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8 Public Speaking Tips From The Best TEDx Speakers

8 Public Speaking Tips From The Best TEDx Speakers

TEDx talks have become the new standard of public speaking. We can learn so much about presentation skills by watching these inspiring talks: storytelling, body language, voice — you name it!

Jonathan Li interviewed some of the world’s greatest TEDx speakers on their number one public speaking tip. Use these practical tips to improve your public speaking skills effectively.

1. Focus on one big idea

“People try to cram all their ideas like writing a book. Just choose one big idea and make it work.” — Caroline Goyder, The surprising secret to speaking with confidence

Action step: Ask yourself, “What do I want the audience think, feel, or do differently after my talk?”

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2. Share your real self

“Share a part of yourself honestly. You’re not sharing your perfect self; you’re sharing your real self. People are instantly riveted by folks who are willing to share their real-life stories in front of other people.” — Ash Beckham, Coming out of your closet

Action step: Don’t hide yourself. Share your real-life story with people. This makes you human.

3. Tell a great story

“A compelling story makes people excited. Prepare a month ahead and try to craft a compelling story.” — T. H. Gross, How to become more confident – lay down on the street for 30 sec

Action step: Tell an emotional, personal story.

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4. Share why your idea is so important

“It isn’t just about providing them tons and tons of information because there’s lots of information you can get on the internet. It’s about providing information in a way that they would actually remember. People will remember things when they know exactly why these things matter to them.” — Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance

Action step: What’s in it for your audience? Share the benefits in your opening.

5. Take your time to prepare

“I’ve seen so many folks who have an amazing piece of writing and they just didn’t rehearse it enough. They get on stage and read it. Or they concentrate on speaking accurately that they don’t sound very natural and the audience tunes out. There’s no shortcut. Put in an enormous amount of time to prepare.” — Colin Stokes, The hidden meanings in kids’ movies

Action step: Start with your message. Then move on to your personal story. Finally, write your opening and closing.

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6. Record yourself when rehearsing

“Audio record and video record yourself multiple times. When you listen to yourself and watch the video, you notice things that you go, ‘That sounds awful.’ Or you realize the story takes too long. You’ll never notice those details by rehearsing blindly. You have to sit back and watch the video or listen. The more you record and watch yourself and go through that cycle, the better you will become.” — Laura Sicola, Want to sound like a leader? Start by saying your name right

Action step: Record yourself on video, then watch the video. Keep what you like, get rid of what you don’t like.

7. The first 3 minutes are the most important

“Memorize the first 3 minutes word for word. Once you’ve gone through the first 3 minutes, you’ll be less nervous because you know exactly what you’re going to say.” — Bruce Muzik, The big secret nobody wants to tell

Action step: Memorize the opening word for word so you’ll know exactly what to say.

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8. Go with the flow

“Practice, practice, practice. You have to know generally what you’re going to say, but I certainly don’t memorize everything word for word. I know what I am going to say, I know the order in which I am going to say it, and the story. You also have to see how the audience is responding.” — Adam Leipzig, How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes

Action step: Practicing with feedback makes for great improvements. Get feedback from an experienced speaker or coach.

Use these pubic speaking tips to improve your speaking skills. Great public speaking skills will impress your boss, colleagues, and clients, as well as help you make more money and be more successful.

Featured photo credit: Acceleration Business City via abc-accelerator.com

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8 Public Speaking Tips From The Best TEDx Speakers Featured photo credit: How Richard Branson Gets Over His Hatred of Public Speaking via Business Insider 37 Ways to Become a Better Speaker Today

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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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