring up and say what you're gonna say, just think of one line that is gonna just knock it out of the park. The other thing that I will say about impromptu speaking is knowing when to stop talking, because a lot of times what people do is they get up. They say what they want to say, and then they keep rambling about what it is they meant to say. If they don't feel like they land and everything they wanted to land, they try to keep piling on and try to keep talking just to get the point across. And it's really important that you don't do that. Sometimes less is more, and if you can get up and you can say something really meaningful and then sit down, that's gonna be the best thing that you can dio and the last thing is commit to what you're saying. Nobody likes when people kind of flip flop between different positions. When you get up and talk and you should say what you want to say, and if you're not getting a good reaction, you can tweak it a little bit. But don't back up and say, Oh, I didn't mean to say that This is what I mean to say It's just not as good of an experience for the audience. If somebody is flip flopping between what it is that they mean to saying what it is that they did say and all of that stuff. So just be kind of sure of yourself, be kind of confident The same things we talked about with the anxiety stuff. Just make sure that you know what you want to say. You get up, you have a beginning, a middle and an end. You have some bullet points. You have a great opening line, and it will be a great little talk that you give. Um, of course, if it's something that's a little bit longer, it would be great to have a little bit more practice But if it's something where you're just getting up and kind of giving a toast or getting up in giving a presentation that super super short or giving an update on a project, um, then these air some really good tips that will help you do that. 9. In Closing: So that is the end of my public speaking class. Actually have a lot more to say about this topic, So I would appreciate if you would follow me because I might do another class on this topic . And if you liked this class, I think you'll really like my next class. I also do classes on side hustles and how to get a side hustle up and running. So if you wanted to check out my previous last, I have a class called the Five Things to consider when you're starting a side hustle, and that's when my profile. So just head over there and you can see my classes that I have there. If you want to follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you can follow me at the real Ben Hawes. I'm always updating my profiles, and if you wanted to message me there, I would be happy to answer any questions you have about public speaking or about any of my other topics that I teach about here on skill share. And then you can always find me at Benjamin haas dot com so w w w dot Benjamin house dot com I have a blawg about professional growth. I have a podcast that you can listen to. It's called The Dream Life with Ben Hawes on and I'm always working on really cool things and I would really appreciate if you check that out as well. But the main thing that I want you to do before you close out this class is follow me on skill share because if you follow me on skill share, you can find all the classes that I post in the past, all the classes that I post in the future and we can just stay in touch that way and without further ado, thank you so, so much and have a great day.