People from all areas of my life have asked me how to become a great speaker. What they really mean is, how do I become a strong public speaker that people don’t just listen to, but connect with, as well?

The truth is, I’ve asked myself this same question over the years. Like anything, practice really does help—and so does preparation. There are a few other things you can do, though, to jumpstart your success for speaking in public.

I’ve gathered my top 10 easy tips for becoming better at public speaking for this blog series, How To Be a Great Speaker. With each tip, I’ll explore in detail how to become a confident, effective and powerful speaker.

You’ll have your audience captivated in no time!

Tip 1: Be a Storyteller.

Start every speech with a story. Not a story that you need to think about or look at notes in order to know, but a real life story. People like listening to someone who is authentic and gives them a glimpse into their lives. The best speeches I have given have been when I spoke from the heart and related things back to my life and my struggles. You can typically keep the attention of the audience if you do this. Also, if you are not looking at notes, you can make eye contact —a key for success!

Storytelling allows the audience to engage with you on a personal level, and in return, they’ll trust what you have to say next. Powerful public speaking begins when you get personal…so don’t be afraid to show your audience who you real-ly are!