Whether you do a great deal of public speaking because you’re in sales or you’re a supervisor–or both–either way you want to get your message across effectively. You might be a CEO who simply wants to improve public speaking skills to increase your credibility.

As a speaker who has delivered more than 1, 100 programs in 48 states and five countries, I can tell you that 95% of the success of your presentation is determined before you present. Good preparation reduces performance problems. And one of the best investments of your time is to practice delivering dramatic stories. It’s a secret ingredient in improving public speaking skills.

Gaining awareness is also important because you want to know how you’re being perceived. Armed with new insights, this will help you to be better prepared for your next presentation.

Short on time? Here are 2 quick tips for improving public speaking skills:

1) Great speakers engage listeners and help audience members relate to them by telling stories and using analogies. People respond positively to vivid images and pictures. They rarely remember all your words.

Your closing is the most important thing that stands out in your audience’s mind. Why? Because it’s what they hear last. Your opening is the second most important thing that stands out in your audience’s mind. So open and close with strong visual images that relate to your presentation’s main message, and that connect to your audience’s needs. Connecting with your audience is key!

Another reason memorable stories are one of the best tools for improving public speaking skills is because you are involving the senses of your audience members. Narratives help your listeners make a movie in their heads by using appropriate humor, drama, and suspense. More than that, it keeps them awake.

2) Gain awareness. To reduce public speaking anxiety in the future, you need to find out how you’re currently perceived. Notice how people respond to you. In my public speaking seminars, I have the participants write down their  “liked best’s” and “next time’s” when they’re observing one of the attendees practicing a presentation.

Don’t be afraid to ask for honest feedback from colleagues you trust. Write down their comments so that you’ll remember what you did well and what to work on next time.

You’ve read just a couple of the tips I give when working with individuals and teams on improving public speaking skills. I also believe one of the most important ways to overcome nervousness with public speaking is through practice.

If you’re interested in a consultation (at no charge) to see if I can help you achieve your goals, please call me. My toll free office number is (800)323-0683 and (623)340-7690 locally in Phoenix, Arizona. Or, you can send me a brief email at colleen@colleenspeaks.com  Thank you.

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace employee management expert, award-winning speaker, and speech coach. She has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 articles on diverse workplace issues. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books. www.BounceBackHigher.com