Public speaking is a part of life. While you may not have to give a speech everyday, it is important to have the right skills when the need comes up. Keep reading for some excellent tips on increasing your public speaking skills and getting your point across clearly every time you make a speech.
If you have to speak publicly, try to keep it at twenty minutes or less. This is the average attention span of most individuals, so speaking for longer than this is going to risk boring them. If you have to speak for longer than this, find some way to change gears in the middle to liven things up.
Know your surroundings. Take a few moments when you arrive to acquaint yourself with your surroundings. If you can arrive early, go to the podium and do a soundcheck before your audience arrives. If you have visual aids, practice using them while you are orientating yourself with your surroundings.
Some people prepare their notes for speaking in public by using a tablet or other device; however, this is not necessarily a good idea. Murphy’s law is sure to strike and leave you with a dead battery, a stolen device or some other catastrophe. Be safe and write your remarks on index cards as well as keeping them on your mobile device.
Do not chew gum or eat when you are making a speech. The chewing is unprofessional and distracts your audience. It is permissible to sip from a glass of water occasionally so that your throat does not get dry. Keep that to a minimum too, as it serves as a distraction from your message.
Do not be afraid to let your audience know that you have no idea of the answer to some of their questions. People will respect your honesty and understand that you are human. This is much better than rambling on trying to convince them you know what is going on when you don’t.
Stay away from alcoholic drinks prior to speaking. Even though this might feel like a confidence boost, usually it only makes things much worse. Nothing will ruin a speech faster than forgetting your lines, and that’s exactly what will occur if you imbibe in a few drinks.
When you know ahead of time that you will be speaking in public, dress appropriately. You can dress down if you are speaking to a group of children at a summer camp, but dress more formally if you are making remarks at a business luncheon. Avoid flashy colors and distracting accessories. You want the audience to pay attention to your message rather than to your clothing or jewelry.
After your speech is written, do many practice runs so that you nearly memorize it. Practice it while you are looking into a mirror and try using different hand gestures or facial expressions that help to make your points. Ask your friends and relations to listen to your speech and provide feedback. They can add suggestions for improvements.
Prior to giving your actual speech, practice it in front of a loved one. When you are done, ask them which parts of the speech are fine and which parts need some improvement. You may even want to read it to a few people. This feedback can help improve your speech.
Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages prior to making your speech even if they are available at the event at which you are speaking. While alcohol may relax you, you do not want to appear inebriated when you make your speech. You may forget what you want to say, slur your speech, inadvertently insult someone or even become sick in the midst of speaking if you drink too much. Save the liquor for your post-speech celebration.
Tell a joke to break the ice. A joke can help calm your jittery nerves. Additionally, a well timed joke will allow your audience to relax and see you for who your really are. However, be aware that telling too many jokes can make your audience not believe anything you say.
Try to find humor in the situation if things do not go as planned. There are many variables when you speak in public, which means that there are many opportunities for things to go wrong. The microphone or projector may not work, there may be an interruption in power or someone may enter the room in the midst of your speech. Try to take things in stride. Taking things too seriously can result in you having a meltdown, so try to laugh off any issues that may arise.
Consider your appearance. The audience is not likely to listen to you when your state of dress or grooming skills are distracting. Consider your audience when you think about what you are going to wear. Suits work well in for most speeches, but consider something more casual when speaking to younger audiences.
Keep things in perspective. Things do not always go as planned, but that does not necessarily mean that your speech is not effective or well-received. Whether you trip over a cord or forget your next line, it is not the end of the world. If you do not make a big deal of it, most people will probably not even remember that it happened. Regain your poise, and continue with your speech.
To help still your nerves, imagine you are an audience member. If the person making the speech made an error, would you laugh at them? Would you think the speaker wasn’t good? If you happen to make a mistake in your speech, don’t let it get to you. You will be more upset with yourself than your audience will be.
As stated above, you need to have the right speaking skills if you want to address a crowd and make an impact. Sometimes, the opportunity to speak publicly arises unexpectedly. Be ready when ever the need for a speech arises by following the helpful and simple tips listed above.