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6 Effective Public Speaking Tips

Updated on April 9, 2013

Public speaking fear is one of the most commonly reported concerns across all ages.

Here are some public speaking tips that can help children and adults conquer their fears and improve their public speaking skills.

Practice Speaking First About Something You Know

For starters, providing casual practice session opportunities talking about something the speakers already know can help a lot.

In a school, every assignment for public speaking would profit by starting with a day or two when each kid picks a topic on an everyday activity and presents it before their peers. It may be a story about a sport they play or an explanation of a daily routine. The familiarity makes the speaking the learning experience fun and easy.

Thoroughly Know Your Subject Matter

This suggestion applies both to adults and to kids. Even before you begin writing your speech, take all the time and effort necessary to understand everything possible about the topics of your public speaking activities.

The more you learn and know about a topic, the more comfortable you will be when you finally stand in front of others to explain and expand upon the subject.

Keep the Subject and Length Age Appropriate

Although adults may be required to talk about a range of topics and will sometimes be speaking for many minutes or even hours, public speaking for kids needs to be tailored for their age and ability. If a broad set of public speaking topics need to be addressed by students or young people, consider breaking up the speaking assignment into smaller topics so that it is not overwhelming.

Practice like You Play, Rehearse like You Will Speak

It is an old sport adage that an athlete needs to practice the same way that he or she will play. The same thing is true when preparing for a speech or other public speaking activities. Take the time to create an environment similar to that of your public speaking venue when you are rehearsing.

Try to find a mirror or think about taping yourself so you can see how you present yourself. Probably the most important piece of advice is to speak using a relaxed, slow and smooth delivery, even when rehearsing.

Know Your Speaking Space

Nothing eliminates anxiety more quickly than familiarity. This applies not only to your public speaking topic and actual presentation, but also to the place you will present. If at all possible, visit the place where you will be speaking. Check for possible issues and concerns like stairs and tricky microphones.

Figure out where you should stand and what to do while awaiting your turn, if it is a competition. Arrange for adaptations if you are a very tall or very short speaker. Try out the technology if a computer or projector is a part of the plan.

Relax Just Prior to the Speech

Maybe the worst thing you can do immediately before speaking is to keep running your speech over and over in your head or even continuing to rehearse in your room or office. A better approach is to read, watch some television, play a game, or anything that relaxes you. Take a walk, or take a nap.

You know yourself best - work off nerves, or take deep breaths to find your center. Walk up to the podium with something fresh and new to share, and you will have the audience in the palm of your hand.


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