Public speaking – eight tips

We are frequently called on to speak about our work, as well as to train others in the art of public speaking.

These are our top eight tips:

  1. Arrive early to look at the room, make sure the microphone works, and feel comfortable.
  2. You are there because people have come to listen to your words of wisdom. They are not there to catch you out. Public speaking is a very different art to holding a press conference.
  3. Speak up, look at the audience, and speak clearly.
  4. Don’t rush. You should always practice beforehand,  making clear breaks as you go so that your audience can think about the points you are making. Pauses can be dramatic.
  5. Avoid Powerpoint.
  6. Step from behind the lecturn, if you can, and come closer to the audience. It helps you to reach into the audience and to engage better.
  7. If you have written notes as prompts – staple the pages together, use large print and double space the words. Number the pages.
  8. At question time, if there aren’t any – perhaps ask the audience for their views to kick off a conversation. If you don’t have answers, thank the person for the question and take their details to get back to them with information.