A popular former New York City mayor used to start his speeches with So, how am I doin'? It was his way of finding out from his audience—the citizens of the big Apple—how well he was serving them. If you want to be an effective public speaker, you need to determine how well your message is connecting with the people you are charged to inform, entertain, motivate, or persuade. You need to evaluate yourself and let others assess you too. Then incorporate your finding into your next speech so that you'll improve with every engagement.

To get constructive feedback, ask your audience to complete an evaluation form that you provide to them prior to your presentation. As you read the responses, don't get defensive. You should be grateful for all of the comments because they will ultimately help you become a more effective communicator and speaker. Try your best to understand the comments that you receive and make sure you leave space so that the respondents can provide further commentary. Once you've read all of the feedback forms for a particular speech, file them. Then periodically review them to ensure that you've taken steps for improvement and that you've noted your progress.

As you strive for public speaking perfection, keep these tips in mind:

At some point, you may start to believe that you've hit your peak. Not so! You should always look for ways to make your presentations more interesting, more exciting, and more valuable for your audience. If you keep an open mind and constantly look for courses and reading material to update your skills, you'll always discover new techniques that will set your presentation apart from the rest of the pack.

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