By: Christian Guzman, Ashley Melendez and Mesayla Weaver
Public speaking are two of the most feared words in the English language. Unfortunately, it is something that college students cannot avoid. But fear not! We have put together some tips and tricks to help build your confidence and ability to speak in public.
Research Your Speech Material
If the speech you’re preparing requires you to present information, you’ll want to make yourself appear as credible as possible. As such, it’s important not only to sound the part---you’ll have to familiarize yourself with the facts you deliver, as well. To truly help instill self-confidence for your speech day, research and review every fact you include every week. The more you know your material, the easier it’ll be for you to ignore relying on a script.
Format and Organize Properly
Yes, as tedious as it is, your public speaking professors will expect you to follow strict guidelines when preparing your speech outline. And yes, you will have to learn to formulate an outline. It will consist of main points, sub points, sub-sub points, and so on, that will allow you to elaborate on the topic you’re addressing. No matter how unnecessary this kind of preparation may seem, it’ll serve as a guide for you to refer to in the event that you forget pertinent information. Follow instructions for formatting exactly, and arrange all of your content from most to least important. As obvious as it is, having the right attention-grabbers and the most interesting information being delivered early is critical to maintaining your audience’s focus. (They won’t be listening anyway, but at least do it to refine your skills).
Rehearse your speech. It sounds silly, but it does help, trust me. Read it in front of a friend, girlfriend, even a mirror. The more you practice the more confidence you’ll have.
I know its hard at the time because of how nervous you are, but take a deep breath. Taking a deep breath really does calm you down by triggering neurons in your brain which tell the body it is time to relax.
How are you going to get better at something if you never try it? I’m a terrible public speaker, almost as bad as I am with computers. I enrolled in two public speaking classes as well as a digital media class in order to hone and practice my weaknesses.
No good comes from worrying about what other people are thinking especially when you are giving a speech. Best way to stay focused on your speech is to be concentrating on you alone and not the audience.
Research has shown that by standing in a superhero pose for up to a minute before giving a speech increases the level of confidence in a person. Having stronger confidence makes it much easier to deliver a stronger speech.
Take Questions Before and After Your Speech
Allowing your audience to ask for background information about the preparation and completion of your speech can potentially calm your nerves when you recite it. It serves as a precursor to the actual material, and the casual tone of everyone’s questions may help you to remember that your speech is not as important as you fool yourself into believing. This sort of process is especially affirming, as audience members will be silently confirming their intrigue in what you had to say.
So there you have it! PRSSA’s guide to public speaking preparation. If you happen to be writing a speech as you read this, we hope you found our advice useful, and that it’ll serve as a helpful reference for others in the future.