Public Speaking Do’s And Don’ts

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public speaking do's and don'ts

Public Speaking Do’s And Don’ts

There are so many ways to prepare for your next presentation. Even if you are a seasoned public speaker, there are always skills you can improve upon.  

 1. Tone

Your tone of voice is a critical part of giving a powerful and engaging public speech.  The good news is that your tone of voice can be improved.  Understanding how your voice sounds to others will help you prepare.

Do work on your tone of voice. 
  • Pace – According to LinkedIn, you’ll want to keep a conversational pace when giving your public speech. This means speaking at around 140-170 words per minute.  
  • Highs and Lows – What are highs and lows when it comes to your tone?  Think about the volume of your voice.  Do you have variation in your volume or is it steady throughout?  You’ll want to incorporate varying levels of volume to make your speech interesting. The change in volume will allow you to emphasize certain points and make your speech more memorable.
  • Depth – The depth of your voice can also have an impact on your speech.  Is your voice airy or more robust?  Think about your audience, what message you’re trying to convey, and how your voice can make the most impact. Speak in a lower pitch when trying to convey authority.
  • Breath – Your tone of voice can only be supported if you have good breath. Practice your speech and be sure to give yourself times to pause and take a breath. Strategic pauses can also reengage an audience. 

public speaking do's and don'ts

Don’t Talk Too Fast, Or Too Slow
  • Too Fast – Hopefully this is obvious, but if you talk too fast your audience won’t be able to understand what you are saying. You’re putting a lot of effort into writing an effective speech – make sure the audience can understand it!
  • Too Slow –  Remember, a conversational pace is your goal.  Talking too slow will make your audience lose interest.  The key is to slow down to emphasize a point, but just for that point.  Then it’s time to pick up the pace.
  • Variations – Remember to vary your voice as you practice your pace.  Make sure your volume matches the pace at which you are speaking.

Your tone of voice is an integral part of your presentation skills.  The more you practice and can hear yourself, the better you will become!


2. Use Body Language

Your posture, eye contact, and gestures are a few ways you can use body language in your next speech.  All of these elements combined will help you create a powerful message.

Do use positive body language
  • Eye Contact – A great way to show confidence and engage your audience is by practicing good eye contact.  Sometimes eye contact can be scary for some people, especially during a public speech.  But that’s okay!  Here at Soulcast Media, we are committed to helping people overcome any and all mental barriers associated with communications.  
  • Gestures – Hand gestures, when done right, can add emphasis to a point.  If gestures don’t feel natural, practice your speech in a mirror.  When you think a gesture makes sense, try it and see what it looks like. 
  • Body Posture – Your body posture can say a lot!  Poor body posture can convey signal of nervousness, apathy, and negativity.  You don’t want to start off with your audience feeling that way.  Make sure you exude a confident body posture and have your shoulders rounded back.

public speaking do's and don'ts

Don’t Get Stagnant
  • Pacing – If you are pacing, you aren’t engaging.  People often pace and walk around quickly when they are nervous and your nervous energy will transfer to the audience.  Don’t lose your audience’s attention by pacing back and forth.  Practice your movements ahead of time. 
  • Fidgeting – Do you twist your hair, bite your lip, or tug on your shirt sleeve when you are nervous?  Any form of fidgeting is going to have an effect on how much your audience engages with you.  Not only that, but it will diminish your executive presence.  Try to curb all fidgeting when speaking.  The less you fidget, the less nervous you will appear, and the more engaged your audience will be. 


3. Be Engaging

You will want to engage your audience every time you speak.  Crafting a speech your audience is invested in will help them remember everything you are trying to communicate.

Do use visuals
  • Enhance Your Speech – One way to be engaging is to use visuals.  Visuals can help drive home a point and leave a lasting impression on your audience.  Your visuals should enhance what you are speaking about.
  • Clarify – Using visuals can also clarify what you are speaking about.  This is a way to keep your audience engaged as your visual will compliment your speech.
  • Emotions – A powerful speech evokes emotions.  Using visuals can help you evoke the right emotions from your audience.  An engaging speech will make an audience feel a certain way – and striking visuals are an excellent way to achieve this.
Don’t pace, fidget, or use filler words
  • Mental Barriers – Sometimes mental barriers can prevent you from using positive body language cues.  These barriers are things you’ve learned or have thought about yourself over the years. Such as – will I look silly? The good news is, you can overcome them!  With a little work and practice, you’ll learn how to address your mental barriers and bein implementing body language into your speaking. 
  • Filler Words – Um, yeah, you know – are all dreaded filler words.  We’ve become accustomed to hearing them, but they don’t have a place in a public speech.  They also stop the flow of your speech which can cause audience members to lose focus.  The more you practice your speech, the fewer filler words you will use.

When preparing for your next public speech it is important that you keep these 4 points in mind. Remember, the key to any public speech is the right preparation.  Making sure your tone of voice, body language, and visuals are clear and confident will help you make a lasting impression on your audience. 


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