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7 Top Tips for Public Speaking

By Garrett Spence   |    February 27, 2018   |    10:39 AM

Tips for Engaging and Confident Public Speaking

Any public speaking event has the potential to cause stress, and when you get stressed, you may mumble, mispronounce words, blush, fidget or engage in other behaviours that reveal your anxiety. However, this need not be the case. This article will teach you some basic tips and tricks for engaging and confident public speaking.

Breathe deeply before and during your presentation or other public speaking events. This will quell any nervousness. Some people find it useful to briefly meditate prior to public speaking; others prefer a cup of chamomile tea to calm the nerves. Whatever your preference, make sure you feel calm and cool.

Once you commence speaking, remember to articulate. Use your tongue, move your mouth and make each word distinct. Your words to have power, and they need to be clear. The worst thing is to mumble during public speaking. You should also modulate your tone and change your rhythm. If you speak in a monotone fashion at the same speed, everyone will be bored very soon.

Be confident about your message. Don’t fidget, or speak with your head pointed downwards. Instead, be confident about your message and exude this with good posture, instead of hunching or trying to disappear behind your hair, stand straight and tall during public speaking.

Reach out to your audience. Make eye contact with your public, they will surely encourage you. You may wish to ask some of your audience members some questions, to further engage them or simply ask them to pause and reflect upon an idea briefly.

Practice makes perfect! Before engaging in any public speaking, you need to know your material inside out and you need to practice out loud. It is not sufficient to simply browse your notes, or think you can get away with reading out the words on your powerpoint slides. Find an audience to practice on. This could be a spouse, a friend, or even your dog! A friend or colleague can give you useful feedback, help you to clarify a section of your presentation or alter it to fit their advice and is a useful way of preparing your material. You might also wish to video record or voice record your presentation so that you can analyze yourself and see where there is room for improvement.

Get familiar with your surroundings, or the venue set up, ahead of time. Arriving early to the venue where you are speaking and testing out the microphone and setting up any visual aids is vital. If you are presenting online you should also set up ahead of time, test your webcam, make sure that you have a glass of water nearby and clear the space of clutter.  Wherever it is that you are public speaking, you should be ready ahead of time, so that you can make any last minute changes necessary so that this does not add to your anxiety.

Don’t forget to smile. Although you may be nervous, there is no need to become an automaton. Cracking a few jokes, smiling at your audience and treating them like human beings, will allow you to relax and enjoy your experience.

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