The art of public speaking

December 2nd, 2015 by Ken

Over the years I’ve heard hundreds of speakers on just about every topic imaginable.   I’ve also had the opportunity to do quite a bit of public speaking.

Most of us –  at some time in our lives – will have to give a speech.   Not all of us will have a large audience – but we’ll have an audience of some kind.

Here’s what I’ve learned about public speaking – – from listening and from doing.

We all get a little nervous before a talk.   Even when I know my audience and know my material – – I’m always a little nervous.   But – once I get started – it goes away.

When I’m giving a speech to a group that I don’t know well I always arrive a little early.  I look over the room – where the podium is placed – how far away am I from the audience – where should I concentrate my attention.   Then, I go to the back of the room and try to meet and shake hands with as many of the group as I can – as they come in.   I find it builds a better bond between me and the audience – – and I feel like I get a better understanding of the group I’m speaking to.

One of the keys to speaking is making certain you know your material.   No matter how many times I’ve given a talk – – I always look it over the night before.

We all have bad habits.  Some use – uh – – some use – – you know – – and some use other phrases as pauses.   Those are all – no no’s.  You should rehearse your material to rid yourself of those bad habits.   If you must pause – – pause.   The silence will make the audience think you’re going to saw something important.

Some speak too slow – or too fast.   I tend to speak too fast – and I have to force myself to slow down.   It’s not easy – – but it can be done.  I also tend to wobble side to side.   To stop it – I place one foot slightly in front.   This forces me to stand up straight without wobbling.

You also want to dress appropriately for the audience.   If you don’t know the dress code – my word of advice is – you can’t over dress.

I’ve also noticed that no matter how good I think my talk is – or how good I think I’ve delivered it – – there are people in the audience that aren’t paying attention.  It’s just a fact of life that not everyone is interested in what you have to say.  It has very little to do with you.  It has more to do with the subject matter.

Public speaking is a little frightening – but with a little preparation – a little practice and a little confidence in your material – you’ll do fine.  And the more you do, the better you become.

But – don’t get cocky and over-confident.  That’ll kill you.   I know. I’ve been there.

Posted in The Real News

(comments are closed).