100 Public Speaking Tips

Public Speaking Tips 21 - 40

21. Some speakers I have studied use a few simple techniques to be in a positive frame of mind before their presentation. One of the things they commonly do is that they find a quiet place where no one else is present, someplace close to their speaking room, then they close their eyes and imagine themselves being cheered and applauded by the audience. Doing this, makes them feel relaxed, positive and confident before they enter the speaking room. There are other techniques used by experienced speakers. You can create one that works well for you. The objective is to help you feel positive and relaxed before your speech.

22. While speaking with others, gesture effectively but gesture naturally. The main type of gestures are those done with our hands. There are different approaches that the professional speakers use. I find that the easiest and most natural hand gestures are those that start with both your hands being joined together like a "Namaste" and held at waist level. From this position, the left and right hand can be opened up quickly and easily to lay more emphasis on certain key words during your speech. With constant practice of hand gestures, you will find that you start to gesture effectively and naturally every time you speak.

23. I follow a simple yet powerful philosophy in many areas of my professional life. My philosophy is to share whatever knowledge I have with others who can benefit from it. My motto for this purpose is Learn, Do and Teach. Once you have learnt and mastered this audio book consider sharing your knowledge with others that you care about. It has been said that the teacher is the best student in the class. Similarly, you become the best public speaker or presenter when you keep sharing your learned knowledge and rich experience with others who can benefit from the same.

24. Don't write too many things on the blackboard or screen that your audience sees while you are delivering your presentation to them. The audience can easily get distracted nowadays, they can slip into another world instantly, and you can quickly lose a whole room full of people if you fill up your projector screen or blackboard with too many things while you stand in front of it and speak. Ideally, just speaking about one thing at a time is the best thing to do. Simply mentioning the topic that you are speaking on is enough. I usually prefer speaking the old fashioned way, without using slides and projectors. It has worked well for me.

25. Your audience can listen to 40 minutes of speech at a time. Take a small break if you are speaking longer than 40 minutes. Nowadays with short attention spans due to social media and smart phones, the average human being cannot listen to more than 30 minutes of a speech without losing attention and focus. You will need to customize your long speeches in a way that you take regular breaks after every 30 minutes of speaking. These breaks are good for you as you can refer to your note cards and sip some warm water at this time. You can have an icebreaker like game or exercise during the first break. Take a complete break of 10 minutes only after an hour's speech has been delivered.

26. There is a funny thing that I'd like to share with you right now. This is actually something that not too many people are aware of. It's a secret since it's basically my personal observation of thousands of students and corporate executives I've coached over the last 18 years. I've observed that even though the speaker might be really nervous when they are speaking, to the audience the speaker does not appear nervous. Some of the audience members might be able to sense that you are a bit nervous but they can never tell exactly how nervous you really are. You always appear much more confident than you feel. So don't worry about how nervous you are, focus only on what you wish to share with the crowd.

27. Visual aids can certainly make or break your presentation. I've seen experienced professionals use visual aids which they haven't practiced with before hand. As a result, they make a few mistakes and come across as irresponsible people. Many times, the audience members can't even see the visual aids used properly. This happens either because the colors used on them are too bright or the font size is too small for everyone to see properly. The best thing to do is to always practice your presentation using the exact visual aids you will be using during your final delivery. Make sure that every member of the audience can see the visual aids that you use well.

28. Rehearse your speech as much as 15 times and even have a dress rehearsal by wearing the same clothes you'll wear during the speech. This is the only way you will know exactly how well prepared you are. You can video record yourself speaking so that you can analyze the recordings of your practice sessions at a later time. Once you are fully prepared, you can then walk into the speaking room brimming with confidence. Your audience can quickly sense a confident and well prepared speaker when they see one. You give yourself the best chance of success when you practice your speeches wearing the same clothes you'll be wearing at the time of the final speech.

29. Work on your listening skills. Be a better listener as it helps you become a better speaker eventually. The more you listen, the wiser you tend to become, the more knowledge you gain and the more content you have to speak about in the future. God has created us in such a way that we have two ears and one mouth. It's a direct way to tell us what's more important for our success in everyday life. There are plenty of tips available online on being an effective listener. You can download my audio book on Effective Listening Tips from Osovo.com.

30. I spend a minimum of 2 hours a day on deep breathing and other meditation techniques. It not only helps me stay relaxed but also helps in building up my ability to project my voice better, my voice does not get strained as easily these days, and my vocal stamina increases by a large percentage. You must breathe from your diaphragm, the muscle below the chest that, when lowered, allows the lungs to increase the amount of air they intake. The object is to have control over the intake and outflow of the air so that you arenít taking in too little air, and then pushing out whatever youíve got left too quickly.

