At some point in your life, you are likely to be called upon to speak in front of others. No matter who you are addressing, your ability to speak in public can make a huge difference. The following advice will help you speak well in almost any situation.
Don’t assume that people will automatically know what you mean. You have to get their attention and hold on to it. To get results, you must work for it.
Before you do anything else, memorize your speech when you are getting ready to deliver a presentation. When you get to the point where you can give your speech at any moment, then you are ready to practice your overall delivery. Knowing your speech beforehand gives you that flexibility and allows you to be a lot more comfortable.
The key to a good speech is preparation. First of all, you must clearly have in mind the message you want to convey. Do your homework to back up your statements, if you must. Jot down notes of anything you’ll be conveying so you can scan over them while giving your speech. Practice your remarks over and over until you know them by heart. Being well-prepared can improve confidence when it’s time for your actual speech.
Take the time to really know the material in your speech. While memorizing your speech is important, it’s just as important to know other facts and figures or even stories and jokes as they relate to your subject matter Use them judiciously when you feel your audience is receptive. You can use them to answer questions too.
Keep your attention towards the audience. While it can be easy to get distracted by other things around you, don’t! You are attempting to convey a point or be persuasive, so you must be completely present.
Learn your audience. If there is a way, find things out about some individuals in the audience. If possible, greet them as they enter and ask their name. Practice their names in your mind. Getting familiarized with some of the audience can make the event feel friendlier.
Become familiar with the environment before giving a public speech. Find out how far your voice goes in the room without amplification. Try out the equipment to see how it works. If there are visual aids, learn to use them. Also, figure out how much eye contact you should make.
Keep going if you accidentally omit a certain sentence from your speech. If you stop and backtrack and try to correct your error, you will end up with a big mess. Additionally, backing up will just make it abundantly clear to your audience that you messed up.
Practice some deep breathing to help you through your speech. Inhaling deeply and exhaling completely helps to calm your nerves before starting your speech. Try inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth while counting to five. Repeat this until you feel your breathing and heart rate calm down.
Practice is the single best way to make sure you know exactly what to say. Practice in the mirror to find any room for improvement. However, also make sure you practice in front of a live audience to get constructive feedback.
After your speech is written, do many practice runs so that you nearly memorize it. Practice in front of a mirror where you can try using various hand gestures and facial expressions to help make your points. Ask those closest to you to listen to your presentation as well. They can give you some pointers that you may not have noticed and help you improve.
Prepare with note cards if you need to. While you should commit your speech to memory, keep a written copy handy in case you lose your place. You don’t have to have the speech in its entirety before you as you stand at the podium, but your key points should at least be jotted down.
Don’t use visual aids that are too distracting or dazzling. It should enhance your statements. Visual aids should not overwhelm the message you are delivering. Make sure the visual aids are high quality. Make them colorful but not too distracting.
Before you give presentations, you should warm up the audience. You don’t have to tell a joke. Just use a story that is easy for your audience to identify with, and you’ll be on the right track. This is a great way to connect with the audience.
Start with an anecdote before your speech. A personal anecdote, relevant hypothetical situation or something in the news can be a great speech starter. This will make you subject matter seem more human. When creating your story, avoid offensive or inappropriate anecdotes.
Before giving a speech, know your audience. Every group of people has different expectations of you. For instance, professional colleagues might want to personally learn something new. Family and friends will probably want to be entertained. Regardless of the composition of the audience, be sure to provide them with what they expect.
Do not tell the audience you are nervous. Most often, a speech will carry more weight and command more respect if the listeners don’t hear that confession. It is not unusual for a speaker to believe that the audience realizes that he is nervous, but normally this is not true. No matter how you really feel, let them believe you are confident.
You don’t have to be important to give a great speech. Confidence, mastery of the material and good old fashioned practice can make your speech a winner. These tips will help with your overall communication with people.
Onaolapo Adeyemi is a travel and technology writer. If he’s not on tour, you’ll find him in New York with his wife, and pet parrot hanging out at Starbucks.