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speaking tips

Here are some great speaking tips:

  • Know your material. Try and speak about something that interests you and know more about your subject than just what you plan to say in your speech.
  • Arrive at the venue early so as to allow yourself time to get to know the room. Practice using the visual aids, microphone and other equipment. Get comfortable with the environment and make the space your own.
  • Get to know your audience before hand. It might be a good idea to greet some people as they arrive. Speaking to a group of friends is usually easier than speaking to a group of strangers.
  • Adopt a natural, conversational style of speaking, as doing so will make it easier to remember what you are planning to say.
  • Time your speech beforehand, and to allow some additional time for the unexpected.
  • Include personal stories and humour where appropriate.
  • Rehearse as much and as often as you are able to in the days leading up to your talk. Do so out loud, using the props and material you plan to use on the day.
  • Take every opportunity to refine and improve your speech during your rehearsal period. This process can serve to turn a good speech into an excellent one.
  • Think about your posture, your movement while speaking and your gestures. Let your body speak along with your mouth.
  • Consider the sound of your voice. Increase your vocal variety by adding light and shade to your voice.
  • As much as you are able to, eliminate filler words such as “you know” as well as the uhms and the ahs. Learn to use pauses instead. They will make you sound more confident and add weight to your words.
  • Relax and watch your breathing, particularly in the minutes leading up to your presentation.
  • Move to the podium with energy, but once there, pause, smile and count to up to three before beginning to speak. (“One-hundred-and-one; one-hundred-and-two; one-hundred-and-three”)
  • Start by addressing your audience. Doing so will buy you some time and should serve to help settle those nerves. Turn them into enthusiasm.
  • Ahead of time, visualise yourself speaking in a relaxed, confident way. Imagine your voice being loud and clear and imagine getting a positive response from your audience. Close your eyes and, in your mind, notice their interested faces and, at the end, hear their appreciative applause. This exercise will serve to boost your confidence.
  • Know that your audience is on your side. They will want you to be entertaining, inspiring and informative and they will want you to succeed.
  • Don’t ever apologise for being nervous or should anything go wrong. It is unlikely that your audience will notice a mistake, as they do not know what you have planned to say.
  • Focus on your message and on your audience rather than on any anxiety you may be feeling. Your message should remain central.
  • Let your speech represent you as a person and you as an authority on your subject.
  • Get as much public speaking practice as you are able to. Experience builds confidence.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your speaking needs, or simply make an appointment to see me. Together, we can make public speaking fun.

 

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“Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.” 

- Michael H Mescon