There are a number of useful tips and advice for public speaking. Public speaking is a skill that some people seem born with. Some speakers exude confidence, do not require notes, speak clearly and boldly and can answer questions without hesitation. Oh, to have these skills!!
Okay, so we’re not all born to be public speakers, but there are a number of things we can do to make the experience easier. We can also train ourselves to be better speakers. We have all been at seminars where the speaker has spoken too quickly, or too slowly or with no enthusiasm, and we have witnessed other speakers who entertained us and could hold our attention all day.
Tips and advice for public speaking
Well, what can you do to become a better public speaker?
Preparation and presentation
If you are not one of those people who can just walk and on stage and start talking about his chosen subject without notes or preparation, then you had better put some guidelines together.
- Know your subject – do a bit of research.
- Make some notes – often a few cue cards with your key points will be enough. Rehearse a bit of information that you can add to your key points as you read them. Don’t write out your speech and read it word for word – this can often be very dull for the listeners.
- Prepare some visuals – people like visuals and displays that highlight your key points and make it easier for listeners to follow your presentation. Talking of presentation, make sure you look the part yourself – don’t wear your carnival costume to a conference on Brazilian Economic Policy.
- Humour – if you feel confident and it is appropriate, add the odd joke, but remember, you’re not a comedian and this isn’t a comedy show……….unless you are actually a comedian….and it is a comedy show….then add lots of jokes!
- Project your voice – this is all about breathing from your diaphragm and relaxing. Let your diaphragm and lungs do all the work, not your voice. Your lungs are the work horses for your voice, they provide the energy (see our section Voice Problems to get a better understanding and awareness of your voice).
- Speak clearly – don’t mumble, talk up, not down!!
- Drink water – keep some water close by, don’t get dehydrated.
- Short sentences – speak in short sentences with breathes in between. If you try to get too much out on one breath you will strain your voice.
Visit our Download Section to see some articles relating to voice, which offer advice and exercises to improve your voice quality.
Use your good communication skills – look at the crowd, use your hands to emphasize points, don’t talk too quickly, and pause to let people process what you are saying.
For more information about communication difficulties, and ideas and strategies to help communication, see our Resources.
For a wider range of books, click here to see our Bookshop.