Public Speaking Tips
This section Public Speaking Tips will be about how you can make an effective delivery after getting on stage.
The truth is that small things matter when you are speaking in public because all attention is focused on you, and minute mistakes or glitches in your delivery are magnified a few times.
As such, you want to be as flawless as you possibly can. Let’s run through the speech process from start to end.
Public Speaking Tips Part #1
Entrance and Beginning of Speech
1. Take your time to prepare
If you’re nervous, the first thing you will want to do is to quickly jump into your topic to prevent any uncomfortable silence in the room; but resist it.
Take your time to prepare your notes, adjust your microphone, and look around the room and smile.
Taking your time to start your speech and being comfortable with an initial silence is the sign of assurance.
It automatically gives you an air of authority, causing your audience to become more receptive to you.
And of course, smile.
Your attitude makes a tremendous difference in the success of your speech.
Studies have shown that when people were shown a picture of a smiling person; they would unconsciously smile in return without even knowing the reason why they do so.
By smiling in front of an audience, you immediately create an atmosphere of warmth, creating positive feelings both in yourself and the audience you are speaking to.
3. Project your voice with enthusiasm
If you want your audience to buy-in to whatever you’re speaking about; you have to be enthusiastic about your own topic.
You have to believe in whatever you’re saying if you want your audience to believe it too.
People can smell out someone who is inconsistent in body language and words and they can quickly lose respect for someone who is just regurgitating what they need to say.
Hence, you want to use your tonality to your advantage; show them how passionate and enthusiastic you are about the topic you are speaking on.
With your voice, show them that this is something that they should get excited and passionate about as well!
If you have problems projecting your voice, try to imagine yourself speaking to someone at the back of the room.
That way you will naturally adjust your volume accordingly such that everyone in the room can hear you clearly.
Public Speaking Tips Part #2
During the Speech
1. Don’t read off your notes
One of the common mistakes that novices in public speaking do is to read directly off their notes like a wooden dummy.
Remember, people are here to listen to you speak, not to hear you read off the notes!
If they wanted to read your notes, they could have just taken your script and done so.
If there is one thing that really irks me personally, it’s a speaker who reads directly off their script.
I understand that it’s tough because you may not remember your speech if you don’t have notes, but you must try to appear like you are saying it, not regurgitating it.
Another method you can adopt is to keep your notes close to your eye level with the audience; that way, it will also appear like you’re keeping eye contact while making subtle looks toward your notes.
Good speakers who repeatedly deliver the same speech may memorize their notes, but they know how to adjust it such that it suites the occasion and the profile of the audience as well.
2. Get audience participation if possible
During the middle of his sermon, my senior pastor from my church always gets the audience to either clap or makes them turn to their neighbors and repeat something he says.
“Turn to your neighbor and tell them that they’re looking great today!”
I find that this method to be extremely helpful in keeping the audience engaged because it requires them to participate in the sermon as well.
If you have someone that is dozing off or not paying attention; when his neighbor turns to him and says something, he will be roused immediately to pay attention again.
With this simple method, my pastor can go on for an hour or so, keeping everyone fully engaged during the whole time.
However, this might only be used for certain occasions that are more spontaneous in nature.
Of course, if you are delivering a very solemn speech about a very serious issue, you should not do this.
3. Walk around the stage and use gestures
Another public speaking tip you can use to enhance your speech is to move around the stage or the room and use gestures.
It’s natural for us to give our attention to moving objects; and walking around the stage or room will cause the audience to follow you with their eyes and keep them engaged.
A simple way to move around is to move to the left of the room, stand there for a few minutes and then move to the right, stand there for a few minutes and repeat.
If you stand at the same spot while speaking, the audience’s eyes don’t really have to focus on anything and pretty soon they will be looking away at something else.
It’s the same for gestures; the proper use of gestures will give a visual dimension to your speech.
Public Speaking Tips Part #3
The End of the Speech
1. Answering questions
At the end of the speech, you might want to open up the floor for questions.
Doing so allows the audience to give you feedback on your speech, as well as ask any questions or clarify any doubts.
This is an important process because through the feedback of the audience you can learn which part of your speech you can improve on, any information you have left out and so on.
Before you answer any question, make sure you fully understand what the person is trying to ask. If you are not sure, ask for a clarification.
If you’re speaking to a big group, it is good to repeat the question because not everyone might have heard it the first time.
If there are questions that you currently do not have an answer to, do not panic. It is perfectly fine to say that you do not know the answer, and will get back to him/her later on. But please do.
2. Making a graceful exit
As you are finished with the questions, conclude your speech by summarizing what you have spoken and thank them for the time.
As the audience is giving you the applause, stay on stage and receive it. Don’t rush off the stage immediately.
Even though your speech has ended, the focus is still on you and you should continue to look attentive and confident.
When you sit down, don’t immediately start talking to people around you. Wait for the next speaker to come up before you relax fully.