4 Tips for Seamless Public Speaking

You are scheduled to speak at an event. It’s an anxious time. What do you say? How will the audience respond to the speech? Should you be worried about how you appear on stage?

Effective public speakers can stay calm throughout their presentation. You can be a great public speaker too. Follow these four steps to help you nail your speech:

1. Prepare, prepare, then prepare some more
“If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
-Woodrow Wilson

Very few speakers can wing their presentation. Any person can ramble on stage about any topic, but the presentation won’t have a clear structure and the speaker might be misunderstood during one of his or her ramblings.

To combat this, start by asking questions. Who is your audience? What is the purpose of your presentation (or why are you standing on a stage)? What is one action you hope your audience does after listening to your speech? Answer as many questions as you can, then start preparing.

Once you’ve practiced and prepared for your speech, you will feel more confident in your speech. The more confident you are, the better you will feel, and the less butterflies you will have flying in your stomach during your presentation.

2. The rule of three
Humans can think in groups of three. Three is a simple number to remember. Some speakers want to share hundreds of ideas, but the audience won’t know which idea is most important. By preparing your speech, you can come up with three important points you want your audience to remember.

For each important point, provide an example, then return back to the point. Tim Ferriss calls this the PEP method (Point, Example, Point). By surrounding the example with the important point, those who didn’t understand the point at first will better understand your point after you give a relevant example connecting the dots.

3. Do what makes you comfortable
If you need coffee to calm you down and make you feel comfortable on stage, drink coffee. Maybe you like to listen to soothing meditation music to calm your nerves before the big presentation. No matter your preference, the main point is to make yourself as comfortable as you can be.

Great public speakers act like they belong on the stage and are comfortable speaking to thousands of people. You can also act like you belong by being in your comfort zone. Besides, you have prepared a great speech with excellent points. You are ready to go!

4. Have fun
Count the number of speeches and presentations you have memorized. Not a phrase here or there, but the entire speech. That number should be zero, unless you’re an elephant who never forgets a speech. Your audience won’t remember every word, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

How do you create that awesome vibe? Make fun of yourself. Write some jokes in the speech; you don’t have to be a comedian, but make the presentation light and engaging, and your audience will appreciate your effort. If you mess up, act like you meant to do it. No one knows exactly what you will say or how you will say it. Have fun on stage, and the audience will have fun with you.