Public speaking can strike fear into some people, whereas others seem to take it in their stride so we have outlined below some public speaking tips. However let’s look at the different areas of public speaking first and identify what makes a good public speaker.

Public speaking is a skill that can be learned and as with most things, practice does make perfect. Use public speaking tips to enable you to progress into an effective public speaker. Preparation is key for any public appearance. How much you prepare is up to you, depending upon how much experience you have had and how well you know the topic and the audience.

Address Your Fear

In order to master the art of public speaking you should start by looking at how anxious and scared it makes you feel. Do you have nightmares or can’t get to sleep the night before a speech? If your anxiety is high, you will obviously be nervous from the start and the fear alone can cripple some people. But we need to start by understanding that public speaking itself is nothing to be frightened of. Others who were once anxious have learned to speak in front of groups with little or no stress at all. Most of these people were initially terrified to speak in public. Ask yourself if there are particular situations where you find you can speak in public at ease and the ones which make you nervous and you fear them intensely. Perhaps it is just public speaking that triggers it?

A very important public speaking tip – understand that the audience wants to hear something of value. If you can deliver that, they won’t care if you get tongue-tied or say something stupid. They want to leave finding out something of value that they didn’t have when they walked in.

Energy and Rapport

According to many professional keynote speakers, a little bit of anxiety can be good. It can give your performance more energy and helps you to think sharper. Use that energy to build rapport with the audience. We all know that rapport is built via body language more than by what we actually say. When you use the energy and build rapport, you will become more effective at public speaking. Humor and humility go a long way in building rapport and building energy.

Tone of Voice

Your tone of voice is incredibly important during public speaking. Your pitch, tone and speed at which you talk needs assessing. Many things can affect your tone of voice and your manner:

  • Body posture
  • Energy levels
  • Enunciation
  • Listening ability

Positive qualities include smiling, sound warm, vary on pitch and sounds engaged. Negative qualities include nasally sounds, sounding impatient, speaking in monotone, and talking too quickly/slowly.

Topic versus Audience

The topic you talk about must benefit the audience and be something that they either enjoy or learn from, preferably both. Do you know who the audience is? What demographic or background are they coming from? Have you met before? Are you friends or colleagues or complete strangers? Knowing more about the audience will help you ensure that the topic is relevant to them, and this will make the whole presentation much easier.

Beginning, Middle and End

Your first words should be introductory and will depend on what the topic is. Again, using humor can help here, if appropriate. The body of the speech might only have 2 or 3 points to keep the audience focused and help you stick to time. During the speech, the world is your oyster. You can use images, props, stories, jokes, anecdotes or statistics to get your point across and to engage the audience. The more varied your speech, the more likely the audience will stay with you. Be careful though, not to wander off topic too much with stories or statistics that have no relevance to the topic at all.The conclusion of your talk is really a summary of what has been covered, and should leave the audience with something memorable that they can take away with them.

Overcoming Perfectionism

No one is perfect, you can’t satisfy everyone.Learn the topic as well as you can.Research the audience before the event.Watch your tone of voice and body language.Practice, practice practice! But not too much!Use humor where you can.Be yourself rather than trying to copy someone else.Relax! The audience wants to learn. They are not here to make fun of you.Follow these public speaking tips and you will find you develop much quicker and your public speaking skills will prove very effective.

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