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Tips & Advice

5 Tips for Public Speaking

Public speaking is largely considered most people’s biggest fear. Some schools attempt to combat this fear by forcing students into public speaking classes and reminding them it is an essential part of all jobs. If your class was anything like my COM 103 class, most kids won't want to be there or are unwilling to retain information at 9am.  I’m going on my 7th year of speaking competitively as my college team attempts to defend our National titles (yes, that’s a thing) and I absolutely love every moment of speaking in front of a room but I realize it’s not for everyone so here are a few basic tips to make it a little easier.

1. Only talk about what you love. In class or work presentations this can be a little difficult but figure out what you like best about a topic or project and build from there. The more you love a topic the easier it will be for you to talk about it and even if the audience is not totally into it, they’ll love your passion.

2. Plan some of it out. Memorizing every word can be a little taxing, especially when it’s a class presentation. Humans are natural storytellers so tell a story. Map out the story you want to tell in your speech. If you’re making an argument what do we, as the audience need to know to follow along? What is the background? What’s causing this problem? If you know the narrative you can always fill in the details.

3. Dress up! Unless the occasion calls for it you don’t need a suit (though suits are awesome!) but on the day you presentation put on clothes that make you feel good. Not only will it help your confidence but it will be one less thing on your mind.

4. Chill. There are a lot of tips and suggestions to how to relax in front of a room but the best advice I can give you is you are just having a conversation. Look someone in the front row in the eye and tell them a story, use their reactions to guide you like you would in a normal chat. Sometimes we all forget to breath. Pauses are normal they happen. When you’re in front of a room they may seem longer than normal but that’s okay. So long as you can say, “pause” in your head, you’re pausing long enough.

5. Fake it until you make it. Sometimes the only thing you need to turn an okay speech into a brilliant one is a little bit of swag. Believe in what you say because you’ve spent the time working on your project and even if you haven’t, people don’t know that. Be confident and it will be awesome.