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Computer Resources: Public Speaking

Public speaking often leaves even the calmest people anxious and jittery. This is often caused by the sensation of being watched and judged by others, or in some cases, when the presenter is not properly prepared. By preparing and practicing properly, presenters can give themselves an edge by becoming much more confident. Read on to find out how to prepare and deliver a speech with maximum impact.

No More Nerves

  • If possible, try practicing in the room (or one like it) where you will be delivering the final version.
  • Visualize yourself giving a wonderful presentation instead of a poor one.
  • By doing plenty of research and knowing all that you can about the topic of the speech, you will be much more confident.
  • Donít stress yourself out about the speech. You might even relieve some stress before the speech by doing a quick work out, meditating, or having a quiet cup of tea.
  • Focus on making the audience understand your message, rather than thinking about how you appear to them.

Create an Audience-Focused Speech

  • Set the tone of the speech according to the type of audience. This would take into account their profession, age group, and so on.
  • The setting for the presentation will add further context to the speech. A funeral speech would be very different from a wedding or a work conference.
  • Consider how much the audience might already know about the topic, and add sufficient background information for them.
  • If the audience is comprised of children, alter your tone and language so that they understand.
  • Avoid using jargon that the audience may not be familiar with.

Writing the Speech

  • Start by jotting down the reason that you are giving the speech. Throughout the process of writing the actual speech, this statement will help to keep you on track.
  • Create an outline of main points that the speech should address.
  • As you write the speech, include background information to help the audience understand points that they may not know about.
  • Flesh out each point of the speech one by one. Along the way, it may also help to collect graphs, images, or other visual data to display later.
  • Think of possible questions that the audience might have, and collect enough research or information to answer their queries.

Rehearsing Your Talk

  • Read through the speech from start to end to fine-tune it. Write down separate sections of the speech on flash cards.
  • When you begin to rehearse, use your flash cards and practice saying the speech aloud in front of a mirror.
  • Create an audio or video recording of yourself giving the speech. Watching or listening to ourselves can reveal a lot that we are not normally aware of.
  • Ask friends, family members or co-workers to act as a test audience as you rehearse. Take note of their feedback and work it into the next rehearsal.
  • Try to memorize the speech so that you donít have to constantly look at your notes.
  • If you will be using a microphone for the speech, practice with it so that you can get used to controlling the volume of your voice.

The Big Day

  • Take a sip of water before you start your speech. In case you are a bit nervous, this will help to solve the dry throat problem.
  • Before the speech, try to incorporate a little icebreaker to lighten the atmosphere and help you relate better to the audience.
  • Deliver your speech just as you did in the rehearsals: confidently, while speaking in a normal, relaxed manner.
  • It might help to imagine that you are speaking to a group of friends instead of strangers.
  • Feel free to move and gesture in a way that feels natural to you.
  • Keep your cue cards close at hand in case you need to consult them. Even if you donít refer to them, remove each card from the pack as you complete that segment of the speech.

Additional Resources

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