If you are new to public speaking it is a good idea for you to attend some professional public speaking presentations or demonstrations so that you can experience what is involved. By watching other speakers in action, you will start to get some idea of what it takes to present a good speech in public.
Watching other people speaking also helps to take some of the fear out of speaking in public. If you study their actions, movements and the way they operate, you will pick up tips that may help you get started, and make you feel more comfortable about yourself.
Once you are ready to do some public speaking yourself, it is a good idea to join a group or become a member of a club. Not only will you get the benefit of watching others speaking, but you will also get the opportunity to practice yourself.
Remember that a successful public speaking presentation does not happen by accident. To be successful you need to:
o Prepare thoroughly.
o Practice frequently.
o Present thoughtfully.
Being thoroughly prepared is the first secret to successful public speaking. Choose a topic and prepare the outline of your speech. Make sure it is a topic that is relevant to the audience you will be addressing as well as appropriate for the occasion. Remember that people in an audience are there to listen to you. Whether your speech is informative, persuasive or entertaining, they hope to get something from you.
Another thing to remember is that the better you know your subject, the easier talking about it will be. Research the topic thoroughly, even if it is something close to your heart. Then make notes with key words that will help you remember your line of thought. Generally it is best not to work from a speech that has been written out because reading is less spontaneous (as is reciting a speech learned off-by-heart) and because you have to concentrate on the written word, it makes it more difficult to connect with the audience.
Practice makes perfect irrespective of what it is you are doing. For example, actors practice, sportsmen and women practice — and good public speakers and presenters practice too. But with public speaking, it is not so much about getting the words right. It is more about getting used to the process and feeling at ease with yourself. Having said that, it never hurts to practice an introduction word-for-word to make sure you get off on the right foot. It is a bit like a kick start that helps to get one going, and seems to help overcome stage fright.
If you have prepared thoroughly and practiced frequently, you will be alright. Relax. Breathe deeply. Even professionals who have spoken in public hundreds of times get nervous. Once you get into your presentation it will seem to dissolve.
Think about what you are saying. Speak slowly and make eye contact with your audience. Remember to breathe.
If you leave something out that you wanted to say, leave it. If you get the opportunity to add it in later, do so. But do not interrupt your thought processes to backtrack. If it is something important that your audience wanted to know, they can ask you later.