10 tips for great public speaking

10 tips for great public speaking

If I could just say a few words…I’d be a better public speaker. 

Homer Simpson

Captivate, compel and communicate clearly next time you give a talk. Here are 10 tested steps to help you become a better presenter, and to truly do justice to your topic.

1. Know your audience. Do they have background information or are they lay people you’ll need to bring up to speed before you can explain your work? When presenting, one size certainly won’t fit all.

2. Write down three take home messages. These will dictate the path of your talk.

3. Power of voice rather than PowerPoint? Too often slides are simply speaker cue cards displayed to all. Consider standing out from the crowd by standing out from the crowd and speaking to them without the distraction of bullet points. Consider printing those bullet points on cards to keep you on course.

4. If tip 3 is too daunting, or if you have graphics and images essential to your talk, use PowerPoint or an equivalent. If you must use bullet points, employ a font size of at least 24 point. There are some helpful rules at http://tinyurl.com/oxumkqq.My rule is no more than 1 slide per minute.

5. Plan your talk. Use the dictum of ‘tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you have told them’. Repetition is good. Repetition is good.

6. Create your index cards or slides.

7. Shut your door, note the time, take a deep breath and practice your talk. Actually practicing the talk like this is the best way I know to increase polish and reduce nerves. On the day, you’re likely to speak for longer than during your practice session. Double-practice your opening and closing statements.

8. Fine tune the presentation as necessary based on your practice.

9. On the day, arrive at the venue in plenty of time. Don’t forget your cue cards, USB stick or laptop.

10. Imagine yourself confidently striding to the lectern, facing the audience, pausing to make eye contact and then confidently starting. Now do it.

Date Posted:

November 2, 2015