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How To Effectively Speak in Public

Updated on February 25, 2019

One of the most difficult issues faced by young growing up students is public speaking.

Each one of us has faced an inhibition at some point in our lives before coming to the forefront to speak in public. Some have their stomach tied up in knots at the thought of public speaking.

In this blog I have put forth some solutions to this problem.


There are certain points that one must always keep in mind before speaking in public. A few of them are suggested below:

1) Confidence is the key to effective public speaking. Many people shiver due to nervousness while speaking in public due to a lack of confidence. This includes young students who suffer from inferiority complex, fear of friends or fear of being mocked at.

So what's the trick?

You might have heard the pop wisdom that “a lie that is repeated a thousand times becomes truth” at some point in your life.

Before standing up on the stage, convince yourself that you are the best. This is the lie that you have to say to yourself. You might not be the best, but at that point of time you have to believe that you are the best. Believe this for some time that you are better than any one else seated over there. Count the good things about yourself and believe this lie for the time being or until you are done with your speech.

2) Eye contact

This is a simple yet powerful way to connect with the audience. A good eye contact can change passive listeners to active listeners.

When speaking in public, your eyes must focus on the audience. Your eyes should move from left to right and back to the centre of where your audience is seated. If you are unable to make eye contact then choose one person in the centre of the audience and fix your eyes on that person for 3 to 5 seconds. Be slow with your speech at this time and get back your confidence. Don't maintain eye contact with any person for too long as this would make that person feel uncomfortable. Don't look consistently at the wall, the window or your best friend sitting in the audience. In fact sometimes it's better to avoid glancing at that particular person who can falter your confidence.

You need to look at them in such a way that even though you are looking at all of them your concentration is on none of them. Your concentration should be on your speech. Don't let your focus drift from it.

3) Cover up

What if your concentration does drift? What if in the middle of the speech you forget the next line?

If that's the case, then you must cover up!

Don't let the audience know that you have forgotten the next line or the next word. Don't give a hint about this to them. At the same time you must not get nervous and lose track, as that would be tragic.

You can cover up in many ways. For example, you can ask a question relevant to whatever you were talking to them about. Then when you remember the next line, you can continue with your speech. If in case you do not remember your next line, then you can try to end your speech. But don't end it abruptly as it would appear odd. End the speech in a manner that the audience gets no hint about your error.

4) A good start

What starts well ends well. A good start promises the audience that your speech will be interesting. Moreover, what starts well grabs a lot of attention. The audience will concentrate on your speech if you start it well. It casts a good impression of your speaking skills. I would like to share a link that I found useful in this regard:

https://www.briantracy.com/blog/public-speaking/how-to-start-a-speech/amp/

5) Movement of hands

This depends on what you are speaking. If it is a speech that you are giving in public then let your hands be free. Your hand gestures should not be robotic. It should look natural. Don't bind your hands to give an impression that you are nervous. Let your hands move according to your speech. Your hand gestures will help the audience to listen and concentrate on your speech. It will also help you as a speaker to recollect essential points of your speech or get new insights into the subject matter of your talk. The movement of your hands can interact with the audience and reflect your inner confidence.


6) Posture and appearance

Stand straight and smartly. Your posture, appearance and movements must be lively. This helps the audience in maintaining interest in your speech. Do not stand with a bent back or sloppy hair and clothes. Don't appear gloomy, scared, sick or nervous. Even if you are nervous you must hide it effectively. Some daydreamers in the audience might just judge you on the basis of your posture and appearance.

7) Pace

Don't be too fast with your speech. If you are too fast then it would imply that you are less interested in speaking and that you want to finish it off fast. Move at a slow pace. Not too slow and yet not so fast that they can't understand your words or comprehend what you are suggesting. If you are too slow, then the audience might think that you are tired or wasting their precious time by taking longer than necessary. Similarly, if you are too slow, then it can also happen that the audience has forgotten the first part of your sentence by the time you reach the end of it.

8) Interact

If you don't want the audience to sleep through your speech then you must interact with them at regular intervals. Ask them questions. If they don't give an answer within a few seconds then you yourself answer it and proceed. This will atleast keep them awake throughout your speech.

9) Punctuate

Pause where you must pause. Where there's a full stop you must stop and adjust your tone of speech accordingly. Your tone of speech should not be monotonous.

10) Audible

Your words must be audible to the audience. They are there to listen. Don't speak a few words so softly that you alone can hear it. If you are inaudible then the audience can get impatient and angered. Respect the presence of the audience by speaking aloud.

11) Pronunciation

If you have already penned down your speech then check for the correct pronunciation of every word.

Nowadays, we also have good android applications for the same. So now you don't have many excuses for pronouncing words incorrectly! I found the following application quite beneficial for the same:

http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=livio.dictionary

Link for the offline application:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=livio.pack.lang.en_US

Similarly, dialect, tone and pitch which are also very essential in public speaking need to be focused upon and they improve overtime with practice.

12) Planning

Every successful concept and project in life requires a proper framework and planning . Plan what you want to speak. Note down the essential points, including how you'll start or end your speech. If you want to include some humor or interactive questions, then prepare it early. Before you stand to speak infront of the audience, all the essential points that you had noted down in your planning should be in your mind. If needed you can write the essential starting letters or key words of your speech on your palm as a sneak peek.

13) Greet and thank

Greet the audience at the start of your speech. Don't just randomly start speaking. When you greet them, a connection is automatically made between you and them. You have to develop on that connection as you continue with your speech. Similarly, end with a 'thank you'. It is your obligation to thank them for giving you their precious time by listening to you.

Also, remember to thank them with a broad smile on your face. It's your gesture of appreciation towards them and not an obligation.


At the end I'd like to state that a truly good speaker is the one whose talk interests the audience right from the start. He will be able to clearly convey his ideas and it will be well heard and understood by the audience. A good speaker would arouse liveliness in the audience and they'll be fully engaged in the talk. In this way, the talk would no longer remain a one-sided conversation, but would transform into a real vibrant talk.

© 2019 Lincy Francis

Comments

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    • Lincy Francis profile imageAUTHOR

      Lincy Francis 

      12 months ago from Allahabad

      Thank you Miss Dora

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Very helpful! Thanks for sharing these valuable tips. You answered many questions which beginners might ask.

    • profile image

      Esther 

      13 months ago

      Brilliant tricks!! Thanks... :)

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