How to Prepare for Public Speaking

Three Easy Ways To Prepare for Public Speaking

Throughout the history of civilization, people have been expressing their knowledge, confidence and strength, not only by force, but also by the art of public speaking. In ancient Greece orators were highly respected and valued by the community. Today’s world leaders are also admired and respected when they address the public with poise and conviction. This ability impresses crowds and shows off their power and public appeal.

fear-of-speaking-in-publicHowever, for most people public speaking doesn’t come natural. Speaking in public makes the average person experience all kinds of feelings, such as fear, anxiety and stress, no matter how big or small is the size of the audience.

Whether toasting at a friend’s wedding, stepping in front of a classroom full of student’s for the first time or delivering a speech to a large crowd, most people fear public speaking and try to avoid it completely, whenever possible. Public speaking should not cause such a big fuss among adults. As challenging as it sometimes seems, effective public speaking can be achieved without stressing over it by following a few simple guidelines.

Preparation is fundamental for Public Speaking

Like anything else, speaking in public requires some careful preparation even when the person is an expert on the topic, in order to be successful. Many people dream with having those “a speech to remember” type of experiences. Inspired for the most part by those memorable speeches seen in movies and “I have a dream” lines heard throughout history; however, such things rarely ever happen in real life.

To perform well when giving a speech, a person must plan and know the topic well. Even famous people and the world’s leaders prepare for public speeches, and for the most part although they have teams of speech writers to structure their words carefully, they still have to work on their delivery.

Most people however don’t have a speech preparation team that can prepare their speeches for public speaking.

  1. So, firstly, one should clearly know; what is the occasion that the speech is for and who is the audience that is going to be listening to it. The Gettysburg address would probably not be the most appropriate for a friend’s wedding; thus, a speech has to be appropriate to the event where it will be delivered at and the audience that will listen to it.
  2. Secondly, in regards to the audience, one should know what is appropriate for that type of audience so as to know what to wear and what language to use in the speech. The wrong jargon in a speech could make it difficult to understand, also it is important to choose a speaking style based on the audience. A speech directed at college students, for example, should not have the same style as one directed at an older crowd.
  3. Thirdly, the objective of the speech should also be very clear so as to give the crowd relevant information and not just a lot of words that are not of interest to the audience. For example, a farmer’s association would probably not be interested on a speech that goes on and on about stuff not related to farmers and only vaguely touches on what the audience is expecting to hear.

Writing the Speech

Speech WritingIf the preparation part is done correctly, then what follows is to practice the delivery. Writing the speech is always an important part of preparing to deliver it in public, but unless you have a speech writing team, it is better not to spend a lot of time writing a super copy.

Most people, if they know the topic well can write a good speech. However, it is important to remember that when writing for public speaking, the contents of the speech must be organized well, starting with a strong introduction. Then the rest of the content should relate well with each other so as to make a smooth transition from one to the next, until the conclusion is reached.

Delivery in Public Speaking

Of course, this is the part that most people fear; but when proper planning and writing is done correctly, the delivery part should be very easy.

  • Timing is the key to proper delivery, it is not about reading a written speech, this makes for a very poor delivery. When preparing, one must decide whether to speak from memory –which is very risky, specially for beginners- or to use notes as talking points to keep track of the content. Public speaking using memory is quite impressive, but it causes speakers to sometimes lose track of the content and miss some parts of the speech.

Public Speaking is like riding a bike, the more you do it the better you get at it.