Friday, June 24, 2016

Dos & Don’ts of Public Speaking

public speakingMost likely, you will have to make a public speech at some point in your career. To some public speaking comes naturally; but for most, it is a struggle must be overcome through rigorous preparation and contemplation. Public speeches are nerve-wracking, however, they are equally as empowering, more so as your audience gets bigger. When it is your time to give a public speech it is important you understand that you have been tasked with delivering a message, and you must do so as effectively as possible. Start by figuring out what message you want to deliver and then enhance the strength of that message.

There are subtleties that can both improve your speech/message, or weaken it. Not everyone was born to deliver a Martin Luther King caliber speech but there are steps you can take to avoid speech catastrophe and at minimum deliver the message you were tasked to give. 


Verbal communication is only half the battle when it comes to public speaking. Body language is key to purvey a message effectually. You wouldn’t slouch and mumble with your head down when telling someone that you just got engaged, Would you? Posture promotes poise and you will look much more confidant than you may feel in the moment. Also move with purpose. Gestures assist with communicating a message with emphasis and enthusiasm.

The most obvious tip is the most crucial, Prepare, prepare, and prepare again. Practice makes perfect is not just a saying, it is the truth. Rarely does someone give a speech they haven’t read and edited many times over. Read it aloud, read it to a smaller, more personal, audience, read it until you do not need to read it. The term is not, public reading, it is public speaking. Reading distracts from eye contact that you must try to maintain with your audience during your speech. Also, the more familiar you are with your speech the less you will utter words like “Umm” and “Like.” Refrain from introducing sentences with “So” and ending them with “OK?” Instead, replace those words with, other, more sophisticated sounding transitional phrases.

Tell a Story. You should personalize your speech with a story that would relate to your message and describe why you are the most qualified to give that speech. Your story should evoke emotion with vivid imagery. You should know your audience well and know what specific emotions to arouse. Your story should also make people laugh, but not with jokes. Your story should be authentic and assist in delivering your essential message. People are there to see you, so they should like to see your personality shine through as well.

unspoken communication
Use Adrenaline to your advantage. Anxiety may cause you to fidget, stutter, quiver, and get your mind racing. This is just the excess adrenaline coming out. Turn it into energy to boost your speech. Speak loud and clearly, mind your speed, and pause when appropriate. Use Gestures to help get out that extra adrenaline and add emphasis and infliction to your speech. But avoid the typical public speaking rhetoric. It is boring, unnecessary and forgettable.

Don’t apologetically intro a topic with, “Just real quick,” “Briefly” or similar phrases, this only insinuates that the following is insignificant, and if you aren’t brief you become a liar as well. Your speech should be as brief or as long as is required of you. Do not exceed your time limit, include questions (if applicable) to that limit.


PowerPoint is a nice tool to use but can be easily mishandled. If you do decide to use PowerPoint, use with caution. For another alternative to PowerPoint, check out Prezi. It has a much more creative and interesting platform that helps captivate audiences with visual appeal. Whichever platform you use for your presentation, keep words to a minimum and replace them with charts, graphs and images. Expect that your audience can read too, but wont want to. They are there to listen to you, not read your typed up speech. If you have a laser pointer, keep use to a minimum, the laser will distract everyone from everything else like cats. And when answering questions, do not fumble through your slides in order to find an answer, chances are they aren’t there, and if it is, you should already know the answer.

public speaking
Lastly, relax, and prepare for the worst. Have water nearby to save you from a nervously dry mouth. Have written notes that will keep you on base with your message, make sure your equipment is working properly, do a test run if possible.

For help in communicating your message, please contact us at Spotlight Publicity for a free consultation.