100 Public Speaking Tips

Public Speaking Tips 61 - 80

61. A healthy and effective way to quickly improve your public speaking and presentation skills is to participate in group discussions, talk shows and debates in and around your residential area. These days, there are plenty of speaking events such as inter-collegiate festivals and competitions during which you can participate either as a contestant or in the audience. Either way, you benefit a lot by being present there. Every month of the year, in cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, you have speaking events, debates, discussions, talk shows, inter-college festivals, etc. You can find a list of these on online events' websites.

62. Don't wear clothes that expose your figure more than required. Your clothes must be clean, well ironed and highlight your personality in the right way. Sometimes we tend to ignore what we wear while we speak. It's a big mistake to do do. It's important to wear your clothes that you'll be wearing during your final speech during your practice sessions. You must do this so that you are fully aware of how you look at all times. Video record your practice sessions to check if your clothes are appropriate and not revealing your figure or too much flesh when you speak, gesture and move about.

63. Make it easy for your audience to reach you. Give them a simple website link or a direct email to get in touch with you. Usually I prefer giving them my website link, say Saviodsilva.in or Osovo.com, so that they know how to reach me just in case they want to ask me something or book me for another speaking engagement in the near future. It's vital that you have a website or a social media profile that's easily accessible. A short domain name is much better than a longer one. For example, osovo.com is much easier to remember than Saviodsilva.in.

64. The first aim in almost any speech or presentation is to set up the right climate for the discussion. The purpose is to induce a relaxed, friendly atmosphere inside the room. Once everyone seems to have settled down, it is necessary to mention the important points of your speech and let the audience know what you are about to share with them. Ensure that you give them something of value at the very beginning else you might lose a few of them by not doing so. You could toss in a rhetorical or relevant question to stimulate the audience members by forcing them to think and get involved in your presentation.

65. Do not apologize to your audience right at the start. Generally, this apology might be for being late or for forgetting something. On rare occasions, it might be for forgetting about what your speech topic was. Yes, this actually happened once while I was called to speak along with a few other professional speakers on a few assigned topics. Unfortunately, one of the speakers prepared for another topic. I don't know how that could have happened but it did. And he ended up apologizing for this goof up on stage for a good 5 minutes and 32 seconds. It is advisable to always double or triple check your speech topic and your audience with your liaison.

66. It might shock some of you when I share that I start my practice for certain presentations weeks in advance. As a public speaking trainer since 1999, and being a teacher since 1996, I fully understand the importance of practicing my speeches well in advance. By being well versed with my delivery, I am able to focus fully on the messages that I wish to share with my audience. It lets me focus on fulfilling my speech objectives. As a result of this long practice periods, I usually receive an applause and lots of appreciation every time I speak in public.

67. Do not play with jewelry, your pen, your pockets, your hair or your watch while you speak. Anything that you do that distracts the audience is something that must be eliminated from your speaking repertoire. Playing with your clothes or anything else is a definite distraction. Your audience's eyes will be focused on your pockets if your hands are moving in there. Or their eyes will be glued to your chest if you are touching your necklace again and again. Don't give your audience a reason to lose focus and slip into a dream world. Make sure you don't play with anything during your speech. Don't touch any body part while you speak.

68. It is extremely important to be understood by your audience. Write your speech using simple language. I am repeating this tip a couple of times inside this audio book series because many times what is easily understood by you and me might not be easily understood by our audiences. That's why I spend many hours on audience analysis. I write my speeches keeping my audience firmly in mind. I must speak in their language, be fully understood by them, and to do so every single time, I must analyze their speaking and listening skills. By doing so, I become fully aware of the language they speak and the common words they use. This helps me prepare a speech that will be fully and easily understood by every single one of them.

69. Transitional gestures are highly effective to use during presentations where there are a certain number of points to cover. You can count the number of points on your fingers and move from one finger to the next as you complete each point and start with the next one. As the word says, transitional means moving from one part of your speech to another. You can use hand gestures to highlight this transition. I like using transitional gestures most whenever I am taking up topics in a list form such as a Top Ten list for example. Figure out your own uses of such hand gestures for your future speeches.

70. Prepare your audience keeping your audience members' interests in mind. For example, a speech on "How to save the planet" should be prepared only after finding out more about the audience, their connection to the topic, if they feel the same way about saving the planet or not, and find concrete examples to use in your speech that directly connects with the lives of audience members. I've often given the example of a speaker speaking about his 5 favorite foods to eat without doing proper audience analysis. He speaks purely based on his 5 favorite foods (which are all non-vegetarian) while every member of his audience is a pure vegetarian. The results, of course, were horrible for him. He had everyone staring angrily at him throughout the duration of his speech. Had he researched his audience, he would have spoken about 5 vegetarian dishes he liked thereby greatly enhancing the chances of his audience liking his speech as well.

