Tips for public speaking

Public speaking, to say the least, is not a skill that we all share equally, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn it, develop it, and eventually master it. You don’t have to be the most charismatic person in the world, nor do you have to have the honeycomb voice of a late night radio presenter – all you have to do is try.

And with a little help from ourselves, you can start trying right now.

Here are some tips for better public speaking:

  1. It’s normal to be nervous.

It’s easier said than done when someone says “don’t let your nerves get the better of you”, in fact, it’s very difficult to fend off those very same nerves. However, you have to remember that this is normal, and even the most skilled public speakers get nervous.

  1. Ditch the script.

While it’s always helpful to keep some notes on hand, it’s better if you don’t try to read every word off of a pre-written script. You’ll find it difficult to maintain eye-contact with the audience and it can really throw you off balance if you don’t read a word exactly as it appears on your script. Let the speech come as naturally as possible.

  1. Grab attention from the beginning.

Start your talk with an interesting fact, a funny anecdote, or anything that isn’t “Hello, my talk is about…”

  1. Consider your closing statement.

Once you’ve grabbed their attention and have kept them hanging on your every word, you’re going to need to close with something powerful. Wrap up your speech with something that hammers home your point, or raises an interesting question. But whatever you do – make it count.

  1. Understand your audience.

It goes without saying, but who your audience are will largely influence how they will react to the content of your speech or talk, so make sure it is tailored to them. For instance, your work colleagues will appreciate a short and concise speech so they can go back to work with clear intentions, but you can afford to add in a few funny quips and some more personal dialogue if you’re speaking to your book club.

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We hope you walk away from this blog with some more confidence and a renewed charge for public speaking. This is a skill that can be learned, and you don’t have to be naturally charismatic to excel at it.