Public speaking is something most people try to avoid and even dread. At times in my life, I have found myself having to deliver a speech, and therefore I needed to learn the best way of doing this. In this article, I write about what I learned from reading many books about public speaking, advice that has helped me to successfully deliver these speeches.
Many people get very nervous before and during their presentation or speech. This can have a negative effect on our breathing and can leave us out of breath. When you feel nervous it is a good idea to remember to take regular breaths when talking. In my opinion, you should be looking to breathe every six to eight words. The nerves will make our muscles contract and can make your chest feel really tight. This is a natural reaction, and it is a good idea to take a few deep breaths before starting your talk to help you to relax.
When you start your speech, I would ensure that you have a focal point in the room, which can act to give you inspiration. This could be a picture at the back of the room or a window. At times, you may lose your focus and may forget what you want to say. This focal point can help to get you back on track.
I try not to look at the eyes of the people in the audience when I give a public speech, as this can put me off. I want them to think that I am though, as it can be a sign of nerves if they think that I am not able to. What I tend to do is to look at an area on their forehead which obviously is not their eyes but which has the effect that I am still looking at them etc.
Even though I do plan what I am going to say, I do not plan it word for word. Instead, I write down keywords or key subjects on paper which I keep in my pocket in case I need to look at it. This then ensures I do not forget what I want to say and also allows me to ad-lib. The speech will also hopefully now not sound so robotic and boring as it might have if I had memorized it word for word.
I always like to start off the public speech with a short joke, which can then act as an ice breaker. I remember a speech I gave a few years ago, it was my last day at the company where I worked. The people in the office had put to a collection and had bought me some leaving presents. I then had to say a few words of thanks to them. I knew many weeks in advance that I would have to give this speech and I have to say it did cause me quite a bit of stress.
The speech itself would only have to last for about ten minutes and would be in front of around fifty people. This was how I started the talk, I would like to thank everybody who has put in the collection, and anybody who did not put, I will see you outside later. This is quite a pathetic joke however a couple of people did laugh. This gave me a bit of extra confidence and helped to relax me.
I also advise people to talk a bit slower than they normally do when they have to deliver a public speech. This has helped me tremendously over the years.
I hope this article helps you to deliver a quality public speech.