5 Public Speaking Tips You Need to Know

Knees weak, palms are sweaty. You're nervous, you keep forgetting what you wrote down and when you open your mouth, the words won't come out! For nearly 75 percent of the population suffering from glossophobia (fear of public speaking), that scenario takes them back to every speech they ever had to give. For people like myself, the sentence above reminds me of an Academy award-winning hip-hop song. Fear not, my friend. With the proper techniques, you don't have to dread public speaking, and you (yes, you!) can deliver an outstanding presentation.

  1. Know your subject. While this seems obvious, too many people fall into the trap of thinking, "I know this stuff, I've got this" and they don't think about the presentation from the audience's point-of-view. Think about what the audience would want to get out of your presentation.Pro tip: Play devil's advocate. Try to think of questions the audience may have and be sure to answer them in your presentation.
  2. Include fun facts, interesting stories and creative ideas. Remember, what may seem like a tried and true idea to you could be new and unique for your audience.Pro tip: If you are having fun, your audience will have fun too. So relax and enjoy yourself!
  3. Have one main point. What single thing do you want your audience to remember from your presentation? Design your entire talk around this one idea, and work everything back to that idea.Pro tip: Bring a printout for your audience to take home with them. This will allow them to take notes and reference your presentation later.
  4. Develop an outline. Make sure that the information you want to present not only supports the main take away, but also follows a logical, storytelling fashion.Pro tip: Be sure to have a beginning, middle and end. Many presenters fail to give proper introductions and conclusions, which can leave an audience confused and overwhelmed.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. Enlist coworkers and friends to listen to you present and offer feedback. Practice isn't a one-time deal; you want to run through your presentation over and over again. This allows you to become very familiar with what you want to say and avoid overusing your notes.Pro tip: The old school technique was to practice your speech in a mirror, but today you can (and should) record yourself instead. This allows you to see any odd tendencies that you have and also highlights the length of your presentation. You don't want to get cut off because it is too long and you also want to make use of all the time you have.Bonus tip: Make sure you leave some time at the end for questions and to thank your audience.

The key to a successful presentation is preparation and practice. Now, go forth and follow these public speaking tips to nail your next gig!