7 Tips for Public Speaking …

The following 7 tips for public speaking should give you some good ideas on how to be prepared for the next speech you have to give. The more you participate in public speaking, the easier it tends to be. I have a friend from college who still is unable to speak easily in front of a crowd, despite the plethora of speeches he's given over the years. I guess with some people, speaking in front of a live audience is never something you get used to!

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

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As with most things in life, the more you practice, the better you will be at something. Practice making your speech in front of friends and family members. It will be easier to talk in front of people you already know and practicing in front of people will allow you to hear your speech out loud. You could even make a video of yourself so you can see what you look like when you are speaking. This will give you a chance to check for excessive hand movements and other quirks you might want to tone down when speaking to strangers.

6. Throw in Some Humor when Possible

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People don't always look forward to sitting down and listening to a speaker, unless they are familiar with a particular speaker or they are seeking a certain type of information. Adding a humorous tone to your speech will make you more at ease and help the people listening to you to have a more enjoyable time as well. Not all speeches are able to have humor incorporated into them, but it is a plus when it's possible.

5. Look at Your Audience as Much as Possible

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Making eye contact with your audience will keep you from reading your speech word for word. The people in the audience will feel like you are actually speaking to them and not simply regurgitating a bunch of information off of a piece of paper. People who are nervous about speaking in public tend to stare only at their notes, in order to try and block out the people in the room. Try to include your audience in your speech by engaging in eye contact.

4. Make Clear Notes

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If you jot down notes in a hurry and thing you'll know what this chicken scratch says when you are in the middle of your speech, then good luck! I know from personal experience that this rarely works. It's best to type out notes so that you don't have to decipher your handwriting in the middle of a paragraph. You can make the font a size that is easy to read, underline parts, use italics, or highlight sections.

3. Stand up Straight

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Slouching behind a podium will not only make you appear less enthused about your own speech, but bad posture also prevents you from being able to make yourself heard clearly. Some people naturally have a loud speaking voice and could easily pull off a speech while being seated in a chair. However, it's best for most people to stand tall and speak in a loud, clear voice.

2. Speak Slowly

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Speaking in front of a large group makes some people so nervous that they become speed speakers. They talk so fast that no one is able to understand what is being said. If a joke is mumbled in the middle of a string of words, no one is going to even be able to understand it. Speak slowly, but with feeling. Giving yourself time to pause between paragraphs will also allow you a chance to sneak a glimpse at your notes with more fluidity.

1. Annunciate Words Clearly

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Being hard of hearing myself, it's important for me to be able to understand what a speaker is saying. I like being able to read lips as the speaker is talking, so it's helpful to me when a person speaks very clearly. Don't mumble or put your hand by your mouth while speaking. Make sure you aren't chewing gum either!

I hope these 7 tips for public speaking will come in handy for you. I've found them to work great! What is a tip you'd offer to someone who is about to give their very first speech in front of a group?
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