Public speaking is part of life. It’s virtually impossible to get through any type of education without first giving a speech. In the workplace, almost everyone has to speak to move up the ladder. The following article contains tips and tricks to make public speaking come naturally to you.
You must not think that just because you are talking, people are listening. It’s your job to make your speech appealing so that you can earn and keep their attention. Since this is technically a performance, you have to work to get the desired results.
Be as familiar as possible with your materials. Don’t just memorize words, understand facts and even have a relevant story or joke on hand. If you have time, you can add in some of these things throughout your speech as needed. They can also be used to make the speech stronger or to answer audience questions.
Continue with your speech even if you feel you messed up. The whole speech might be messed up if you feel like you have to go back and correct something. The audience has not seen your speech, so they will remain unaware that you missed something unless you tell them.
Stay away from alcoholic drinks prior to speaking. You may think that it will help you loosen up and be more confident, but it can have quite the opposite effect you want. You don’t want to risk forgetting what you want to say just because you decided to have a drink or two prior to your speech.
Rehearse your speech every day. This will give you confidence because you are very familiar with the material. Even though you might think you know your speech by heart, remember to take your speech notes with you to the podium. This will help if you stumble over any part of your speech or forget an important point.
Continue to practice your speech so that you are at ease with it. Practice it while you are looking into a mirror and try using different hand gestures or facial expressions that help to make your points. Ask those close to you to allow you to deliver the speech to them and give you feedback. They could offer suggestions for content improvement, or for how it is delivered.
Use note cards if necessary. While you should commit your speech to memory, keep a written copy handy in case you lose your place. You need not have the entire speech written down word for word, but having the key points you wish to make written on note cards can help ensure that you do not leave out any important information.
If you feel nervous or feel you are failing, never let it show. You may feel as though you are doing a bad job, but your audience is unlikely to recognize that anything is amiss. Correct mistakes you make and move on.
Your voice must be strong and clear when you speak. It is also recommended that you have water available to drink if you need it. Don’t drink dairy or soda immediately prior to your speech. This can make your saliva thick and can also make you produce more mucous. Hot tea prior to your speech can help relax the vocal chords.
Before you deliver the speech, visualize you successfully delivering your speech. Visualize yourself delivering the speech and also think about how the audience will react. If you think positive thoughts about the speech and imagine the audience engaged in the things you are saying, it can be a great confidence booster.
Questions do not need to be reserved until the very end. This will prevent people from forgetting what they wanted to ask you. Your audience will appreciate it if you let them speak out when a thought strikes them.
Don’t go into a speech thinking you are just going to wing it. This is one of the worst things that you can do. You might make a speech that is not the worst ever. The problem is, you might also forget some very important details along the way.
Make sure your head is in the right place. It’s quite normal to feel nervous. There are so many other people who feel the same way before public speaking, too. However, negative thoughts are going to hurt you. If you think you will bomb the speech, you probably will. Remember that positive thinking can make all the difference.
Public speaking is nearly unavoidable. It may be that you need to make a speech for a class, or do it in your job when asked to discuss an important project at length during an office meeting. Public speaking is even required in social and recreational activities. Now you should know how to confidently speak in public.
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.