5 Top Tips for Public Speaking

We’re all used to hearing a lot of speeches but what makes an effective public speaker? How do you effectively convey your message? Morley tutor Robert Noble takes us through his top tips.

1. Plan, prepare and practise

Do not fidget beforehand. People are already looking at you. Get someone else to introduce you. Know your audience.

2. Take control

Allow yourself to be nervous. Butterflies pollinate the adrenaline reaction which improves memory, strength of voice and makes your eyes sparkle; audiences like that.

Nerves equal adrenaline equals performance, like jittery athletes when competing.

When you stand to speak you become the centre of attention. It’s showtime. Use that. Take control of your speaking area; move things away as necessary, put your notes or glass of water where you want, slowly and calmly, then take control of yourself and how you stand; engage the audience with your eyes using a calm and all-round gaze. Wait. Wait. Deep breath through the nose. Smile. Then begin.

You are in charge. Take your time. Do not rush. Be yourself.

3. Compose a good opening and closing

A good opening remark ensures you have their attention. A question can do this.

Say what you mean; mean what you say. If you speak from the heart it will be received by the heart. Sincerity is all. Truth comes across.

Metaphors hit our minds unimpeded by logic or critical thought. Think of Winston Churchill’s “broad sunlit uplands”, Martin Luther King’s “house on a hill” or Tony Blair’s “people’s Princess”.

Your closing remark should be as memorable as your opening. Rehearse so they will know you are ending. It is one of the things we practise in class.

4. Maintain eye contact

Maintain eye contact throughout. If you use notes, look at them then look back at the audience before speaking again. Never read. To be able to do this you need to have rehearsed.

By maintaining eye contact it is you giving of yourself to the audience.

5. Use vocal variety, especially the pause, and congruent gestures

You must use verbal light and shade, vary the pace, use pauses instead of “ums” Avoid “you knows” and other crutches. They are a distraction.

Use natural gestures and facial expressions congruent with what you are saying. Pause.

We’re all used to hearing a lot of speeches but what makes an effective public speaker? How do you effectively convey your message? Morley tutor Robert Noble takes us through his top tips.


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