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Tips for Public Speaking

Updated on June 3, 2009

Tips for Public Speaking


The fear of speaking in public is common to most people. We tend to get stage fright, forget what to say or become really nervous and fidget a lot. I was the same way, I always hated getting up in front of a class and speaking. Now that I have taken a real Public Speaking class I have given 6 speeches. It was hard at first but it does get easier. I will share with you some tips on how to speak well in public.

Working on the Speech

Let’s start with the actual speech. The speech itself is just as important as the presentation. A well prepared speech will make it easier to present it to an audience. Before you write your speech it is important to know what the occasion is and what will the audience be like. You don’t want to give a speech about hip hop if you are speaking to the elderly. Just like you don’t want to give at celebration speech at a funeral (or maybe you do, depending on who died.) Just kidding. So know what the topic and occasion are for giving your speech, and know who the target audience is going to be. After that is done then you need to write the speech accordingly. Use words that your audience will understand. Try to avoid using technical and explain any unfamiliar terms to your audience. Keep your speech simple and flowing. You don’t want to suddenly change your words and tone because it may confuse people. Also try to keep in mind any questions or comments that the audience may have about your speech. It is good to know the potential feedback from the audience. Try to answer these questions in your speech.

Grabbing the Audiences Attention

Now with a speech you need to grab the audiences attention, so use words that give imagery about what you are talking about. Use things like alliteration and repetition. Alliteration is using words that start with the same sound, like the tongues twister, Peter Pepper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers, they all begin with the “puh” sound. Or another good one, She Sells Sea Shells down by the Sea Shore, it uses the “sh” an “sa” sounds. This use of alliteration will grab your audiences attention. Why is it important to have the audiences attention? Well if you are giving a speech to people that are paying attention you will feel more confident, like you are doing it right. As opposed to giving a speech to people that are not paying attention you may feel like you did something wrong and it’s your fault they are falling asleep. So you always want to have the audiences attention. Once you have completed your speech the last thing is to rehearse your speech many times, to yourself and to your friends or family. This allows you to catch any mistakes as well as practice presenting it. Make corrections if necessary but most importantly you need to know your speech and speak it like you know it and not like you are reading from it.

The Presentation

Okay so now that the speech is prepared and ready to be presented to the audience we will go over how to work on presenting the speech properly. When giving a speech you should have it almost memorized. You don’t want to be reading from the paper the whole time. You should only glance down to keep your place or to help you remember what to say. Eye contact is important for giving a speech, the audience wants to know that you are thinking about them. So like I said DO NOT read from the paper. Keep your head up and looking into the crowd. Make eye contact regularly. The next thing is to not show that you are nervous. Some signs are stumbling through a speech, mispronouncing words, taking lots of pauses, physical distractive manners, like moving your legs or arms and touching your face. All of these things should not be apparent and not distract your audience. They may think that you are nervous because you don’t know what your talking about. You do not want to give them this impression. So before you give a speech, take a few deep breaths and try to calm down. Do not eat any foods that will upset your stomach. Also do not starve yourself because a hungry belly will distract you. Stretching before a speech may help you to relax your muscles and not tense up. Another thing is you must know how to pronounce all of the words correctly. Also speak loud enough for your audience in the back to hear you and speak with confidence.

So those are so basic tips for giving a speech in public. Be confident in yourself and show that you know what you are talking about. The more you practice your speech and the more you know it inside and out and the better your presentation will be. Be aware of any nervous habits you may have and try to control them, if you feel an itch on your face, fight the urge to not itch it. Always remember to stay calm, speak at a regular pace and make eye contact. You should be fine if you follow all of these steps. The more prepared you are the more comfortable you will be in front of people.


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    • EcoAsh profile image

      EcoAsh 8 years ago from Hemet

      Thanks for the positive feedback. I was just going off of what my teacher told us to do. And what the book said to do.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 8 years ago from Canada

      Excellent hub! I am a member of a public speaking association, and what you have written is exactly what we follow. Excellent layout -- easy to follow, and if you follow it, it's guaranteed success!

    • tylermj23 profile image

      tylermj23 8 years ago from Roanoke, VA

      I just completed a Speech class this year, and your effective speech procedures are scarily similar to my profs methods! They do work! A great Hub!