Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tips for public speakers

from w
Some people are terrified of public speaking and are so shy and unsure of themselves when given the task of addressing a group of people. I was talking with Peceli and Junior about this and they said it takes practice, then Junior said that you have to be passionate about what you are talking about. One time he had to talk with a group of secondary students - at Ratu Sukuna Secondary School - and because he was talking about athletics, it was no big deal. I feel nervous sometimes when ready to give a talk with adults, though for many years it was no sweat to talk with children and teenagers.

I found these tips and they are good for speakers at places such as the United Nations because a Fijian gentleman has been invited there next week and has to prepare an excellent speech! I've edited the points a bit to shorten.

Don’t abuse your visuals - Usually your visuals are posters, charts, or even a PowerPoint presentation. Whatever your visuals may be, keep them simple and don’t put too many words on them. The audience isn’t there to read your slides, they are there to listen to you present.

Look at the audience - Don’t just single out one person, but instead try to make eye contact with numerous people throughout the room. If you don’t do this then you aren’t engaging the audience, you are just talking to yourself. This can result in an utter lack of attention from your audience.

Show your personality - It doesn’t matter if you are presenting to a corporate crowd or to senior citizens, you need to show some character when presenting. If you don’t do this you’ll probably sound like Agent Smith from the Matrix. Nobody wants to hear him present. (

Make them laugh - Although you want to educate your audience, you need to make them laugh as well.

Talk to your audience, not at them - People hate it when they get talked at, so don’t do it. You need to interact with your audience and create a conversation. An easy way to do this is to ask them questions as well as letting them ask you questions.

Be honest - A lot of people present to the audience what they want to hear, instead of what they need to hear. Make sure you tell the truth even if they don’t want to hear it because they will respect you for that and it will make you more human.
Don’t over prepare - If you rehearse your presentation too much it will sound like it (in a bad way).

Show some movement - You probably know that you need to show some movement when speaking, but naturally you may forget to do so. Make sure you show some gestures or pace around a bit (not too much) on the stage when speaking. Remember, no one likes watching a stiff. People are more engaged with an animated speaker.

Watch what you say - You usually don’t notice when you say “uhm”, “ah”, or any other useless word frequently, but the audience does. It gets quite irritating; so much that some members of the audience will probably count how many times you say these useless words.

Differentiate yourself - If you don’t do something unique compared to all the other presenters the audience has heard, they won’t remember you. You are branding yourself when you speak, so make sure you do something unique and memorable.

This entry was written by Neil Patel and posted on September 1, 2007


Pandabonium said...

Good tips! I gave many a talk to a "congregation" at my Buddhist temple to fill in when the minister was away. Public speaking is something most people fear as much as anything you care to name. I usually survived and did OK, but I tended to get choked up if I have to speak about emotionally charged issues. The experience gave me a new respect and appreciation for the ministers who addressed us every week.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The most difficult occasion for me was to read the eulogy at my mother's funeral, about three years ago - but I was very calm and only choked up once. On most occasions I just blush furiously and speak too quickly.
Peceli is so used to public speaking that he is usually very relaxed and confident.