Confidently Conquer Public Speaking
For some people, public speaking is a walk in the park, but for others it can be a very stressful experience. Talking in front a group of people, whether it’s the students in your class or in front of a hundred people, can be someone’s worst nightmare. With a few deep breaths and some preparation, you can get through the speech, and you will do it successfully. Below you will find some suggested public speaking techniques to help you prepare for the big day.
Public Speaking Techniques
This may seem like an obvious one, but I once heard a phrase “perfect practice makes perfect”. What does this mean? You can’t just practice while lounging around or while the TV is on. When you practice, you need to practice with confidence and have the appropriate setting. Create or find a space where you can practice as if you were already standing in front of your peers.
2. Record yourself
It can sometimes feel weird hearing your voice in a video or on audio, but to gain confidence with public speaking, it’s a necessity. Recording yourself can help with body language, posture, facial expressions, pacing, and eye contact. When speaking, you want to make eye contact as much as possible. Practice looking directly at the camera or set up markers around the room and make sure you’re looking at each one while you perform your speech.
3. Re-write your speech
Handwriting your speech also helps with practice. Writing things in your own handwriting helps with memorization and helps familiarize you. If you can bring your speech with you, I highly recommend it. Use a large font so it’s easy to read. Memorizing your speech can also be helpful, but bringing a paper copy with you can help with pacing and keeping you on track.
4. Have a strong beginning and end
You want to captivate your audience. With a strong beginning you can be confident you can captivate your audience. There are several ways to craft a strong opening, such as asking a question, telling a story, or giving a glimpse into what’s to come. Inviting the audience to be an active participant in the speech will make them feel connected and engaged.
Ending your speech on a strong note will do the same. Providing a takeaway such as asking a closing a question or imparting an impressive fact is a perfect opportunity to leave a lasting impression long after your speech is over. A strong ending will leave the audience thinking and will hopefully inspire them to investigate your topic in their own time.
5. Use humor
Using a joke or witty word play is a good way to keep the audience engaged throughout your speech. By only providing facts, you could risk losing the audience’s attention. Too many facts in too short a time could seem dull, so using humor or a witty comment can help break up the speech and ensure that your audience is still focused on you.
6. Find a person in the audience and breathe
Sometimes, even with all the practice and preparation, you can still feel nervous and that’s okay. Finding someone in the audience to focus on can help minimize the scale of the large space you are speaking in and the quantity of people in it. Take a deep breath, find your person, and make eye contact with them. Doing so periodically can help keep nerves at bay.
Breathing is an important technique to practice that most people overlook. While giving a speech, you want to measure your breathing to ensure you don’t have unnecessary pauses due to losing your breath. Take breaths after a full stop such as periods, exclamation points, and question marks, as well as in between paragraphs. These are all natural stopping points, so while practicing your speech, make sure that you follow these suggestions and time you’re breathing appropriately.
7. Do research
Always research! The more knowledge you have on your topic, the more confident you will be. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be an expert, but you do need to have a deeper understanding the topics in your speech. Having facts in your speech is great, but understanding what those mean is even better.
8. Rest and eat
Finally, always make sure you have a full night’s rest and a full stomach before you begin your speech. If you don’t eat ahead of time, bringing a piece of fruit or granola bar with you to give yourself some fuel and energy can be beneficial. You don’t want to be exhausted or fatigued on the day of your speech because that can cause you to lose concentration and/or lose confidence. Having water on hand can help your throat from feeling dry. Pausing before you drink water just as you pause for breathing keeps your speech from sounding interrupted.
Hopefully, these public speaking techniques will help ease whatever stress you may have. This is not an easy task but with the right preparation beforehand, you can be sure to give a speech you’ll be proud of.
Author: Chelsea DiNeno