31. Through years of experience, I've learned that the eyes can reveal almost everything about a speaker and the audience. When an audience member looks at the speaker for 6 out of every 10 minutes that the speaker speaks then that particular audience member is definitely interested in what is being said and is paying attention. However, when a member maintains eye contact for less than 4 out of each 10 minutes of a speech then that member is not interested in what's being said. More than 8 minutes of eye contact out of 10 minutes indicates deep interest in what's being said. But, when this eye contact increases to 9 minutes or more out of 10 minutes of speech, then the audience member has possibly turned hostile, aggressive and does not like what's being said.

32. No one's nice enough to praise you for no reason before you start speaking. Most introductions of speakers are not as grand as they used to be. These days, someone from the organization just stands up, takes the mic in their hand, introduces you by your name, then hands you the mic and sits down. That's their introduction of you. And it obviously isn't enough at most times. It's important that you start your speech by speaking a bit about yourself. Make sure your audience knows why you are the right one to be speaking to them on that particular topic. Blow your own trumpet - Share your credentials and experience on the topic right at the start.

33. Don't pause for too long during the speech. More than 5 seconds is not really good. I've mentioned the importance of taking little pauses several times during my classes and even in this audio book series. So it's not something new to you. But, just because you have figured out that pauses are important to take while speaking, it doesn't mean you take really long ones. Anything over 2 seconds is a long pause in today's busy world. People don't have the patience or the time to sit there in silence, waiting for your next point to be delivered. Make sure your pauses are little ones, not for 5 seconds or more.

34. No matter how large an audience seems, it is made up of individual persons. Every member that's seated in your audience is important. Spend considerable time on researching and analyzing your audience members so that you can write down a speech that is sure to benefit them. Don't treat the audience as a whole, look around the room while you speak so that you can make eye contact with each and every person sitting in your audience. Mingle with your audience before your speech, during the breaks and even after you've finished delivering it. It helps to have a few supporters who you already know while you are speaking.

35. A classic act starts with a well written speech. Write and rewrite your speech till you feel you have come up with a master piece. I spend dozens of hours researching my speech topic and writing my speech content. Sometimes, the contact liaison is shocked at my speaking charges for a 1 hour speech. But I politely explain to them that even though the speech is just 1 hour, it takes me more than 20 hours to write my speech down and then practice that 1 hour speech so that I can give the audience something valuable to take home with them.

36. Speak in a language and vocabulary that your audience understands well. Can you imagine making a 45 minutes speech to an audience that does not understand the language you speak well. You must word the wordings in your speech using really simple and easy to understand words. Speak slower than you normally do so that the audience gets enough time to figure out words that perhaps they cannot understand right away. The ideal speaking rate should be a word per second. If you can do this then you really make it easy for your audience to understand every word that you say.

37. Sometimes, my students ask me if they have to be as experienced as me to shine as public speakers. I laugh whenever they ask me this question. Few students even go ahead and call me a perfect public speaker. But you should know by now that I am certainly not a perfect speaker. It's just that I know how to get my point across effectively and I love speaking with people. I grab every opportunity I get to work on my speaking skills. I love public speaking. And when you love public speaking then you automatically come across as an accomplished speaker. Bottom line, you don't have to be perfect to shine as a public speaker.

38. Most accomplished speakers will tell you to drink some warm water before you speak in public. They are absolutely right. It's one of the best public speaking tips you will ever receive. Drink few cups of warm water. Nothing else. Avoid coffee, cold drinks or tea. Warm water helps in maintaining your voice in tip top condition. As mentioned, avoid caffeinated drinks. Avoid eats as well. It is best to speak a good hour after you have eaten something. Your voice must be in a relaxed state before your speech. Warm water helps in keeping your voice relaxed. I often carry warm boiled water bottles to my all-day seminars so that I do not need to worry about finding warm water in and around the speaking room.

39. The use of humor is sometimes essential in public speaking. There are several ways to add humor to your speech but the natural kind always sounds better to the audience. In other words, don't use humor used previously, come up with your own original brand of humor and the audience will certainly appreciate it more. You can certainly learn how to be funny by watching comedy movies and funny shows on TV. Nowadays, with the easy access to high speed internet, you can quickly watch speeches of stand up comedians online. You can watch TV shows such as Mind Your Language, Citizen Khan, Seinfeld, and Fawlty Towers to learn about being funny.

40. Taking pauses while you speak is most important. It helps the audience digest what you said just before you took that brief pause. This also helps in you getting a quick breather between sentences. It is wise to always stop at the end of sentences. Take a brief pause for a second or two and don't hook sentences together. I just hooked the last sentence together myself by adding in the word "and" when it wasn't needed. You show a measured degree of confidence in yourself and your content whenever you take little pauses after every sentence that you have spoken.

From "500 Public Speaking Tips" by Savio DSilva available on Osovo.

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