A pocket guide to public speaking is a quick, but comprehensive reference that one can use when preparing for an upcoming presentation. Public speaking has various purposes. The most common uses are educational and persuasive, but they can also be used for entertainment.

Pocket Guide to Public Speaking- Preparation

Pocket Guide to Public Speaking- A business professional preparing for her presentation
  1. Practice out loud and in front of a mirror. This is probably something you should do well before your presentation date, so practice well ahead if possible. In addition to getting the words down, don’t neglect nonverbal signals such as eye contact or posture. You might even try practicing in front of a friend or family member.
  2. ‘Skip the script’ when rehearsing out loud. Reading from a cue card can be distracting for an audience and it’s hard to manage not looking at one while speaking in a natural way that will come off as conversational instead of stilted or robotic sounding. If you have to use notes, run it over in your mind rather than trying to read directly from them when rehearsing alone or in front of a friend.
  3. Time yourself. This is especially important if you’re giving a presentation that has a time limit. Not only will this help you stay on track, but it can also reveal which sections need to be trimmed or eliminated altogether.
  4. Anticipate questions and have answers ready. There’s nothing more frustrating for an audience than watching the speaker struggle to answer a question that was posed after the presentation ended. By having thoughtful responses to anticipated questions, you’ll appear polished and prepared.
  5. Bring visuals if possible, and make sure they’re high quality. Slides with too much text or low-resolution graphics are distracting and can make your presentation look unprofessional. If you’re able to use slides or handouts with larger text, do so. If you have to use your laptop’s screen for visuals, make sure it’s large enough that the audience can see what you’re pointing at without straining.

Every presentation is different, but these tips are universal in their application. By practicing ahead of time and making adjustments as needed during rehearsal, you’ll be able to give a stellar presentation both on paper and in person.

Pocket Guide to Public Speaking- Delivery

Pocket Guide to Public Speaking- A woman delivering a presentation
  1. Start by knowing your material inside and out!
    To give a great presentation, you need to be able to talk about the topic as though you were talking with a friend. If you don’t know your subject matter well, or if you’re not excited about what you’re saying, it will show – and your audience members will have a hard time engaging. Preparing for a presentation involves more than just memorizing your lines; it’s important to understand the material as well. If you have time, consider doing a practice run in front of a friend or family member so that you can get feedback.
  2. Make eye contact with your audience!
    It’s important to connect with your audience members, and one way to do that is to make eye contact. This lets people know that you’re interested in what they have to say and also helps to keep them engaged. It can be tough to make eye contact with a large group, but try to focus on a few individuals at a time.
  3. Use visual aids to help explain your points.
    When giving a presentation, it’s helpful to use visual aids such as charts, graphs, or pictures to help explain your points. This makes it easier for people to follow along and also keeps them engaged. If possible, practice using your visual aids in front of a friend or family member so that you’re comfortable using them when you’re speaking in public.
  4. Keep your speech concise and to the point.
    It’s important to keep your speech concise – no one wants to listen to a long-winded presentation. When preparing your talk, make sure you focus on the key points that you want to make. If you have time, you can always go into more detail afterwards.
  5. Use a confident and enthusiastic tone.
    When giving a presentation, you need to sound confident, even if you’re not feeling it on the inside. If you sound unsure of yourself, your audience will lose interest quickly. It can be helpful to practice out loud in front of a mirror or to record yourself so that you can hear how you sound. It’s also important to maintain a positive attitude – after all, you want your audience to feel good about what you’re saying.

While public speaking can be challenging, following these tips can help make it a little easier. And remember – practice makes perfect! So if you have the opportunity to speak in front of a group, do it!

Pocket Guide to Public Speaking- Avoid these 5 Common Mistakes!

  1. Not having a solid introduction or conclusion: Introducing your topic without telling people why they should care about what you’re saying, or not summarizing your main points before wrapping up your talk, can make your audience members tune out. What you say first, will determine if your audience will listen to your message. What you say last, is what your audience should remember.
  2. Not connecting with the audience: It’s important to appear excited about what you’re talking about – after all, that enthusiasm will be contagious! Making eye contact with a few individuals in the audience and using an upbeat tone of voice also help to ensure that your listeners are engaged. Lastly, it could prove helpful to get the audience involved by asking the audience a question or interacting with audience members.
  3. Droning on and on: When giving a presentation, it’s important to remember that short and sweet is usually better. If you find that you’re losing your audience’s attention, try to summarize your main points or move on to the next topic.
  4. Being too familiar: It can be easy to slip into a casual tone when you’re speaking with your friends, but sticking to more professional language will help impress your audience members. It can also be helpful to practice out loud in front of a mirror or record yourself so that you can make sure you sound confident and like you know what you’re talking about.
  5. Not preparing enough: While it’s important to be well-prepared when you’re speaking with your friends, it’s even more important to have everything ready in advance if you’re giving a presentation. Make sure that you’ve done some research on what you’ll be discussing and come up with specific examples that will illustrate your key points so that you can stay on track.

Pocket Guide to Public Speaking- Online Resources

Here are some resources that you may find helpful in your public speaking journey:


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Posted in  Public Speaking Topics   on  December 8, 2021 by  Dan W ,   The Best Pocket Guide to Public Speaking (2022)

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