Public Speaking Tips

Public Speaking stage

Public Speaking! The idea sends shivers down the back of most Americans. In a public survey that was done it was found that the number one fear of those who reside in the USA was, drumroll please, public speaking. Right behind public speaking was the fear of death. I was shocked to find this out but it is a true statistic that was conducted. Personally I’d rather choose from a list of public speaking topics and prepare a presentation than have to die.

But what is it about public speaking that people fear? Is it the fear of an audience of eyes all focused on one person, you? Or could it simply be that we fear messing up in what is supposed to be a serious and professional act? It’s probably a mixture of these things. And for each person and situation it does differ.

However public speaking is not as scary as we perceive it to be. In fact, most who speak publicly on a structured subject can’t wait to give their next speech. A gratifying feeling can result from those who bury their fear of public speaking and grab the bull by the horns.

Your first experience with public speaking might not turn out to be the professional outing that you had hoped for. Possibly it could even turn out to be a complete failure in your own eyes. Really that is not the case. If you in your own eyes fail completely the only way to go is up. Here’s another public speaking tip. Think positively not negatively about your public speaking. If you can make an improvement in your next speech that’s something to be positive about. Nobody starts as a perfect speaker. Much practice goes into becoming a good public speaker. Many good public speaker’s will tell you they were not born with the gift. It was something that they had to work hard at to acquire.

So the key that we will look to focus on is practicing before you speak publicly. I’m reminded of a former president who spoke publicly and his words seriously were tearjerker’s. How is he able to do this? His secret was practicing his speech over and over again to rid himself of public speaking anxiety. That’s something that all public speakers have to do.

Here’s the goal of our site… Simply put, it’s to help you to master the fear of public speaking and become better at it. You’ll learn things like how to be a master at illustrations. True you or no one else will be able to completely get over the fear or become the most eloquent speaker but by focusing on these elements we’ll be able to control our fear and become even better at the quality of public speaking.

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Learning the Art of Public Speaking

Public speaking is an art form just as singing or playing a musical instrument is. An aspiring public speaker must make use of the learning tools and strategies available to him or her. Effective public speaking requires confidence, wisdom and the ability to persuade people. The following are some tips for learning the art of public speaking:

Taking Public Speaking Classes

Public speaking classes can be a good way for a person to learn how the public speaking process. Such classes can teach a person the right posture to have during a public speaking event. The course can teach the speaker how to build self-confidence, as well. A prospective public speaker can learn through an online course or a public speaking tutor. The courses are inexpensive, and they can help to develop the individual into a refined speaker.

Building Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is the core of learning how to speak publicly. The public speaker needs to feel the strength of his or her words captivate the crowd. A public speaker can build self-confidence by using methods such as affirming oneself daily, notating strengths and good qualities, exercising, eating healthy meals and sleeping the right amount of hours.

Learning the Art of Persuasion

The art of persuasion comes with having knowledge of a topic and an honest demeanor. A person can persuade an audience if he or she can look audience members in the eye and speak from the heart. Sincerity is necessary to achieve successful persuasion. Audiences can sense fear and dishonesty. Therefore, the speaker will want to alleviate the fear before the time arises to give the speech.

The best way to alleviate fear is to recognize that audience members are humans, and no one person in the audience is a better human being than the speaker is. An old piece of advice for public speaking is to imagine the audience members in their underwear. While the speaker does not necessary have to take the advice literally, he or she could still remove the audience members from a mental pedestal in the same manner.

Writing and Practicing

The most important part of performing a flawless public speech is writing the speech. The speaker must then memorize the words in the speech and practice with a close family member or friend. The practice will give the speaker the confidence that he or she needs to push through the event and come out of it with experience and skill.

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Public Speaking Tips for First Time Speakers

Public speaking can be a frightening experience for someone who has never performed the task. An event that includes a large group of people can be excessively nerve-racking. Some individuals have morbidly shy or anxious personalities, and other people fear the unknown. Some persons may have an underlying fear of making a mistake and having someone ridicule them. The following are some effective tips for conquering the anxiety and speaking in front of a group: 

Prepare the Speech Early

Early preparation is crucial when a person needs to give a public speech. The speaker should create a rough draft of the speech with a pen and paper and then transform it into a neatly typed script. The speaker will then want to memorize the speech until reciting it becomes second nature.

