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Basic Public Speaking Tips
  1. Public Speaking
  2. Some Basic Facts
  3. But, even more important…
  4. What are people actually afraid of?
  5. Preparing for a Successful Speech
  6. Preparing, Part 2
  7. Preparing, Part 3
  8. The Importance of Eye Contact
  9. The Importance of Gesture
  10. A Note about Podiums
  11. The Importance of Voice
  12. Final Words of Advice
  13. Credits
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Public Speaking (It Doesn’t Have to Horrify You!) Some Basic Facts Fear of public speaking (glossophobia) is common to an estimated 75% of all people! ( Also common is the dream of coming to school naked. ( But, even more important… You don’t really have to be afraid of public speaking. No, really, you don’t. You aren’t actually naked. (Feel free to check if you want.) What are people actually afraid of? My guess in a school setting is, boring their friends. (Yes, students can be just as boring as teachers!) Preparing for a Successful Speech Prepare your content carefully! If you have good material, you will be more confident and perform better in general. Find out what notes are permissible for the particular speech assignment, and find the type that works best for you. (Some people like full text; others work better from outlines, but whatever you do, use LARGE PRINT.) Preparing, Part 2 Practice, practice, practice. Then take a break and practice some more. Unless you are in a speech contest, memorization is generally not required, but the more familiar you are with your material, the more confident you will be, and the more immune you will be to accidents like missing pages. Practice in front of a mirror to see how you look. Preparing, Part 3 Practice for an audience with which you are comfortable. (The family dog doesn’t count, but maybe your parents and/or siblings will help you out.) Performing for an audience is different from practicing on your own. Think not just about voice but also about other elements of your physical presence, including eye contact and gesture. The Importance of Eye Contact If you don’t look at people, they don’t feel as included in your presentation. You can look a little over people’s heads to give the illusion you are looking at them, but direct eye contact is best. Mark spots in the speech during which you might make eye contact so that you can easily return to the right place. Be rehearsed, but don’t look rehearsed. The Importance of Gesture Gestures should be meaningful, not nervous mannerisms. If you don’t have anything meaningful to do with your hands, rest them on the podium if there is one. As with eye contact, gestures should be rehearsed but look natural. (Yes, this is hard to do, but worth the effort.) A Note about Podiums Podiums are useful pieces of furniture on which to rest your text or your hands, but they can also be evil, because they can lead to temptation. Do not grip the podium as if you were about to fall off the planet, do not lean on it, and do not rock it back and forth. If you are confident enough, you can step away from the podium and not look lost. The Importance of Voice Particularly if you are reading from a word-for-word text, you need to sound like you are talking to your audience, not reading to them. Use variations in tone and volume to reinforce the emotions you want the audience to feel. (Good persuasion uses both logic and emotion, and emotion comes from your vocal performance as well as the words of your text.) Final Words of Advice Be yourself, but be your best self. In other words, don’t try to assume a persona that is not natural to you (speak in your own voice, not an artificial one, but try to make that voice as articulate as possible). To the extent that the assignment gives you flexibility, pick a topic you have strong feelings about; the best speaking, like the best writing, comes from true passion. Credits Photographs are licensed from and were taken by the following photographers: Slide 1: Molodec Slides 2-3: Photomak Slides 4-5, 11-13: Yuri Arcurs Slide 6: Yeko Photo Studio Slide 7: E Chelette Slide 8: Minerva Studio Slide 9: Lev Dolgachov Slide 10: 06 Photo