Speak your truth.
Public speaking is the process or act of performing a speech to a live audience. But here we will explore how to prepare a speech that could be spoken in front of an audience or recorded and uploaded on social media. You could even start a vlog!
If the very thought of speaking in front of a group of people fills you with fear, then you’re not the only one! There’s even a word for it. ‘Glossophobia’ is the fear of public speaking. Some people have this specific phobia, while others may also have more general social phobia or social anxiety.
If public speaking makes you feel anxious, there’s plenty of other ways to communicate your message but becoming comfortable with public speaking will be a great skill to master throughout your life. It will improve your communication and leadership skills and it can really boost your confidence too.
Public Speaking is also a crucial part of inspiring and influencing other people to support you and your social action goals.
You will inspire and influence people if you effectively communicate:
• Who you are
• Your passion
• What you value
• What you want to see in the world
• Why this is important
• What they can do to support you
Step 1: Choose your topic
The speech could be informative, persuasive, entertaining or a story but the important thing is to choose something that you really want to talk about, or pick one of these:
• If I was in charge…
• How we actually achieve world peace…
• Technology’s opportunities and challenges…
• If you only do one thing today…
Step 2: Describe your speech in a sentence (or two)
Without thinking too much about it, write down what you want to say in your speech. What is the key message that you want to convey?
Step 3: Consider the opening
The opening of your speech is crucial. You could start with a powerful quote, something humorous, a powerful statement ‘I believe’ statement, asking the audience to imagine something, a fact or some statistics, or a direct challenge to the audience or a question.
Step 5: The introduction
Here you want to say why people should listen to what you have to say. This could be a version of your key message or why it’s important to you and why it should be important to them.
Step 6: The main body of the speech
Aim for the main body of your speech to have 3 key points. You can build on this if necessary but start with a simple structure.
• Point 1 …
• Point 2 …
• Point 3 …
Step 7: Your conclusion
Consider what you want to leave your audience with. What is the key message and the ‘call to action’ – what do you want them to do.
Top tips for public speaking
- Be yourself
- Eye contact
- Body language
- Keep it simple
- Structure the speech
- Use the ‘power of pause’
- Speak from the heart
- Keep to time
- Project your voice
- Be animated
• Use a prop
• Add vocal variety
• Introduce different characters
• Paint a picture
Now… Practice, practice, practice.
And record yourself.
This can be daunting, and embarrassing! But better to make the mistakes in front of the mirror or on a recording than in front of a room full of people!
The next step, when you’re feeling confident or courageous, is to practice in front of others and get feedback.