Practice With a Close Friend or Family Member

A close friend or family member can help a nervous speaker to prepare for the emotional aspect of talking in front of other people. In fact, practicing the speech in front of many family members might help even more than doing it with just one family member will. The members can critique the speech and let the person know weak areas that he or she needs to perfect before the big day.

Wear Glasses

Wearing non-prescription glasses to give a public speech may sound silly, but they can provide a soothing mental barrier and a sense of security for a nervous person. Additionally, glasses can make the speaker appear to have an extra helping of intelligence.

Visualize Everyone in His or Her Underwear—but Not Really

Literal visualization of every audience member in his or her underwear is unnecessary. However, the speaker should keep in mind that every member of the audience is a human being just as he or she is a human being. If the person does make a mistake during the speech, the audience will not crucify the person for it. In fact, they may not even notice.

Focus on an Object

Another trick that a nervous first-time public speaker can use is the focus trick. The person can select a distant object such as a picture, a door or an empty chair in the back of the room. The person can focus on that so that no eye contact with the audience occurs. The audience members will not realize that the person is not looking at them, and the speaker will remain calm, cool and collected.

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Professional Grade: Best public speakers don’t over think this art form

The really good Major League Baseball hitters will tell you that when they are on top of their game, a 95 mile per hour fast ball looks like it is moving in slow motion. That art form centers on focus, hand eye coordination and simplifying and slowing down the game.

Great public speakers, the ones that tend not to over think their own game, do the same thing when it comes to getting up in front of a crowd and delivering a home run as far as their speech is concerned.

Public speaking takes patience and practice, and the ones who call themselves professionals at this implement both of those, along with focusing on simply getting their point across and understanding everything from time parameters and the audience that is present.

At the core of superb public speaking are those who start with the message they want to convey and build the speech around that sole point. Struggling to speak in public often can be traced back to not being prepared or having a speech that is erratic or off point, rather than focusing on one point or an overall theme and driving that point home.

Public speaking also is about being passionate about the topic at hand and including personal stories or messages to drive the point home. Nothing derails public speaking like a robotic tone or looking as though you’re reading directly from a script or prepared speech.

Instead, write down key talking points and recall specific examples or tangible evidence or experience that you can relate back to the topic in order to make the speech more realistic and pertinent to the audience.

What often frustrates people who feel as though they should be good public speakers but aren’t is their inability to take their knowledge and expertise and relate it to their audience. Let’s say you’re an electrical engineer and you’re speaking to fellow colleagues at a conference; in that case, you can fill your speech with as much technical jargon as you please.

If that same speech is delivered to aspiring college students hoping to fill those occupational shoes one day, you might have to tone down and temper your delivery and content. The same applies to salespeople. Speaking publicly to potential clients should feel and sound a lot different than giving a speech to your manager about a possible marketing campaign.

The group of public speakers that excel at what they do take all of the aforementioned variables into consideration before they even pen their first word of their speech. Having that type of preparedness and poignancy is what separates the professionals from those only posing as potentially legendary public speakers.

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Habit Forming: Turning around your public speaking woes starts with correcting the bad

Public speakers know, without much doubt, whether they’re exceptional at addressing a group or flat out awful in front of people.

For those that struggle with public speaking, however, you have to wonder if they know exactly what they’re doing wrong and, more importantly, how to fix it. Some who are fearful of public speaking will tell you that they’re bad simply because they’re terrified. That isn’t exactly an easy problem to overcome, aside from knowing your subject matter inside and out and spending your free time practicing the speech in front of a mirror or friends.

In this case, however, the bad focuses more on public speakers that actually have had practice speaking and consider themselves competent but just not compelling. Case in point with those who are more bad than good when it comes to public speaking: the angry talker.

This person tends to talk to the audience like they’re the expert without question and the audience should be grateful that they’re gracing you with their presence. The speaking tends to border on a cadence that you’d hear from a drill sergeant rather than an accomplished, savvy and tactful speaker.

When you’re talking to a group, you should treat them as though they’re part of the speech, rather than a meaningless variable to what you’re saying. Knowing the group dynamic as you’re putting the speech together also will go a long way toward a captive audience versus one that can’t wait until you’re finished talking.

