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Public Speaking Basics for Starters

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

The leader's task is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. - Henry Kissinger

The content of the speech should match the information needed by the audience. Preparing the material carefully can ensure success in your public speaking endeavor. It will be helpful to tape-record one's speech and then listen to it carefully. Do this in front of the mirror. This would tell you which are your speech's strong points and weaknesses.

Below are the most important things to take note of when invited to do a public speech:

Doing a speech is like performing as an actor on stage. The attire should be proper for the occasion. If the topic is severe, then be serious. The image should reflect the case being presented. However, it does not mean that he must look boring at all. Despite the seriousness of the issue, project yourself as an enthusiastic, lively, and confident speaker.


It is often said that the eyes are the windows to a person's soul. Do eye contact when giving the speech presentation. Never stick to only one person in the room. Look at the people as if they have been long-time friends and acquaintances.

The opener must be catchy. This will get the audience's attention. These people have many things going on in their minds before hearing the speech, and a good revelation of the speaker's words would get their minds into participating in the talk. An icebreaker will help; write the topic on a board and ask the audience what things they want to hear about the issue. Lastly, never miss a good joke.

Make a pause. This will let the speaker and the listeners reflect and absorb everything that has been said. Never look like someone who is already out of air.


Enhance presentations by using audio-visual materials. There should be plans A and B so that if one method does not work, there is an alternative that can be used.


Keeping track of the time is essential not to bore the audience. Never go beyond the time allotted since there could be other speakers, and listeners could also have other appointments.


Supply the main point of what has been discussed at the end.


Open the floor for questions and never fear being unable to answer each. Remember, before making that speech, necessary research should have been done.


Enjoy the whole experience. The audience can feel any discomfort that the speaker is feeling now. Do not make pretensions; relax if the topic is professionally researched and clear. The image projected is often remembered more than the topic discussed anyway.

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