Public speaking is surely not easy. If you have spoken in front of a crowd before, you know what might happen: your heart beats rapidly, you sweat all over, or even worse — you forget all the topics you prepared for.
Terrifying as it might sound, public speaking is actually not that scary. To be a good public speaker, here are some DOs and DON’Ts that you should know:
Prepare your speech.
No one masters a speech without any preparation. Prepare your topic and come up with an outline. Speeches and essays work the same way – they should be interesting, related and relevant.
A mirror is the best (and cheapest) way to observe your speech and your body language. Practise your speech in front of the mirror. Pay attention to your body language and your tone of voice. You will automatically know what you will have to improve once the words are said. If you do not like what you hear and see, it is very likely that no one else will either.
Once you take the podium, take a deep breath. Make eye contact to the audience and smile, then start talking. You are not obliged to grab the microphone and start speaking immediately after you step up on stage.
If you find yourself talking with a shaking voice, take another deep breath or two. That should do the trick in helping to calm you down.
Start your speech with a punch line.
Surprise your audience! A punch line is a good way to grab attention. Once their attention is directed at you, you can do whatever you want with them.
Say it like you mean it.
Be passionate about what you are talking about. You can even be a little emotional if you want to but not TOO emotional – no one wants to see a speaker crying! Convince the audience that this topic is really interesting by paying attention to the words you say. Your sincerity means everything.
Don’t read out your speech or learn your speech by heart.
Don’t read your speech out word for word. The audience wants to listen to interesting topics, not boring lectures. Don’t learn your speech by heart either, because when you are excited, it is VERY likely that you will forget what you want to say. The result? You will go back to the draft that you have and read it word for word.
The best way to remember a speech is to write down key words on a piece of paper or on note cards. You can even bring a short outline and consult it from time to time while giving the speech. But in order to successfully deliver a speech with these key words, you will need to take the time and prepare yourself well by practising.
No need to apologise when you give a speech or tell the audience that you are nervous. They might not even notice that you are.
So now you are equipped with what is needed to be a good public speaker. Your public speaking skills will improve after you have given a couple of speeches, as you will learn a lot about what you should and should not do during the process. Do not be disappointed if your first speech is a disaster. Great public speakers have been there before, but they keep going!