Public Speaking Tips

Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and even beneficial, but too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here are some proven tips on how to control your butterflies and give better presentations:

  1. Know your material.
    Pick a topic that you are interested in. know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humour, personal stories and conversational language- that way it will be memorable.
  2. Practice! Practice! Practice!
    Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary, especially on timing. Work to control filler words such as “um” and “ah” as these distract your listeners. Practice, pause and breathe.
  3. Know your audience.
    Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
  4. Know the room.
    Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
  5. Relax.
    Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything.  “One one-thousand, two one- thousand, three one-thousand”. Transform your nervous energy into enthusiasm.
  6. Visualise yourself giving your speech.
    Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualise the audience clapping- it will boost your confidence.
  7. Realise that people want you to succeed.
    Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re barracking for you.
  8. Don’t apologise for any nervousness.
    The audience probably never noticed it.
  9. Concentrate on the message, not the medium.
    Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.
  10. Gain experience.
    Mainly, your speech should represent you- as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.

Communication is a basic requirement for the exchange of information, and communication consists of three basic factors:

  •  listening (hearing what others SAY)
  • thinking (considering what was said and what we think about it)
  • speaking (articulating our response)

Everybody has something to say, at work, with friends and family. But success can be directly related to how well you speak. Many people have good ideas, but being an effective speaker needs practice in a safe supportive environment.

To be an effective speaker means you need to be an effective communicator. If you need to communicate effectively for work, are involved in team meetings and wish to have your say or simply want to be a more effective communicator, join a Toastmasters club or register for a Speechcraft course.

Visit a Toastmasters meeting!  Toastmasters clubs meet in the morning, during lunchtime or in the evening in communities and corporations all over the world.

Find a club near you.