Tips for Public Speaking

With our student lectures well under way I thought it might be relatable to talk about presenting in front of people.

We are all familiar with the act of public speaking or giving a structured lecture in order to inform or entertain an audience but I don’t believe this is the only type of public speaking. Public speaking, in my opinion is when you have the attention of more than one person in any setting public or private.

I believe people are not so much afraid of speaking in public but rather are worried of looking or feeling stupid. We have all been there, the butterflies in your stomach, the shaking of the piece of paper in your hand which has all the words you need to say. This all adds to that fear of embarrassing yourself, which I think can be subdued with some helpful tips.

Tip #1: Learn the material

You need to have a strong understanding of the topic you are speaking on, the more knowledgeable you are the more comfortable you are when presenting. Familiarize yourself with the topic and your material.

This will make you better prepared for one of the most nerve-racking parts of public speaking which are the questions at the end.

Tip #2: Understand the audience and the event

You need to adapt to the audience if they are on the verge of passing out you must bring them back from the dead.
Furthermore what kind of background does the audience have?
If they are the general public and you are discussing an academic matter surrounding ecology or the environment then maybe lay off on the science mumbo jumbo and make it more relatable to your every day person.

You also have to consider the type of event you are at. If this is a cooperate meeting then you may want to stick to presenting the information and be a little more serious, not cracking jokes or making weird faces. However, if this a situation where you are with peers and is more laid back, then you can lighten up and have some fun with your shot in the spotlight.

Things to consider:
– Change your tone
– Engage the audience, ask a question
– Make a joke
– Move around, you are not sessile
– Consider the audience’s background (Are the familiar with the topic)
– Who is in your audience (Bosses, Supervisors, Coworkers, Classmates, Professors)

Tip #4 Wear clothes you are comfortable in and are best suited for the event

Besides the fear of looking stupid people who hate public speaking are worried about how they look and that the audience is judging your attire.

– The one caveat you need to consider is that if this is an event where you are supposed to look professional, that trumps comfort so maybe pass on the t-shirt with the tuxedo printed on it and go for something more presentable like a suit.If that is a problem maybe alter the suit, no tie or maybe no vest.

Things to consider:
– Wearing your favourite outfit
– Nice footwear to compliment your choice of dress
– The perfume or cologne of your choice (Don’t get carried away)
– Styling haircut and some grooming or shaving if necessary
– Favourite accessories

Tip #5 Practice
This is the most important step if you want to succeed. The best presentations are when the presenter is confident in what they are saying and controls the atmosphere in the room.

If you want to get over the fear of public speaking you need to practice, this doesn’t just mean practising and rehearsing for one presentation but rather putting yourself out there. Get into an uncomfortable position where you need to talk in front of a group, you can only improve and get used to presenting and public speaking by putting yourself in a position where you need to do it.

These are all things I consider when I have to present and as a result, I have grown accustomed to public speaking and being confident when I do it.


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