This is your 7 minute guide to effective public speaking. These are tips that will inspire you to speak without fear. You might not be able to master all these tips at once; but they will guide you one step at a time to craft and present speeches that will remain in the hearts and minds of your audience for a long time to come. If you prefer, you can read this on LinkedIn too.
Believe you can.
There is no way you can move ahead without this.
Believe in the power of mistakes.
You will certainly make a few.
Believe in people.
Do not worry on what they will think about you.
Believe in the value of criticism.
They hurt; but they make you better.
Look at people in the eye.
That will give your message a personal touch.
Start strong. Capture attention.
For it will set the tone for the entire speech.
Speak with confidence.
That will get reflected back to you.
Use gestures to make your words come alive.
They add to the meaning of what you say.
Use transitions. First, second, third are the simplest of them.
Even huge doors move on small hinges.
Pause when needed.
They impact. They also give you enough breathing space.
Vary your voice. They call it modulation.
It helps the audience listen to you without getting bored.
Bring in homely examples.
They stick because it’s each person’s experience.
A blue ball among a lot of yellow ones catches attention.
The contrast cannot be missed.
It was like ice cream melting in my mouth.
It makes people feel what you say.
Tell stories from your life or from elsewhere.
For there is not one who fails to listen to a well-told story.
Ask questions when you want to be persuasive.
“Why do you hide when you feel guilty?” Engages the listener immediately.
“Yesterday, when I was going home . . .” awakens curiosity.
Then the audience want to know more.
Beginning with, “My topic is,” kills.
Be creative with introductions.
Always respect people’s time.
If they look at their watches, you have lost them.
Do not just give speeches.
Instead create memories.
Enjoy speaking. There is no substitute for this.
It’s like a kid running out to play.
Use images: “Look at the birds of the air;”
“They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”
Effectively communicates “Do not worry,” Jesus commanded.
Know where you are going to.
People do not follow when the speaker is not clear about where he or she is leading them to.
Ask yourself whether you are going to inform, persuade, or entertain.
Then start preparing your speech.
Make use of animated dialogues. It will make your speech lively.
The Lion said: “You disturbed my sleep. I’m going to kill you.”
“No. Please don’t kill me. I might be able to help you someday,” said the trembling mouse.
“Ha, ha, ha. You little mouse; you’re going to help me!” the Lion laughed out loud.
Children and adults alike will love that verbal drama!
Don’t be predictable. Vary your approaches to speeches.
You cannot speak on Artificial Intelligence the same way you talk about Love.
Do not be apologetic like “I don’t have much knowledge on this subject.”
It will surely backfire.
Do not read from a slide if you’re presenting.
The audience can do that for themselves!
A sincere compliment to the audience is always welcome.
If you can refer to a few people in the audience by name; it truly connects you to them.
If you’re talking to children, be lively. Be on the move.
Be excited. Keep interacting. Never be on a teaching mode with them.
Go for short sentences most of the time.
Long sentences are difficult to manage.
Organize your speech content.
Your audience should get it like gift packets.
People should feel a design emerge when you speak.
So, build on a skeletal framework; put in flesh and then give it life.
It is solely God’s work; but with speeches you too can.
Making people laugh is a tricky business. If you have to tell them,
“That was a joke I told you now;” it is going to be a tragedy.
Think about your audience always.
Let your desire be to help them understand.
Without doubt; there will come days when your speech might not be good.
Do not get upset. Life is like that.
Always try to finish strong.
There is nothing more desirable than a memorable conclusion.
Remember to focus on one main thought; a takeaway
That will remain in their minds like a headline.
A preacher’s focus is on that cleansing fountain;
The blood of Jesus that washes away the sins of all who trust in him and believe.
Speeches that only address the intellect;
Are like dead logs piled one upon another.
Speeches that only touch the emotions;
Are like paper burning; it’ll flare up and die out quickly.
Some speakers focus on big sounding words;
But simple words that touch the heart make it home.
Sound bites are good; but style alone without substance
Will sound like a brass pot clanging as it falls down the stairs.
If you can make people see pictures in their minds, you win.
“Imagine, a traffic jam in the skies,” is one simple example.
Create a triad of points. It is seen to be effective.
“Books inform, inspire, and entertain,” is one way to state what you’ve got to say.
Asking a question which is in everyone’s mind and answering it is good.
“Why are most people in any group spectators than participants?” is one such.
Be alert for feedback. It need not always be verbal.
Even a slight movement of the eye can tell you what the audience is thinking.
Be fresh in your presentations. Do not rely on what succeeded last time.
Add new material. Bring in ideas of current relevance.
Never get discouraged. You might never know how your words inspire.
One word of hope from you might draw a man or woman from the pit of despair back to life.
This, I believe, is the highest calling of any speaker:
To present through words the gift of hope, light, and life!