I love public speaking, as much as I get nervous, I absolutely love talking about my passions and sharing my knowledge and experience with others. I love the feeling of telling other people ‘how it is’ and how they can help. I enjoy being able to stand there and being able to ‘teach’ people almost. Public speaking has given me a lot of confidence, but I can tell you that it is not easy. I still get really nervous and I still rely on a written down speech, but that’s just me. I know I’ll get better. I’m definitely no ‘seasoned professional’…yet! But here are my top 10 public speaking tips.
1. Breathe. Breathing is really important. Take some slow deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. It will calm you down. I sometimes forget to breath when I’m speaking…weird I know. So remember to breathe when speaking too. (I’ll make a note of that myself!).
2. Take a drink with you. No-one wants a dry mouth when speaking. Talking a drink also helps you slow down. If you pause to take a drink then that’s okay. It will calm your nerves too.
3. Make notes. Take your speech with you. I read from my speech, because I am not used to public speaking and that’s okay. No-one will mind. I feel more confident when I speak with my notes in front of me. I can improvise on my speech on the spot.
4. Make eye contact with the audience. If you don’t feel confident doing this, then look at the tops of people’s heads or at different points of the room. Again it will calm you down, but it also helps you engage with your audience.
5. Stay in touch with your emotions – If you are passionate about what you are speaking about, you may get emotional. Keep this feeling in mind when speaking. If you feel emotional during your speech then pause. People will understand because you may have them crying too!
6. Listen to the tone and speed of your voice. You want to emphasise bits of your speech, but you don’t want to speak slowly. You want to talk at a normal pace and want to speak in a slightly higher pitch than normal. Your ‘speaking’ voice is unique to you though, so this isn’t a must, this is just how I prefer to talk.
7. Have confidence. If you believe that your speech will go well, then it will. If you believe in the subject that you are talking about it will come through, as passion. Passion makes people listen to what you are saying.
8. Prepare. Before it’s your turn to speak, read your speech over and over again. Read it whenever you can. Preparation makes perfection, or thereabouts. This is something I need to start doing! (Again I will note this too!).
9. Add a story to your speech. If you add a story then it may resonate with people. An anecdote gives the speech a personal touch. This in turn will improve your public speaking, as the story will be yours. This means that you will put more effort into it, hopefully!
10. Stand still and in a place you feel comfortable. Pick a point on the stage or wherever you will be speaking and stay there. Put your hands somewhere you feel comfortable. If you have to use a computer then place your hands on the computer, this is what I was told to do by a speaker that came to my university. If you use your hands when speaking then make sure you are aware of how you are using them.
And there we have it! These are the things that I always try to remember.
If you have anymore tips then let me know!