71. Carry atleast 3 copies of your speech material, just in case. Keep one in your pocket or your briefcase. Another as a digital copy on your tablet computer or laptop that you carry along with you. Another copy on your smart phone. Besides this, keep your numbered note cards in your pocket or inside your left hand. Only keep the note cards for the upcoming session in your hands, the rest you can keep ready inside your briefcase. Keep another copy of your note cards too. There have been times when I lost my first set of note cards in the heavy rain. Luckily, I had a crisp dry pair of note cards waiting for me in my briefcase when I reached the speaking event.

72. Show your palms to the audience as it signifies trust, friendship and sincerity. Hand gestures have always been an important aspect of a speaker's body language. You can win over the audience by addressing them using open hand gestures which are demonstrated by opening up your hands in every sentence that you speak and showing your whole palms to the audience. The audience immediately connects with you when you do this. They sense that you are a sincere, honest and trustworthy person speaking to them. The symbol of an open palm is so powerful in human life that most great speakers of the present and past use it often while speaking to others.

73. Stand in the center of the stage when speaking your main points. Move about only after you complete that point. The whole room can see you well when you are in a stationary position at the center of the stage. That's why it's the ideal position to make your introduction and conclusions from. Speaking with full awareness of where you will be standing throughout your speech comes with long hours of practice. Even an experienced speaker will not be able to tell where there will be standing at a certain point of their speeches unless they have practiced their speeches over 15 times.

74. Invest in a good digital camera, video camera, and sound recording device. Usually, you can do all three things with a modern digital camera. Record your entire speech with your digital camera so that you have both the video and audio format of the same. These recordings help in keeping track of your performance and getting vital feedback on your recorded speeches. Also, take out a few photos of every speech you make. Both of the audience and of you speaking on the stage. Your assistant or team members can do the needful. It's really helpful to have photos, videos and audios of speeches that you make.

75. Use dead time well. Dead time is the time spent standing in line at a ticket counter, or waiting for someone to arrive, etc. It's time that is usually wasted if you do nothing else but wait. An ideal way to spend our dead time is to listen to audio books such as this one. Listen to soft music so that you stay relaxed. You could watch a video on your phone or see an entire movie if you really have a lot of dead time. The preferable thing for a public speaker to do is to listen to this audio book series many times so that all these 500 tips are firmly etched into your memory.

76. You don't need to speak softly in a large room. And no need to speak too loudly in a smaller one. Adjust your volume as per the size of the audience and room you are speaking in. The only thing that matters is that your audience can hear every word you say. Another thing that matters is that you don't speak in a monotone boring voice. You carry your voice pitch, tone and volume through several practices of your speech and daily vocal training exercises at your home. Your voice is the most important aspect of your speech. Make sure you make the utmost of it.

77. At times, public speaking gigs are like a game of Chess. You can do well in your speeches when you think 10 steps ahead. I've done this a few times based on research I did on the audience and the organization I was speaking at. It has worked well for me. For you, it can work very well too. Thinking 10 steps ahead means to think about your future gigs at the present time. I purposefully use guest lectures and certain other speaking assignments to test certain unique speaking techniques in front of a live audience. Later, I receive feedback on whether that technique had a positive response from the audience. There are many other applications of this tip but I am currently limiting its use to just the example I gave above.

78. Treat the media personnel well. Chances are you will be asked for an interview at some time or the other. It will be more common if you are an expert in various fields like I am. It's vital that you are polite, nice and on your best behavior with these people from the media. You can easily get yourself a lot of good press coverage if you are in the good books of few important liaisons in the mass media. For many years leading up to my voluntary retirement from my training career, I was being interviewed by a radio station, newspaper, magazine, website or TV channel for almost 3 times a month. There were few other professionals in my field who had the kind of media coverage and presence that I had. I doubt this would have been the case had I not maintained excellent relations with my liaisons in the media.

79. Passion comes with a deep interest for a particular subject area. Speakers with passion are usually those who love their jobs, know a lot about their subject, and love speaking in public. Passionate speakers are not easy to find in today's world. A speaker who knows more and more about his or her subject. Plus has the passion to back up their knowledge through a confident and energetic body language. The passion you feel for your topic must be shown through your voice, gestures and energy levels. The audience always loves listening to what passionate speakers have to say. A passionate speaker can turn an otherwise boring topic into a lively one purely with his or her high energy levels while speaking.

80. When standing still, remember to maintain good posture. Stand up straight and tall. Your erect posture shows that you are confident. A slouching, dropping or leaning posture is no good. It indicates that you are low on confidence and not fully prepared for your speech. It sends the audience the wrong message about you. Whereas, an erect posture, standing straight at all times, standing tall so to speak, makes you seem a person who's an expert in the speech topic. Someone that's full of confidence and means business. People in the audience always prefer a confident and authoritative person speaking to them.

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

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