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Facilitator Resources: Public Speaking Tips

  1. You don’t appear as nervous as you may feel: Most of the symptoms of nervousness never show to an audience.
  2. Written material: Never write out a presentation word for word. Brief notes suffice.
  3. Add some spontaneity: Adding character brings excitement and interest as you talk, and makes connections to your audience.
  4. Memorization: Never memorize a talk word for word. Memorizing a talk word for word can actually lead to more anxiety. If something out of the ordinary happens or if you ever lose your place, you will put an extreme amount of pressure on yourself to get back.
  5. Show up Early: Get an idea for the setting, mingle with your audience, and test any equipment that you will be using.
  6. Take a Few Deep Breaths: When many of us get nervous, we tend to take shallow breaths. What happens is that we originally take a shallow breath out of nervousness and try to speak. Somewhere along the way, we realize that we won’t be able to finish our sentence, so we speed up. That makes us more nervous, so we breathe even more shallow. When this cycle occurs, just pause, take a deep breath, and continue.
  7. Look for a Friendly Face: As you are approaching the front, make eye contact with a few friendly faces in the audience. Smile, and they will probably smile back. It will put you both at ease.
  8. Drop your Hands: Your hands and your gestures can add great impact to your delivery, but when you are not using your hands, just drop them to your side. It will feel awkward at first, but dropping your hands to your side is the most natural gesture you can use.
  9. Be Excited about Your Topic: If you aren't, no one else will be either. If you give your audience energy, they will give energy back to you.
  10. Practice: Rather than practicing your presentation in front of a mirror, try practicing your delivery by using it in a conversation with a friend.