Public speaking can be a terrifying experience. Whether you’re about to present to a class of students or just want to give a quick presentation at work, the thought of being in front of an audience can make even the most seasoned person break out in a cold sweat. These public speaking tips and ideas will help you calm your nerves and deliver a better presentation.
However, public speaking doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. For some people, it’s easier if they know what to expect and have some helpful tips up their sleeve.
Public speaking is a chance for you to share your ideas or research with people who are interested in what you have to say.
It can be intimidating, however public speaking doesn’t have to be scary for everyone. With some tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to give presentations like a pro!
In this post, we’ll explore ten public speaking tips that will help you deliver a stellar presentation in no time.
Know your audience
One of the most important things to do when speaking is to know your audience. This means you need to consider the following:
- Who is your audience?
- What are the demographics?
- How many people will be in attendance?
- What are the top three points you want to make?
- What are some keywords that this audience might use in conversation with each other and with you?
Knowing your audience will help maximise your effectiveness because it’ll help you tailor what you talk about, how you talk about it, why you’re talking about it, and what questions/concerns they might have as well.
For example, if someone from a very business background comes up to speak in front of a very creative crowd, they may want to offer more personality or creativity in their topics, in order to cater more specifically towards their demographic.
Tell a story
First and foremost, my favourite of these public speaking tips is that we need to always remember that public speaking is about telling a story. It’s about relating your message to the audience in a way that makes sense for them.
The easiest way to start is by asking a question. Does anyone know what time it is? How did you get here? What have you guys been up to lately? These questions allow people to relax and figure out where you’re going with the speech.
Next, build connections with your audience. Try to use examples from their life experiences or things they’ve heard before that relate back to what you’re saying. It’s easier for people if the speech feels familiar.
Try not to speak too quickly or too slowly so that people can follow along without issues.
Finally, maintain eye contact throughout the speech. It will help give people cues on what to do next, it will help reassure them that they’re not missing anything, and it will make them feel more engaged with the presentation.
Public speaking is a skill that’s acquired over time, so you need to practice. If you’re trying to get comfortable with public speaking, try giving a talk at your local library or old people’s home. It may not seem like the most natural thing in the world, however libraries and nursing homes have surprisingly well-mannered audiences!
If you just can’t seem to make it work, it might be time for more professional help. Find someone with experience and ask them whether they would be willing to mentor you privately.
Prepare your speech
One of the most important things in public speaking is preparation. So you want to know what to expect before you’re on stage.
This includes having a good idea of the subject that you’ll be speaking about and knowing how long it will take. While you can’t prepare for every possible scenario, you should always have a backup plan just in case something goes wrong. It’s also helpful to have an outline of what you’ll say so that if something does go wrong with your speech, it won’t throw off whatever point you were trying to make.
You might also want to think about what you’ll actually wear. The colours or clothing that you wear can affect how people perceive your speech as well as how they feel during it. If people are already feeling nervous before your speech starts, it could be more difficult for them to concentrate on what you’re saying.
Speak clearly and confidently
One of the most important tips to remember when preparing for a presentation is to speak clearly and confidently. It’s essential that you don’t mumble your words or stumble over your sentences. Instead, focus on speaking in a clear voice, and use gestures to help emphasise your points.
Make sure you’re aware of how the people around you are reacting as well; if they seem bored, it might be time for an abrupt shift in strategy. Your audience will love it!
Project your voice
When you’re giving a presentation, it’s important to project your voice in a confident manner. If you sound hesitant and unsure of yourself, your audience will pick up on this and it won’t be a good impression. Basically, when it comes to public speaking, the more confident you are, the better!
Projecting is not just about having confidence in your voice. It’s also about being confident with the content that you’re presenting. If you’re not sure what to say, have an outline or script prepared so that you know what points are coming next. In addition, make sure to practice what you’ll say beforehand so that everything flows smoothly during the presentation.
Greet everyone with a smile
This one may seem obvious however it can’t be stressed enough. When people enter a room where they know someone is going to be speaking in front of them, they tend to pay a little more attention than if they were just walking into an empty room without any anticipation of who will speak next.
So always make sure to greet every person who enters into the room before beginning your talk!
Have an opening point, a middle point, and a closing point
No one likes a monotonous speaker. Keep your presentation lively by having three distinct points to your speech.
The first point is the opening point, where you introduce yourself and the topic at hand. The second point is the middle point, where you dive into your main message or talk about what you want people to take away from your presentation.
The third point is the closing point, where you wrap up everything that was said and bring back old notes for those who weren’t able to stick around for the whole thing.
For example, let’s say you’re giving a presentation on how to be empathetic in business negotiations. You could have three points:
1) My name is Sally and I’m going to discuss how it’s important in business negotiations to be empathetic and open-minded when dealing with others. 2) Now, let’s talk about what being empathetic means-in short, empathy is understanding another person’s perspective while remaining impartial and not reacting emotionally (which can actually hurt negotiation outcomes). 3) And finally, let’s talk about what we can do as negotiators to help build more bridges and make this easier on each other.
This way, everyone knows what they’re in for before beginning
The opening point
The opening is a very important elements of these public speaking tips. We all know that the first few minutes of a presentation are crucial. If you make a poor start, you can quickly lose your audience. It’s important to set the tone for your talk and create interest in your content by getting straight into it.
Start with an engaging opener—something that will get your audience on board straight away, like asking them a question about what they think of your subject or something else relevant.
If you’re having trouble opening, try something similar to: “This is going to be an interesting conversation.” This sets the mood for what’s about to happen and also gets them more engaged in what you have to say.
The middle point
Why is the middle point important? The middle point is a crucial part of public speaking. It helps you establish and maintain your audience’s interest. Without it, people will quickly lose focus on what you’re saying. Another reason the middle point is important is that it can help you come across as more natural.
Sometimes, when you speak too quickly, you end up sounding like a robot—not something most people want to hear!
Typically, the middle point will be about eight to ten minutes into your presentation. However don’t worry; if time runs out before then, it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure to end with a good conclusion and wrap up your speech in a neat fashion!
200+ public speaking tips and templates
After all that, here are links to over 200 presentation tips, 100 templates and themes and other related resources, wrapped up into one list…
- Really Bad Powerpoint, and how to avoid it by Seth Godin.
- Public speaking do’s and don’ts (from Lifehacker)
- Death by Powerpoint (and how to fight it) (Slideshare Presentation)
- Great Presentations by Tom Peters
- Don McMillan: All those PowerPoint Mistakes (Video)
- How to Get a Standing Ovation
- How to Make Your Speaking Easier and More Effective
- Advice for Presentations: It Happens!
- Getting over the jitters before you speak
- Rock Your Presentation with the Right Tools and Apps (from Lifehacker)
- 5 tips for exciting speeches
- The Law of Public Speaking: Positioning
- Conquering your fear of public speaking
- Special Delivery! Tips for Improving Your Humor
- Public Speaking Panic
- How I made my presentations a little better
- To Done! How To Give A Great Presentation
Presentation Templates and Themes
Public speaking really doesn’t have to be as terrifying as it seems! Public speaking is an integral part of any successful business. It helps you establish credibility, promotes your brand and builds trust with your audience.
Here are my final ten public speaking tips for when you just can’t seem to get it right.
- Have a plan
- Know your audience
- Focus on the task at hand
- Find a relaxed state of mind
- Don’t drink too much caffeine before you speak
- Avoid negative body language and vocal tone
- Stand up straight and speak slowly, clearly, loudly and with authority
- Use gestures wisely in order to encourage participation from the audience
- Keep it short-and-sweet!
All the best with your next presentation – make sure to enjoy yourself!