Top 5 Tips: Public Speaking
Throughout the last academic year in my school in year 8, I have had to do two speeches about certain topics that we were studying in English.
I absolutely hate speaking in front of people and I become very nervous, probably a couple of weeks before I even do the speech.
So I took it upon myself to write this article for those of you out there who have to do speeches or have done them, and would like to know how to improve for next time.
Tip 1: Choose A Sensible Topic
This is very important if you don't want people to laugh at you when you are doing the speech. If you are given a topic to write about, then obviously you have no choice, but if you can choose what you like, then choose very carefully. Maybe research 'good topics for speeches' on the internet, or ask your peers what would be good. If you choose a topic like gay marriage (not saying it is bad, just as a demonstration) then a lot of people will find this quite a sensitive subject to be listening to and it might cause them to laugh. This can really put you off and could possibly affect your grade in a bad way.
Tip 2: Research Your Topic Well
Before you write your speech, it is strongly recommended that you research your topic, even if you already are well informed of it. You want to get the details as accurate as you can, because if you get something wrong and people are allowed to ask questions at the end like in my class, then someone could catch you out and you will be left standing there with nothing to say feeling really embarrassed. Someone in my class once incorrectly researched something and he became a laughing stock when the teacher caught him out. He was doing a speech on pirates and he started to talk about rum. He said that rum was stored in a casket and on the PowerPoint behind him was a picture of a coffin. In America, a casket is a coffin but it is actually also something to hold liquids.
Tip 3: If You're Nervous, Don't Be
If you become nervous, then try to calm yourself down because when you get up there, you might be so frightened that you won't be able to speak. Taking in deep breaths will help to calm you down and thinking about something you like will help as well. When you get up there, if you are someone who doesn't like to make eye contact with people (this can put you off as well) then focus on a point at the back of the room.
Keep your head up though; don't pick a point on the bottom of the wall. In my classroom, the clock is the best thing to look at. I have always tried this but I don't really like it but the chances are that it might work for you. I know a girl who was about to do her speech; she was at the front of the classroom ready to start, and as she said the first sentence she burst into tears.
Tip 4: Always Be Well Rehearsed
Whenever you have to do a speech, there is nothing more embarrassing than not knowing the words. You must always be well rehearsed because not only does it sound very good knowing all the words; it gets you a higher grade. I once forgot my words due to nerves, which meant I had to use my schoolbook (luckily it was on standby right next to me on the table) but I still got a high grade (I don't think the teacher saw me looking though!). If you have to do a speech and you want to know how to rehearse then I would suggest you read the first paragraph to yourself, try to memorise it and then say it without looking back to yourself. Do this for each paragraph and you should have learnt the whole speech. It definitely worked for me anyways.
Tip 5: Speak Loud and Clear
When public speaking, you should always project your voice so that everyone in the room can hear you. If they can't hear you, they will just get really bored and might even walk away if I'm perfectly honest. It's a good idea to keep your back straight and keep your head up; this way, your voice is projected to a much larger space.
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