Be a better public speaker (it’s easy to learn!)

Not a fan of public speaking? You’re not alone! Survey and research results show that most people are unsure where to start when asked to deliver a speech or presentation. Additionally, considering the schedule of the ultra-busy professional, structuring a persuasive and fluidic speech can be time-consuming and fatiguing. In addition, the same research reveals that three out of every four individuals suffer from public speaking anxiety; that’s 75 percent.

However, there is hope! The following recommendations can enhance your stage presence and exhortation experience and allow you to become a better public speaker:

Research your speech topic. This could be a simple Google inquiry coupled by asking associates and friends their views on the subject matter.

Review the facts, as much as you can, about the host organization and the speaking venue (including its history and the role it plays in society). Also, be knowledgeable about the audience makeup – this includes age, cultural, professional, and educational backgrounds.

Regarding the venue, delivering an address outdoors is different from speaking indoors. Therefore, consider the weather conditions, dress accordingly and take other precautions.

Familiarize yourself with the speech content. The three most important parts of your address consist of the opening, body, and conclusion. Practice in front of one or two people. Let’s focus on those three important parts:

The opening sets the tone, catches audience attention, and provides audience members with a sense of direction where you want to take them; as well as providing a means of relaxing the nerves.

The body is the main focal point and the purpose of the presentation. It is why the audience is there. They have come to be enlightened, entertained, and educated. Include a story and speak from personal experience. When your talk ends, they should have a “wow” mindset while walking out of the room.

The conclusion is the tie that binds the opening and body. Your ideas are reinforced, made noteworthy, and most of all, made memorable. Give the audience clear, simple, and actionable takeaways.

Learning to be a better public speaker is worthwhile and encompasses a diversity of undertakings to heighten the occasion. A few additional suggestions:

  • Don’t apologize for nervousness. Most likely, your audience won’t notice; and a little case of “the nerves” can be channeled into positive energy. Make the unseen nervousness work for you. Use gestures and pauses to ease the tension.
  • Drink room temperature bottled or tap water. Cold, iced water constricts the vocal cords. If the audience size is medium-to-large, use a microphone. Otherwise, speak in a slightly above average tone; and project, but do not force words from your mouth.
  • Have high expectations for yourself; the audience members want you to succeed. Remember, they come to be enlightened, entertained, and educated. In order for them to be successful, and fulfilled, they want you to have a successful presentation. Decisive self-confidence is a necessity for effective communication. Furthermore, this rolls over into leadership, as well. As a matter of fact, good communicators are good leaders, and good leaders are good communicators.

Above, I mentioned three parts of the speech – the opening, body, and conclusion. One way to further improve the value of your presentation is to write a Speaker Introduction. Thereby, you will be properly introduced to the audience by the program coordinator. As you walk briskly to the lectern, smile with confidence and assurance. You’re the center of attention, and people sitting in the chairs have come to this one place to see and hear you. Many moving parts have brought you to this marvelous place. You spent time preparing and educating yourself; consequently, this opportunity is yours to grab and hold. Now is the time: enlighten, entertain, and educate the attendees.

After your speech, accept the accolades, congratulations, and the inquisitive statements that are sure to follow. Your next talk will build on this one and the energy within will keep flowing.

By Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson is the proprietor of Ceremonial Speeches, a speech writing & presentation consulting service. Email:


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