Master Public Speaking With These 15 Simple Tips

Public speaking truly is an art, and a particularly terrifying art for some individuals tasked with it from time to time. However, public speaking is also a huge opportunity to grow yourself as an individual as well as push whatever it is that has brought you to the front of the stage.

Below are some of the finest tips by leading experts in the field for unlocking the potential of public speaking and adding another useful trait to your array of skills.

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#1 It’s About Them

When speaking to any size group always make it about them. Ask them a few questions and get a few of their names. Reference those in your talk. When you talk with people and not at them, you will feel more relaxed and have a more engaged audience. Remember, it is about them, not you.

Contributor: Lisa Hutchison from

#2 Valued Conversation

I always tell myself before I am going to speak to a large group, (my biggest group was 150) I am just having a conversation with a bunch of people. I love to talk with people about how they can stay safe while traveling with risk mitigation strategies. I know my material and I know what I am sharing is bringing value to the audience. For these reasons, public speaking is a great venue for me and it will be for you too. Figure out what you want to share, what will bring value to others, make your word cues and get out there and speak. After all, it’s just a conversation with a bunch of people!

Contributor: Carrie Pasquarello from

#3 Jump Up And Down

As a professional speaker and business communication professor, this is the most unusual thing I do to instantly overcome any public speaking anxiety.

I jump up and down. I learned this from the late Robin Williams. During his stand-up comedy days, he would do jumping jacks before going on stage. Research suggests that we perform better when we turn anxiety into excitement.

Contributor: Ron Tsang from

#4 Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice, practice, practice! Nothing is better than running through your talk. This is where you can find areas that don’t flow too well. Practice in front of someone as well. It is one thing to practice in front of a mirror, but you need to be ready to speak in front of others, seeing how their reactions, emotions and body language as you are giving your talk.

Contributor: Sitinee Sheffert from 

#5 Storytelling

You'll hear a lot of folks saying, "Be a storyteller!" which is good advice, but it's particularly important to start with a story. Don't even introduce yourself - just dive right into a story. Many speakers make the mistake of getting up on stage and introducing themselves - which is not very interesting to those in attendance. You have 15 seconds to grab your audience's attention, and stories naturally allow you to engage your audience. The story should function in an anecdotal capacity to describe your first big idea - and with the audience interested & engaged, it's much easier to transition into the specific subject matter you're looking to cover.

Contributor: Simon Poulton from

#6 Find Your Fans

Before I speak, I often try and interact with those in attendance and get them excited about the content I'm about to present. These individuals feel special for being engaged and will nod along with you as you present your ideas by giving you more confidence. It can be hard to present when you don't have much audience feedback, and this can help you feel comfortable as you progress through your ideas.

Contributor: Simon Poulton from

#7 Film Yourself

Before you present, film yourself presenting the content - does it flow like you think? Do you notice you say 'um & er' a lot? While it may seem painful to watch yourself back - and we are all our own harshest critics, this will allow you to develop effective segues between ideas and give you an idea of the cadence you should have when you present to an audience.

Contributor: Simon Poulton from

#8 Take A Comedy Class

Terrified of public speaking, took a comedy class, performed for Obama.

A little background - I was a senior engineer with Intel Corporation. My job was to travel the world with the company's senior executives, doing technical demonstrations on stage at events, and I was incredibly nervous about speaking on stage. I took a comedy class to get over the fear, and the comedy kind of took off.

Contributor: Dan Nainan from

#9 A Little Drama

Mark three or four dramatic moments to tell your story. These are what will remain memorable to your audience and will make them lean in and allow you to make your point.

Ex: I knew I reached my own form of rock bottom when XYZ happened; There I was, sitting across the table from the Second Lady of the United States, and I knew I didn't want the job she was offering.

Contributor: Tamara Edwards, Principal of Tamara Edwards & Co.

#10 Ditch The Side Comments

When our nerves hit us and we think that maybe,just maybe our audiences will understand us a bit better if we give them a small dose of humility — don't. Sorry, "I'm nervous" is cute, but it takes away from your audience taking you seriously. If nothing else, skip the side commentary.

Contributor: Tamara Edwards, Principal of Tamara Edwards & Co.

#11 ‘The Point And Story Strategy’

When developing your story the first thing you want to do is gain the audience attention by asking a question, using a statistics, or telling a joke. Then develop three short stories using Les Brown's technique, tell a story and make a point, or make a point and tell a story. Use stories your audience can relate to so you demand their full attention while you paint the picture.

Contributor: Christon The Truth Jones from

#12 Embrace Your Mistakes

You are human, so you can and you will commit mistakes. Let's imagine you are speaking in front a jam packed audience and in the middle of your speech, you forget what to say next. This could be a 'Make or Break' moment so just embrace the mistake and continue by saying: "maybe next time, I should start taking memory pills!"

The audience would love it that you chose to accept your mistake and even create a joke out of it. So, making mistakes can be many a time quite helpful.

Contributor: Vanky Kenny Kataria from

#13 Laugh

Be self-deprecating, make jokes, and never ever start off a presentation with an "I'm sorry", meaning when speakers call out a fault they are apologizing for (like a twitch or appearance issue) they are losing validity immediately.

Contributor: Holly Dowling from

#14 Passion, Not Quantity

Speak from what you know not what you want to know. Better to speak as a subject matter expert. Audiences know when you aren't speaking from experience or ownership of your content. This will allow you to speak with passion. 

As you own your content, your notes won't be as paramount to your success,your passion will be. We've all watched someone read notes for a lecture and not engage with the audience. Much more engaging - a speaker who knows his content and only glances at his or her notes as they walk by the lectern. 

Contributor: Patrick McKinnon from New Life Church, Peterborough Ontario Canada

#15 Deep Breaths and Eye Contact

I started a global branding and marketing firm 17 years ago and do a lot of public speaking to increase my visibility and grow my business. Before I go on stage I always take a few deep breaths and remind myself I have practiced a lot and know this topic well, I try to make eye contact with at least a few people in the audience as I speak and share stories from my experience to make my points. I also try to smile a lot. That usually helps me relax and get started and once I start talking I am usually good to go.

Contributor: Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO from

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Written by James Metcalfe