Tips on Public Speaking

These tips on public speaking are great for novice public speakers as well as an excellent refresher for accomplished speakers working with new material or a new audience. Keep them handy as you hone your message and your speech.

Know Your Topic
Whatever you plan on speaking publicly about, make sure you know your topic. This not only helps your confidence, it helps you lengthen your speech in an emergency. It will also help with any question and answer periods. Best of all, if you get lost while speaking, you'll know how to expand on any topic and keep talking.

Know Your Audience
Different audiences are going to be expecting different things from your public speaking. Make sure you know exactly who your audience will be and what they expect. A business speech, for example, is going to need to be much longer and technical than a speech for kindergarteners. Targeting your audience expectations will help make your speech a huge success.

Practice Makes Perfect
Always practice your public speaking before actually speaking in public. Gather your friends or family around and practice your speech with them. This will help you get into a rhythm and ease your nerves. You will also be able to get honest feedback from your audience on what improvements you need to make.

Speak Clearly and Loudly
Nothing destroys a good speech like the audience not being able to hear or understand it. Make sure you speak clearly, enunciating the sounds so people will understand. Also make sure you speak loudly enough, without shouting, so that the entire room can hear what you're saying. 

Make Eye Contact
Nothing can deaden the impact of your speech like lack of eye contact. You want to be looking up and out, projecting your voice and enthusiasm, into the audience. When you're looking down, you're projecting the speech into the podium.

Use Body Language
The most captivating speeches are where the speaker walks while they talk, or at least moves around some. Standing still tends to make your speech very formal and stilted. You want a more conversational tone and attitude towards the audience. Hand gestures and moving around some will help loosen you up and put you in a more conversational mood. 

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