As long as you’re trying to fine tune your public speaking, you also need to focus on your delivery and pacing. Far too often public speakers tend to rush through a speech because they know the information so well and don’t want to leave anything out. Omitting information is quite different than overloading your audience with too much to digest over a certain period of time.

Be a superb editor and make your speech fit over an allotted amount of time, rather than squeezing in more than is needed. Once you have that speech pared down to something more manageable, you won’t feel as though you need to race through it.

Finally, technology often is a godsend as far as being able to masterfully craft a speech that includes visual cues. But technology isn’t always your best friend when you’re speaking public, particularly if you have a penchant for always checking emails or text messages of your phone or tablet. Anyone who considers themselves a savvy, smart speaker leaves their gadgets in the office or the car, anywhere really where they won’t be a distraction.

What is your audience supposed to think if you’re asking them to pay attention, and you’re not? They’ll tune you out since that is what you’re doing to them.

Being a public speaker that sparkles takes time, patience and poise. Knowing where your shortcomings are as well certainly will help, too.

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Taming Your Fear of Public Speaking

Over the years, the term glossophobia has come to represent the fear of public speaking. Something about the idea of being judged by a room full of people makes people cringe at the idea of public speaking. Unfortunately, speaking in public is an essential part of some jobs. A teacher, a salesperson, a television reporter, and a motivational speaker will have to place himself or herself in that vulnerable position many times. You may have to speak in front of the public one day, as well. The following are tips that you can use to tame your fear: 

Face Your Worst Fear First

The key to grabbing hold of phobias is figuring out where they originate. Ask yourself why you are afraid of public speaking. You may be afraid to speak in public for a variety of reasons including previous disaster, fear of the unknown, and judgment. Be honest with yourself and ask yourself what the worst possible outcome is. Imagine that happening, and then deal with the associated emotions immediately. That way, you will have experience going through a “crisis” before your big day. If the unrealistic fear comes true, you will have already gone through it, and it will not affect you in any way.

Practice in Front of Close Family and Friends

Another way you could reduce your nervousness is by practicing in front of your dearest friends and family members. You could arrange a practice speech in a public place such as your local park or City Hall to simulate your speech venue. Your family members can critique elements of your speech such as your volume, posture and enthusiasm. Going through it with your loved ones and perfecting it beforehand is an excellent way to avoid a speech-day tongue freeze.

Remember That They Are Just People

The best tactic for reducing anxiety during public speaking is to remember that your audience consists of human beings. An age-old method of reducing anxiety involves imagining your audience members in their underwear. You may not want to use that method, but you can create a similar process. Everyone in the audience has made a mistake in the past. Imperfection is allowed in the human race. Therefore, you are allowed to be imperfect.

You will become accustomed to public speaking as you acquire more practice giving speeches. The first time is always the most stressful time, but you must be patient with yourself. Soon, you will be a champion.

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Winging it: Why public speaking always needs a plan

Think back to when you had to deliver a speech in high school or perhaps even college. Last night’s workload and assignments got the better of you, and time somehow slipped through your grasp and it is suddenly two in the morning. Worse yet, you haven’t prepared for your speech for the following day.

Not to worry, because you’re about to utter the three words that have been around for ages: “I’ll wing it.”

When you were in middle school or high school even, taking center stage in front of the room, minus note cards, paperwork or power point presentations may have sufficed at that educational level. You can only say so much about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln that hasn’t already been said, right?

Most of what you can jog from your memory is satisfactory, but that mentality doesn’t fly nearly as well once you reach college and, more specifically, the working world. Public speaking is easily one of the more feared and difficult tasks that anyone can be asked to carry out.

Even the most prolific and studios of public speakers will tell you that preparation is just as important as poise and delivery when it comes to giving a speech that is equal parts memorable and effective. For reasons unknown, however, the masses might take to public speaking in the office or board room the same way they did in the classroom, and leave their planning on the proverbial back burner.

This thinking hardly would be conceived as advisable.

As taxing and stressful as public speaking can be, you always want to lay out a game plan or outline of how you’d like your speech to be constructed, highlight the finer points of the topic and find a prudent and powerful way to close.

