Public Speaking Tips

November 7, 2016

The horror of public speaking is enough to instill fear in most people.  However, honing your speech delivery skills is beneficial to your search for a career or advancing with a promotion.  It is best to overcome this fear by effectively preparing for a speech to manage your speech anxiety.


If you are given ample notice before you need to give a speech, it is best to utilize your time to practice.  The more you practice the material, the more professional the speech will sound.  Prepare note cards with the topics you want to cover then memorize your speech.  Reading your speech is considered unprofessional and will keep you from making eye contact with your audience.


Don't just go over the speech in your head, stand in front of a mirror and practice your speech out loud. Looking into a mirror will help you notice any awkward movements such as shifting or lip biting.  Reading your speech out loud will also make it easier to memorize.  Once you are comfortable rehearsing your speech in private, present it to family or friends.  Family and friends are more willing to give advice and be more forgiving than your professor or boss.  Overall, giving more speeches will help build your confidence and perfect your speech skills.  If you are a college student take multiple speech or public speaking classes.


Remember some fear is good as it provides a burst of energy and heightened senses allowing for more focused concentration.  When fear is used correctly, it creates a very impressive speech.  However, when fear becomes overwhelming, it can make your speech difficult to deliver.  Practicing your speech is the best way to overcome your fear of speaking.  


Eating a snack about 15 minutes before giving a speech helps calm your nerves, just be sure to check for food in your teeth.  Drinking tea and taking deep breaths are two other great ways to help relieve stress before your speech.  If you are stressing before your speech, get some quick exercise or stretch.  This will release serotonin and relieve stress.  If these tips do not seem appealing, utilize the internet to find different ways to help you relax. There are plenty of great tips out there.


Making a mistake during a speech is a major concern for most of us.  If you make a mistake remember that it is not the end of the world, just calmly announce you got off track or make a joke about it, then pick up where you left off.   It is alright to announce that you need a minute to regroup.  Announcing that you are reorganizing is better than saying nothing at all.  By the end of your speech the audience will most likely have forgotten your slip-up. Remember that the majority of your audience is fearful of giving a speeches as well and will understand your restlessness.


Speeches can be viewed as obstacles, but they are not unconquerable.  With practice and fear management, speeches will become less menacing.  Good luck in your future speeches.

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