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Four Part Series on Public Speaking: Preparation is the Key to Success

In this four part series, we will delve into tips and tricks helping you brush up on your public speaking skills. Topics will include an introduction into public speaking, preparation for your speech, the execution, and overcoming anxiety.

As we discussed last week, public speaking is an unavoidable part of life; at some point you will be tasked with presenting a project at a staff meeting, performing an opening statement in trial, or giving the best man speech at your brother’s wedding. For most people, it is common for enough time to pass between public speaking engagements that it is easy to fall out of practice. While the best way to truly improve at public speaking is to get on stage and speak, here are several tips and tricks you can use in preparation for your next public speaking event:

-The number one tip from Toastmasters, an internationally acclaimed public speaking community, is to know your material. Do your best to become an expert in the area you will be presenting. The more you feel you know the material the more confidently you will take the stage.

-If possible, prewrite your speech. This will allow you to gather and organize your thoughts so you can best present your ideas. I highly recommend following Mind Tool’s 7 C’s of Communication when writing your speech in order to most clearly and concisely write your speech.

-Once you have written your speech, read your speech to someone who is unfamiliar with the topic or, if you are unable to do so, pretend you do not have any prior knowledge about the subject and think of some of the questions that may arise from your material. Attempt to answer these questions in your speech so you can ensure your listeners can fully understand your point of view.

-Once you have written and edited your content, proof read your speech both silently and out loud to make sure the format and grammar will not disrupt your follow while giving your presentation.

Practice you speech. This is the single most important thing you can do to prepare. Practice makes perfect. I recommend reading your speech out loud a couple times after editing to get used to the way it feels to say the words. If possible, try to practice your speech in front of the mirror or some friends so you can get used to the way it feels to speak in front of an audience.

-If you have limited time before you are going to present your speech, or it is something as small as a telephone call to a client or adjustor, and you do not have the ability to prepare your full speech, try to outline your main talking points on paper so you have something to get you back on track if you get lost. This will also help you make sure you touch on all the points you would like to raise. Additionally, if you have plenty of time to prepare a full speech but do not plan on reading it word-for-word during the oration I would also recommend doing this as a back-up system in case your mind goes blank or you get nervous.

Although it may seem tedious or boring, preparation is the most important step you can take to create a successful public speaking experience. Amat victoria curam-Victory likes careful preparation. Join us next week for tips to bring your carefully prepared speech off paper and live to your audience.

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