My tips for public speaking

public speaking fearSome tips for facing the audience squarely and speaking up:

  • Read Extensively and Improve your vocabulary. Note down difficult words, phrases and flowery usages and look up the dictionary and masterĀ those words.
  • Select quotations, rehearse using them in different occasions and zero in on the most appropriate context.
  • Sprinkle your lecture with subtle jokes but avoid smutty and low grade platitudes. You must show some class!
  • Make it a point to pronounce words correctly. Especially names of people and places.
  • Listen to good speakers. Pick up their good points. Adopt them to your style. Wait, did I tell you that? Yes, develop a style of your own. It will project a positive image of yourself in the minds of your audience.
  • Don’t get overawed by the audience. Think that they know less than you. You are holding the floor. They are there to listen to you. Look at them with chin up and start speaking with confidence.
  • Prepare a rich content on the subject of your speech. Remember, internet is your best resource and Google is your favourite vessel to surf and harvest the gems from the web.
  • Shoot out some figures and statistics and mention the sources. This will add a respectful credibility to your lecture.
  • If you could coin some swanky aphorism that is germane to your subject, attribute it to some well known author or public figure of yesteryears. Your audience will eagerly lap it up.
  • Do not hem and haw. Be forceful but easy on your tone. No shrill or heightened voice, no impassioned spills. Just measured and well-modulated delivery with full control.
  • No flippant shilly-shallying. Radiate confidence and scholarship. Show your audience that you are authentic and fully prepared.
  • Do not show nervousness or fidgeting. Make eye contact and deliver with authority.
  • Have a clear cut plan and structure. Make the audience be clear upfront on what you are going to offer.
  • Practice before a mirror or a honest friend and correct your body language. It will help in avoiding nervous and involuntary clenching of fists, fiddling with shirt collar or pockets, digging your nose, rolling your hair or similar foolish acts.
  • Smile, take a deep breath, look around, start with an air of authority exuding confidence.
  • Remember the basic rules of public speaking.
    • stand up
    • Speak up
    • And shut up when the time is up.
  • Time your speech. You may have tons to deliver. But your audience have other things to do. Always be mindful of time. Structure well to suit the given time period. Do not let your audience to develop fatigue. Never lose sight of meal time or tea break of the audience.
  • Be graceful and friendly with your audience especially during question time. There will always be a cynic amongst your audience who will throw questions at you just to upset you. Flash a disarming smile at his (her!) direction. Give the person a feeling of triumph. But let the audience feel you have come out unscathed. It is a mind game. But do not engage in an open verbal duel. It will vitiate the whole atmosphere. Be cryptic, brief and to the point but duck to the punches and hook the bouncers on merits. Remember the audience expects a hero from the man who occupies the dais, not a damp squib.

Some more useful tips are here:

  1. 10 Tips for Public Speaking from Icebreaker Ideas*
  2. Public speaking ideas from Toastmasters

* Thanks for the tip, Kelly Treacey.

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