Advice For Those Speaking In Public

01 /26 2020
One of the most common problems I see with experienced public speakers, is that they do not seem to be capable of standing still when they should. It is very distracting to try to listen to a public speakers presentation when someone is wandering and swaying around on stage.

I have stated in previous articles that you should move at least three steps, in a particular direction -- and for a purpose -- whenever you move on stage. Small to and fro movements during your public speaking engagement are very distracting. They detract from your message, not help define it.As we move into a century that will likely include more distance learning / TV training, keeping still is even more critical when you are speaking in public, and cameras are sending your message across the country or around the world.When you are on TV or video your movements are magnified. I got a good reminder lesson in keeping still while doing the weather and traffic report for a broadcast station in Orlando, Florida.

I was all set to be my highly animated self. They put me at an anchor desk and turned me loose with a set script on the teleprompter.My normal performance looked absolutely ridiculous.In fact, it wasn't even close to being acceptable for the tight shot they used. I had to stay perfectly still with the exception of my head and eye movement and facial expressions.

You can practice this at home with a simple video camera zoomed in to a tight close up shot. Either stand or sit and don't move your shoulders and arms at all. Talk to the camera and only allow movement from the neck up. To do an el cheapo simulation of a teleprompter, cellophane tape a script on to the bottom of the lens of the camcorder.Once you master this technique and can convey all your non-verbal information with only head movement and facial expression, and remember folks communicate with their eyes, and in a close up, so should you. You can add small amounts of body, arm and shoulder movement as the video shot gets wider. While speaking in public, you adapt to the stage you are on, live on stage or live on camera.

And whatever you do, do not talk too fast! Here are some mind tricks when you speak too fast. Imagine that your audience is comprised of 5 year olds and you have to explain some difficult concept to them. You must obviously go slowly so they can understand you. Like with a child, don't talk down at them, but slowly and carefully talk with them.

Slowly lift and enlighten their minds with learning from your words.Force yourself to use difficult, but memorable, word combinations which will force you to slow down so that you don't stutter over them. In your public speaking practice sessions, do specific exercises concentrating on varying the speed of your delivery so that you get a better control over this aspect of your talks. Remember silence also communicates, so with "fertile minds", use "pregnant pauses".

Also, varying the speed makes you more interesting automatically.You must do these practice sessions out loud. I repeat, you must practice voice pacing and inflection out load. Even use a digital recorder to play back and be your own "worst critic" or your first level professional speaking coach.To save time, the voice pacing exercises can be done in the car, or while doing your hair or jogging, etc. Sure, folks will see you at times and wonder about your sanity, but when they hear you in your Public Speaking Jobs presentations, they will likely remember "WOW"!

When speaking in public, often "less is more", so cut out some of your material so that you do not feel rushed to get it all in one speech. Going faster is usually futile because the retention level drops so low that you may as well have omitted the material in the first place. Giving a presentation is meant to be slowly savored, to have the message linger long in the minds of those with an ear to hear

Public Speaking Resources


Private comment

Coaching Hub

Welcome to Coaching Hub!