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What makes the difference when there are several applicants equally qualified in terms of skills and experience for a particular job?  How does an interviewer make the decision about which one is hired? Although a potential employer will of course read your CV and investigate your background, the actual decision about hiring you will be based on the words you speak and the image you project during the interview. Your demeanour and level of comfort and confidence you display, and your ability to speak with ease and grace, will make all the difference. Therefore, knowing and mastering the elements of a good public speaker will be key factors in determining whether or not you are chosen for the position.

  • Preparation is key

Do your homework. Research and study everything you need to know about the topic to be discussed or the job you are applying for. Yes, you want to be charmingly impressive, but substance and concrete knowledge is the solid foundation on which your presentation must be built. Being prepared indicates that you are responsible.

Writing a speech takes a great deal of time and effort and practicing it takes even greater dedication. The more you practice, the more you become totally familiar with the material and the subject matter, thus the more comfortable you become and the more natural flow you will develop when public speaking.

This carries over into the job interview situation. Having a friend or colleague take you through a mock interview, giving an opportunity for you to respond to the questions you anticipate will probably be asked and having your response prepared, will enable you to relax and be comfortable as you respond to the anticipated questions in an interview situation. You may even want to videotape the mock interview, so you can see exactly how you’re portraying yourself and the impact you’re having – and make any needed adjustments.

Think about how presidential candidates practice for debates before an election. They are speaking publicly, and at the same time being interviewed for the job by the audience members who will then go to the polls and make a decision. This is a key example of how mastering public speaking prepares you to make a good impression during an interview. They are critiqued beforehand, and so can make the necessary adjustments to come out for the final presentation with a powerful performance. Being prepared is one of the top public speaking tips.

  • Know your audience

Making a public speech to a particular group should prompt you to know, based on the topic of your speech and the make-up of the audience, what things are of interest to them, what they have in common, and what they can relate to. Conducting research about your audience will allow you to touch on things you know they’ll take in and react to. These same techniques should be applied in an interview–prompting you to research the position and the company and its history–and speak knowledgeably about the topics they want to hear.

  • Be Yourself

Don’t act like anyone except yourself when speaking publicly. Honestly say how you really feel about the subject, or why you’re perfect for the job, and don’t be generic. You have decided to apply for this job for some reason–you felt this was the right thing for you, a place where you could make a contribution, based on your knowledge and experience, so focus on that just as you would when giving a speech about a topic of interest.  Impart the knowledge that you have in a genuine effort to relay information that is helpful and needed–so your audience will learn what you have to tell them, or so your potential employer will realise how much you have to offer to the position.

  • Enthusiasm and Energy

If you were to step up to a podium and greet your audience, you’d make eye contact and show that you were enthusiastic about being there. If you’re energetic, the audience will mirror it and become more invested in what you’re saying. This should be applied in your interview. Speak up with energy, exhibiting your delight and genuine desire to be there and be successful.

The same characteristics that make for a good public speech work well for an impressive interview: projecting energy, enthusiasm and excitement with a smile, while being relaxed and comfortable being yourself, armed with the sure foundation of solid knowledge, and/or your own confidence that you are the right person for the position.

If you take a public speaking course (e.g. Professional Public Speaking: Be a Professional Speaker course via Udemy) or get more experience in it, you will soon find that the techniques you use and the way you present yourself can be applied in an interview. Both are about impressing your audience and highlighting to them why you’re worthy of your place (either at the podium or in the interview), so master one and the other will quickly benefit.