100 Public Speaking Tips
Public Speaking Tips 1 - 201. The start of any speech is always the most important aspect of your delivery. Start off weak, making mistakes while you speak, fumbling with your words, fidgeting with your clothes, etc. and you risk sending off the wrong signals to your audience. You show that you lack confidence and authority in what you are speaking about. But if you start off strong, without referring to your notes, speaking with loads of confidence, using natural gestures and expressions, etc. then you show the crowd that you mean business and are really knowledgeable about your topic on that particular occasion. You show your audience that you are well prepared when you begin without referring to your slides, notes, etc.
2. Sincerity counts. Honesty pays. Don't lie, don't beat around the bush. While writing down your speech, check to make sure that every single point covered is sincere, truthful, well researched and accurate. Don't add in points or examples which you aren't sure about. It's difficult to deliver a dishonest speech. It's not ethical or right to even do so. Your audience will truly appreciate you when they know that you have spoken sincerely. Practice your speech content with a friend or an ally so that you can ask them whether you sound sincere enough while you speak. Sometimes your speech content might be accurate but your body language sends the wrong message to the audience.
3. An audience that is not listening to your speech is a pointless experience to go through for a public speaker. You can reach your speech objectives only if the audience is paying attention to what you are saying to them. An audience that is sleeping, sometimes quite literally, is not going to be persuaded to your line of thinking since they don't even know what your core messages are. Seem to care that your audience is listening to your speech. If they aren't you need to change your approach a bit. There is no point speaking to an audience who isn't listening. Stop for a while, take a break, do something different, make them pay attention, only then will you be able to convey your messages to them well.
4. Review the feedback you receive from your audience and your assistants. Too often, we ask our audience to give us their feedback on our speeches but then we don't bother reviewing it at a later time. Having a team member or assistant give you feedback is priceless. But it's only worthwhile when you use their constructive feedback to improve your public speaking skills. This audio book series on the "500 Public Speaking Tips" is like getting loads of feedback in one go. Use these tips to evaluate your speaking skills and work upon areas that need improvement before your next speaking engagement.
5. Nowadays, it's pretty simple to video record yourself practicing your speech. It is just as simple to record your final delivery to the audience. Analysis of your most recent speech recordings will give you a fantastic idea about where you stand as a speaker. You will identify your strengths and weaknesses as a public speaker. You will learn ways to improve your delivery by closely studying your body language while you speak. Simple things like your movements on stage, your overall comfort and confidence level, the way you gesture and express your thoughts, etc. can be observed, analyzed and further worked upon to become a better speaker.
6. A public speaker must show their open palms while they address the audience. Open palms indicate sincerity, openness and honesty. Whereas hidden palms, like keeping them in your pockets, indicates the exact opposite - dishonesty, lies, deceit. A speaker who keeps his or her hands on their hips tends to be a dominant character usually. Whereas a person who walks around with hands in his or her pockets tries to show that they are really cool. A strong handshake is important for a speaker to have. It means the person is confident and strong. While a weak one indicates that the person is weak, submissive and lacks confidence.
7. Using note cards while making presentations is an important thing. But not so important that you are found referring to your note cards every 4 seconds of your speech. Failing to prepare well is the recipe of failure. Remember this while you practice your speech. Never read your note cards word to word, that's not what they are for, note cards must be used only as a helpful guide to you, to highlight the main points, no more. Proper usage of note cards ensures that you deliver an effective and powerful presentation more often than not. Bottom line, refer to your note card only occassionally else it makes your audience feel you haven't prepared enough.
8. In public speaking, knowledge is everything. Know yourself, the room, the audience, and your subject matter well. Knowledge of these 4 areas ensures that you are well aware of the messages you wish to convey to your audience and gives you the confidence needed to convey it well. Most speakers prepare their speeches only keeping their topic and audience in mind. However, a sound knowledge of the room in which you will be speaking and your own speaking strengths gives you all that you need to make a killer speech. So next time you speak in public make sure you are well prepared on all the 4 major areas mentioned here.
9. Always number your note cards. Also make sure that your note cards contain just a few key points and in a large enough font size so that you can read them from 5 feet away. Many speakers tend to make the mistake not to write down their note cards in a large font size, few don't number them and then there are some that do the worst thing possible, they don't carry note cards for their speeches. As an experienced speaker, I always carry note cards to my lectures and presentations, sometimes I even make note cards before I go to a party or similar social outing. It always helps knowing the main points that must be covered through the usage of note cards.
10. Anxiety and nervousness during public speaking situations is normal. Everyone gets nervous. It's part and parcel of public speaking. However, at times, some of us tend to suffer from Atychiphobia, which is the irrational fear of failure, we start getting anxious before our speech because we are afraid that the audience will not like our speech at all. We assume that we are going to perform poorly on stage and this scares us a bit. The best way to overcome this fear is to understand that nothing bad ever happens in public speaking. Relax your nerves by doing some deep breathing and listening to some soft music before your speech. Focus solely on your speech content. Nothing else.