How you determine the parameters of your prep time totally is dependent on the level of understanding you have on your topic at hand and just how comfortable you are speaking publicly. Chances are the latter isn’t your strong suit, so your preparation could consist of practicing the speech in a mirror or simply reading it over several times.

If you’ve just received a promotion, for example, and have been hand picked to deliver a speech to your peers, you may decide to brush up on the technical or finer points, along with practicing the actual speech.

No matter your skill level when it comes to public speaking, practice makes perfect. But don’t overlook the value of preparation as it pertains to feeling much more comfortable while speaking.

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Laugh it off: Speaking publicly needs to be fun first

What’s the first thing a person will tell you when you’re about to speak publicly to a group or in front of a decent amount of people?

“Picture everyone in their underwear.”

That advice probably gave you a laugh but never really took it as gospel when it comes to public speaking, which easily is viewed as one of the harder and more stressful endeavors for the general population.

But expert speakers or others that have stumbled but now flourish with their speaking ability will tell you that the “underwear” advice isn’t all that farfetched or off when it comes to combating your fears of standing in front of an audience and delivering a speech that is mindful, tactful and professionally done.

Behind the advice of picturing everyone in their underwear or staring into the crowd and giving everyone looking at you a tomato for a head makes perfect sense when you get past the silliness. The idea behind this way of thinking simply points to fun as the great equalizer to fluff off any fear you might have about public speaking.

A speech most likely isn’t going to make or break a career per say, suggesting that you probably don’t need to put as much pressure on yourself as you think. Unless you’re about to accept the position of President of the United States of America, you probably could afford to dial down the stress you’re putting on yourself.

The other important aspect of public speaking when it comes to taking it less serious is remembering ultimately why you’re giving the speech in the first place. You clearly were selected for a reason, whether that means you know your stuff or come across to the person that picked you as a competent, well-spoken individual.

You need to remember that as you’re not only writing your speech but also delivering it. The people in the audience are looking to you as an expert, so you can simply rely on what you know, rather than trying to do too much with this lone speech.

What some would be public speakers do is take this honor and transform it into a stressful undertaking rather than just putting together a topic that you clearly know and relaying that information calmly and efficiently, as if you were just talking to a fellow employee or casually with your boss or supervisor.

It’s perfectly fine, as well, to infuse a little humor into your speech but don’t turn it into a standup comedy special, either. Humor often makes the situation of public speaking more stressful because you’re trying too hard to be funny and fail miserably.
Instead, turn the humor around and use the “underwear” mentality and fall back on your expertise. That combination will create an atmosphere that will have you not only speaking well but waiting for the next opportunity to strut your stuff.

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PUBLIC DISPLAY: Dissecting your speaking woes will only help your cause

Everyone knows an all too familiar experience they’ve had with public speaking.

You forgot someone’s name.

You froze halfway through your speech.

You made a few jokes; no one laughed.

Whatever piece of public speaking didn’t work for you, or if you’re just overtly terrified of the act itself, you may find yourself at one time or another faced with this task. And chances are if you’re asked to do it once, you’ll be doing it again.

That fact makes honing your public speaking skills all the more paramount, but you won’t get good or even great at this art form unless you’ve actually paid attention to what you’re doing wrong. Call it giving yourself constructive criticism or just flat out figuring out what ails you and working diligently to fix it.

For example, if you’re last speech tanked because you didn’t really properly pander to the right audience, then that should send you back to the drawing board with plenty of realistic ammunition in mind. Anyone with the knowledge and wherewithal to write a speech about a particular subject shouldn’t lose sight of exactly who they’re speaking to at any given moment.

If you’re working on Wall Street, and consider yourself a top investment person, but you’re speaking to novices in the field, you might want to adjust the speech accordingly. If you’d consider the group colleagues first, then adding some financial jargon is perfectly kosher.

Resting on your acumen in a given subject matter appears to be sound advice but could be trouble if you overlook your audience.

Public speaking ultimately boils down to truly knowing your strengths and weaknesses before you stand in front of an audience and putting yourself in position to use them to their fullest extent. Your sense of humor might not be your strong suit so why piece together a speech filled with jokes? If you know your subject inside and out, use that to your advantage without sounding too robotic and canned as a result.

In any event and a rule that applies to all would be public speakers is to find a baseline or main thesis and adhere to it. Far too many speeches have little or no central theme and instead sound way too random to be coherent.

