Be prepared. Your audience is giving you their time and consideration, so rehearse enough to be confident you’ll leave a good impression.
- Organise your speech in a logical sequence: opening, main points, summary.
- Start strong. Begin your speech with a powerful opening that will grab your audience’s attention, such as a startling fact or statistic, an interesting story or a funny joke.
- Be conversational. Avoid reading your speech word for word. Instead, refer to notes or points from an outline to help your speech have a more free-flowing, conversational tone.
- Speak slower, pause more. Speak at a somewhat slower rate than usual, with pauses to underscore important points.
- Speak with passion. If you’re truly invested in what you’re saying, you’ll be better able to keep your audience’s attention. Use your voice colourfully.
- Eye contact establishes an immediate bond with an audience, especially when a speaker focuses in on individual listeners rather than just gazing over the audience as a whole.
- Use gestures, body & facial expression. Practise using your hands naturally on important words. Try putting some verbs in to action by physically acting them out with the hands, face or entire body.
- Be patient. It’s easy to get frustrated if you make a mistake. But remember that public speaking is not easy and it takes time to hone your skills. Keep practising and you will reach your goals.
- Practice and rehearse a speech frequently prior to delivering it. Ask friends to be your audience, or practice in front of a mirror. Be sure to use a timer to help you pace your speech.