11. Do not make fun or tease your audience at any cost. It might seem funny to you. It might also get you a few laughs from certain members of your audience. But it's not a wise thing to do unless you have been specifically called to make fun of and tease your audience to bits. I know a top rated speaker who's only weakness is that she tends to poke fun at certain members of her audience at the first given opportunity. It costs her a lot of money and even her reputation in the long run. Today, she is sitting at home, jobless for a long time, staring at her TV screen while laying on her couch, thinking about how things would be had she not poked fun at people sitting in her audiences during her working years.
12. Find additional resources & materials through the internet, books, audio books, interviews, etc. while writing your speech. The more information you have to work with, the easier it becomes to narrow down your focus to just a few main points to talk about during your speech. Look for suitable examples such as quotes, facts, stats, stories, real life experiences, etc. to illustrate your main points a lot better. While writing your speech, move from point to point until you have covered each point well enough. Don't focus on any one point for too long. Spread your data evenly over all the main points being covered in your speech.
13. Some experts claim that it's easier to speak to an audience who isn't looking at you. They say that this is good for you as you can confidently speak your material with them since they are not analyzing you from top to bottom. However, this tip is a load of bull. There's nothing as interesting, exciting and inspiring than speaking to people who are directly looking at you. I love an audience that connects with me through their eyes. Therefore, I would strongly suggest that you avoid any distractions such as visual aids (slides, flip charts, handouts, etc.) in your speeches. The trick here is to not speak while they are focused on the visuals. Speak only when their eyes are back on you. It takes practice to do this skillfully but it's well worth it and better than having them distracted by handouts while you just ramble on.
14. Warm water is really good while speaking. Take a sip now and then to help clear your throat and your voice. It's fine to drink 1 liter of water for every 3 hours of speaking. That's around 4 glasses of water. Warm water has those magical qualities inside it that keeps your voice in excellent condition for hours on end. Another tiny thing to keep in mind is to make sure that your glass is clean before you pour your warm water into it. Many times, I've been to 5-star hotels only to discover that my water glass isn't clean enough to pour my precious warm water into.
15. Passion is everything. The world loves passionate professionals in every field. Same goes for public speaking. A passionate speaker is always a sought after one. Convey your message in a warm tone and with passion in your voice. This is what the audience loves to listen to. It's amazing how long passionate speakers can speak without losing the interest and attention of anyone in their audience. You can show the passion you have within you by preparing your speech well, through a confident and relaxed body language, and through the use of purposeful hand gestures. You can be passionate when you are enthusiastic and full of energy too.
16. Use rhetorical questions to get the audience thinking about the topic. A rhetorical question is a question that you ask without expecting an answer. The question might be one that does not have an answer. It might also be one that has an obvious answer but you have asked the question to make a point, to persuade or for literary effect. Don't ask more than a couple of such questions in your entire speech. The audience likes a speaker that makes them think but not think too much for their own liking. Rhetorical questions can really help the audience understand a point well without getting too deep into it inside your speech.
17. If possible, and it usually is, write 3 sets of speeches for every speech that you make. Then practice all 3 speeches with an assistant or someone else present to help you figure out the best one out of the three to use for your final speech. But after having picked one out of the three, don't throw the other two out. Instead prepare with those speeches as well, maybe not as many times as you prepare for the first speech, but atleast a few times. This helps you have a back up plan just in case you need it. I've spoken dozens of times to an audience that did not respond well to my first speech so I made adjustments quickly by using material from my other two speeches so as to check if they responded better to the other two. Usually they do.
18. No one likes to be dominated and lectured to. Make sure that you don't speak like a Dictator looking to crush the audience with his or her bare feet by the end of the speech. Speak with the audience, not at the audience. Don't lecture, dictate, dominate or yell at your audience. Everyone likes it when they are part of something big. The audience tends to be influenced by speakers who speak in their language and knows where they are coming from. Get the audience involved in your speech by sharing things that connect with them directly. You can win over any audience when you can convince them that you are one of them and that what you are sharing with them is something that's good for them.
19. A surefire way of making your audience members happy is to give them something useful for totally free. I usually give my audience a secure link to download a copy of my latest audio book or eBook. Often I give them something to download for free that directly connects with them and the speech topic. I've seen their faces light up when I offer them these free downloads on topics that are relevant and useful to them. What many listeners of this audio book series don't know yet is that there are a couple of free downloads waiting for them if they listen to all the 500 public speaking tips in this series. It's my little way of saying 'thank you' to my listeners for investing their precious time in listening to this audio book series.
20. Begin with anything that gets the attention of your audience such as facts, stats, quotes or shocking statements. A personal story or real life experience that connects with the topic will do just as well. Infact, at most times I use life experiences and stories to connect better with my audiences. These stories, experiences, facts, stats and quotes should not take up too much time in your speech. A good rule of thumb is that your examples should not be more than 1/5th of the total speech time. Also, don't fill your speech up with too many examples. Only use what you feel will illustrate your key points better and have the maximum impact on your audience.
From the Audiobook Series "500 Public Speaking Tips" by Savio DSilva available on Osovo.
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