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Tips for Giving a Great Public Speech

Over the last few weeks we have been consolidating some general “dos” and “don’ts” when engaging in public speaking. These suggestions apply to all speeches. This post covers the “dos.” We will expand this list as I come across new ideas and we will also be further developing these content areas. 1- Thank the host and the audience. I was once asked to give concluding speech at an event at the last minute and while I thanked the audience for attending the event and participating in the closing ceremonies, I forgot to thank the host. The host was upset and we were not permitted to use the venue in the future. Even if the host played only a small role in the event, it is important to give them thanks and praise. It is also important to thank the audience for listening to the speech. Although the audience is usually the one that benefits from the speech, like the host, they also expect to be thanked. 2- Prepare. My failure to thank the host was due to a lack of preparation. Although I did not have time to prepare in that specific instance, in most instances public speakers have plenty of advanced notice to prepare their speech. Advanced preparation will not only prevent mistakes, but it will also make it more likely that your speech will be delivered smoothly, that it will be well organized, that it will be relevant to your audience, and that you will be proud of it after you finish it. 3- Practice. I’ve found that the more I practice a speech the smoother my delivery is. Although I usually take notes with me when presenting, I find that I rarely ever need those notes if the speech is practiced ahead of time. Practice also makes it easy for me to make adjustments during the speech based on how my audience is reacting, because I don’t need to be constantly thinking about what I already planned to say. What I planned to say subconsciously rolls off my tongue, and the only thing I need to think about during the speech is the adjustments I may want to make based on the reaction of the audience. 4- Practice with video. Although I’ve never rehearsed with video, there are some public speaking teachers who recommend it. One of the benefits is that you will notice any distracting hand or face gestures that you may make and then you can make a conscious effort to minimize those during your speech 5 – Start with your best point. Your best point shouldn’t be the very first thing that you say in your speech. After all, you do need to introduce yourself, boost your credibility, get the audiences’ attention, and put the audience at ease, but it is important that you don’t leave the audience guessing as to the key point you wish to make in your speech. 6 – Understand your audience. You may be a speaker who often talks