No matter what your fault is when it comes to speaking public, you’re still fully capable to rectify the situation if you can figure out exactly what’s wrong and work toward fixing it.

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GOING PUBLIC: Is speaking publicly best learned from a coach?

Good coaches make great players, right? But does that same rule apply to public speaking?

That mentality permeates through sports almost exclusively when you think back to that little league coach who taught you how to fine tune your swing or that basketball assistant that transformed your off centered jump shot into something spectacular.

Discussing coaching transitions seamlessly in sports related discussions more so than any other genre. But what about coaching when it comes to something such as public speaking? Is that idea a stroke of genius or an easy way to waste your money on a skill that you can learn on your own?

There’s varying ways to decipher whether your poor public speaking can be fixed by a professional in the same way a football coach helps a quarterback with delivering a tighter spiral. Ironically, public speaking is similar to sports in that both are art forms that take a dedicated pupil and plenty of practice. Some will argue that public speakers, much like athletes, are born with a skill and innate ability that coaching is a moot point; you either have it or you don’t, and practicing on your own is plenty. Coaches might take a different stance, and claim that they can mold just about anyone will desire and the will to achieve into something more than just mediocrity.

Naturally, any coach no matter the forum will defend what they do. And there’s nothing wrong with hiring someone to teach you the fine art of public speaking, but that proposition is equal parts costly and somewhat unnecessary. Public speaking certainly has its finer points, but it differs from sports in one very distinct way.

Sports often is about being the best. Public speaking for the general public is about being good enough to get by, a sentiment you don’t hear in sports. With that, coaching in public speaking seems more like overkill than necessity. Most of what you can learn and practice in regard to public speaking is about picking up the basics and implementing aspects such as standing in front of a mirror, knowing your topic and making sure you’re pronouncing words correctly. Those types of intricacies are more about practicing repetitively rather than having that imparted on you through teaching.

The teaching aspect seems appropriate if public speaking is something you’ll be doing day in, day out as part of your career. That type of pressure and would be poise when speaking should include a professional by your side.

For everyone else, you’ll be just fine flying solo.

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PRIVATELY PRACTICING: Speaking publicly starts privately with exercises

What’s the best method to fine tune any particular method or skill? Practice, of course.

So when you think about public speaking and just how daunting of a task that is to the masses, you can argue that it is no different than working your way toward being a professional athlete or wowing an audience with a magic act or juggling routine.

Simply put, the old adage of “practice makes perfect” applies when it comes to speaking in public. But often when fear supersedes a willingness to even try, practice becomes a moot point. That terror that washes over your entire body before you’re about to speak to the public isn’t something that can go away unless you begin to coach yourself into believing you can accomplish what you thought was impossible.

So, how exactly can that be done? If you aren’t ready to practice a full-fledged speech, try a few smaller, building block type exercises to slowly but surely reach the goal of, at the very least, being competent at public speaking, as opposed to the guy or girl at work that no one is ever going to ask to control the room as part of a meeting.

Public speaking is an essential component for the majority of business people or those who rely on communication skills to better their career standing and eventually move on at their workplace. Being able to effectively do it could be the difference between thousands of dollars a year in your salary.

Even if you hate the idea of learning how to speak publicly, keep in mind the exercises you start to implement isn’t so much about being a 10 out of 10 but just good enough to be asked to lead an important conversation.

What exactly are these exercises? You can cross pushups and sit ups off your list; this isn’t about necessarily shaping and toning your body but rather building confidence and actually learning how to speak aloud. You especially need to understand the difference between projecting and speaking, the latter is something you do at an arm’s length but projecting is the art of speaking loudly and clearly so that your voice carries, but not to be confused with yelling. Nothing gets a speech off to a rockier and scarier start than having someone in the audience tell you to “speak up.”

And as long as you’re learning how to talk louder, you must really rehearse the speech and learn how to pronounce the worlds correctly. If you’re going to quote a Chinese proverb to sound as though you’re intelligent make sure your wisdom isn’t the see through kind.

No one ever expects to be amazing at public speaking, unless of course that is their chosen profession or they’ve tried hard to at least make what they do above and beyond just adequate or passable with just a bit of practice in the form of viable voice exercises.

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