Five tips for public speakers

Speaking in public isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us, but it’s a skill that can be learned.

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According to an article in Psychology Today, the very idea of speaking in public reduces a quarter of us to jelly. We’ve put together five helpful tips to help you conquer your demons and deliver a great speech.

1. Embrace the fear

It’s perfectly normal to feel apprehensive about addressing a crowd of people, so don’t try to fight your nerves. A little adrenaline is a good thing, as it will help you to think fast and deliver a great speech. Try labelling those nervous feelings as “excitement”, and you’ll soon start to view them in a different way.

2. Prepare

Some people may be able to stand up and deliver a perfect off-the-cuff speech, but for most people, preparation is absolutely essential. When you know your subject matter inside out, you can take to the stage with complete confidence that you know what you’re talking about.

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3. Grab the audience at the start

Hit the ground running by introducing something that will grab the audience’s attention straight away. That could be a little-known but startling statistic relating to your subject matter, or it could be a personal anecdote that will engage the people listening to you. They’ll be much more likely to pay attention for the rest of the speech, and their interest will keep pulling you along, too.

4. Use humour

Nobody loves a dry and dusty talk, so inject some humour into your speech. This is an approach that works particularly well for Jamie McDonald, a motivational speaker who goes by the name of Adventureman at Making an audience laugh reassures you that they are listening to you, which will encourage you to keep going.

5. Don’t read from your notes

Don’t write out your speech in full, or you’ll be tempted to deliver it exactly as it’s written. That will almost certainly result in a flat and uninteresting delivery that will quickly bore your audience. Try using a selection of bullet points instead, along with some keywords to keep you on track. This approach lets you adapt your delivery according to audience feedback, so you can tailor your speech as you go, making it sound much more engaging and interesting.