Speaking in public terrifies many people, and it terrified me up until a few years ago when I had to travel Birmingham and deliver a speech to 200 teachers and headteachers. I practised and rehearsed many times with t the people I spoke with, and I found that really helped me. This week I got to take part in a conference aimed at helping students become better learners. I was asked, along with my friend Charlotte, to run a workshop on public speaking.After the workshop this week, we came up with ten top tips for preparing to deliver a speech, and I’ll share them with you today:
1. Where do you start?
Start with three broad points you want to get across. This will help you structure your speech or talk. A good structure will ensure that you don’t repeat yourself, will make the speech easy for the audience to follow and will help you remember your speech.
2. When writing your speech, use a simple but standard vocabulary
Using simple but appropriate words will make sure that you don’t over complicate the speech this will help the audience understand your message, and well as making it easy for you to speak.
3. Familiarise yourself with the room you will be delivering your speech in.
When you make your speech you want to be as relaxed and as confident and you can be. By familiarising yourself with the room, you’ll be able to visualize your speech and presentation and this will help with your confidence.
4. Use cue cards.
They make you look professional and prepared, you have something to do with your hands & most importantly they help you remember your speech.
Rehearsal is key. A well-practiced speaker will feel more confident & will speak more fluently and this will help you engage with your audience.
Delivery of your speech
6. Talk to the audience rather than read your speech
A good public speaker will give the audience eye contact rather than just reading their speech. This is where rehearsal and cue cards help.
7. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problems
Since you are the only person who knows how your speech goes, the audience won’t realise if you miss something out.
8. Don’t be afraid to ad-lib
When you’re giving your speech and it feels natural to include something you haven’t written, it most likely will help the speech flow. This makes your speech more conversational, and this will maintain the audience’s attention.
9. Speak Slowly
When you start your speech it is likely that you will be a little nervous, and you may speak quickly to get your speech finished quickly. This won’t help you in the long run, as your audience may struggle to understand you, and you will be more likely to miss things or slip up.
10. Finish by inviting the audience to come and speak to you after the speech
Asking for questions may result in your speech or presentation just fizzling out, as the audience may be nervous to ask a question. A face-to-face conversation with interested audience members will be a more effective finish.