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  1. 1.                   101 Tips for …   Successful Public Speaking   by Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE President, Sanborn & Associates, Inc. Developing Leaders in Business and Life                                                 303.683.0714 303.683.0825 fax 10463 Park Meadows Dr. Suite 213 Lone Tree CO, 80124 www.marksanborn.com  
  2. 2.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking         Few things will advance your career or improve your leadership more than the ability to speak successfully. Having good ideas is of little value if you can’t effectively communicate them. Successful public speaking means the difference between action and inaction, between understanding and misunderstanding. Whenever you give a speech, your goal should be for your audience to hear and understand what you say and then take the appropriate action. The following 101 tips will help you achieve that goal.   1. Have some confidence in yourself. Being a good public speaker does not require magic or genius. It does require a desire to communicate well. Do you feel comfortable with the way you communicate with your friends, coworkers, and family? If so, think of public speaking as an extension of the communicating you do every single day. You’re simply speaking to a slightly larger group. The ease and confidence with which you talk every day is the same manner that you need when you are speaking in front of a room full of people. So just remember: even if you’ve never given a speech, you’ve done this before!   2. Relax! Don’t get overwhelmed. Learning about public speaking does not mean you have to master every type of speech with passion and perfection. Chances are your needs for public speaking are pretty specific. Once you identify what type of public speaking you need to utilize, you can focus on that and leave the rest to the Bill Clintons of the world. There are many kinds of public speaking, and you do not need to be good at all of them. Remembering this will help you narrow down your task and make it a little less daunting.   3. Keep it simple—and short. There was a time when people would listen attentively to speeches that were literally hours long. Those times, as you know, have passed. Now that there are so many ways to get information—TV, radio, print media, the Internet—live speeches need to be short, simple, and memorable. Take a look at the Gettysburg Address. It is about 270 words long. The address also uses simple, single-syllable words, and short sentences. You’ll find this simplicity makes your speech easier to digest and harder to forget.   4. Don’t just say it: mean it! An audience will know if you don’t believe in or care about what you’re saying. Plus, you have to ask yourself: if you don’t believe what you’re saying, why should your audience believe it? If you what you’re saying isn’t important to you, then how can you expect your audience to care about it?   5. Forget the technical stuff. If your goal is to just make simple speeches, at work, or in your community, then worrying about technical vocal tips will probably not be necessary. In fact, it might hurt you more than help you. If you haven’t had trouble with your voice in the past, then you’ll be better off just continuing to speak like you always have. Consulting a book   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 2 of 18
  3. 3.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     about vocal inflection, articulation, and breathing might just distract you from the most important thing: communicating.   6. Just do it! Remember the difference between reading about it and actually doing it. You can study all you want. Read books, make notes on this very article you’re reading now, ask for advice from friends, watch great speakers in action. But remember that, eventually, you’re going to have to get up there and just do it. It’s easy to get stuck in the mire of all those facts and tips piling up in your brain. At some point, you have to start practicing and finding your own style and way of working.   7. Take a class. Keeping in mind the advice to “just do it,” you have a couple of options. The most straightforward step towards getting comfortable with public speaking would be to take a class. There you will be surrounded by other people who are learning the same things you are. You will have specific assignments, which can help calm your mind and narrow things down, and you will have deadlines, which will help you just get down to work. Before you know it, the homework will be done and you’ll be up there in front of the class, giving your first speech. For beginning speakers, or experienced speakers who want to get better, I recommend Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org). You won’t find a better value for your investment in becoming a better speaker. For experienced speakers who are interested in professional speaking, I recommend the National Speakers Association (www.nsaspeaker.org).   8. Organize your own practice group. For some reason, you may not be able to take a class in public speaking. Logistical things like money, schedules, and availability could rule out that option. If so, do it yourself! Get together with a group of people who share your interest in public speaking and your goal to improve. You can meet once a week and practice with each other. This is another was to get up and just do it.   9. Run for public office. It may sound extreme, and definitely don’t do this just for practice. But if you care deeply about the world around you and are willing to devote time to improving it, you can make a positive difference in public office. There is no doubt, though, that the amount of public speaking you’ll have to do during a campaign will teach you all you need to know about the skill.   10. Repeat, repeat, repeat! The only way to get better at public speaking is to practice. If you have a tough time on one speech, try it again with a different group. Or tweak it a little. Just get back up there and try again. The more you repeat the experience, the more control you’ll have over yourself and your skills. Don’t get discouraged—just get back on the horse and try again!   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 3 of 18
  4. 4.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     11. Know and believe you will succeed eventually. It may take time, but you can eventually become a good, solid public speaker. Remember when you learned to tie your shoe, or learned to drive? You didn’t get it right away. It was hard and perhaps scary at first, and maybe you felt you’d never get it. But you kept at it because you knew everyone eventually learns to drive, and that eventually you would master it. It’s the same with public speaking—you can’t expect to be good at it right away. Remember the learning curve, and just keep moving forward.   12. Find your strengths and use them. It is important to be self aware in any endeavor. To improve as a public speaker, you will help yourself a lot by learning to identify your strengths, and then not being afraid to use them. Always start by building on your strengths. If you are a naturally gregarious person, then use your natural charm to appeal to your audience. If you study really hard and have really prepared, be confident in that knowledge...   13. Find your weaknesses and improve upon them. Understanding what your goals need to be is half the battle. If you are able to recognize that you have low confidence, for example, then you can admit that that weakness is affecting your public speaking—and you can do something about it! Don’t try to address all your possible weaknesses at once. Start with the biggest barrier to speaking better. Once you’ve overcome that, focus on the next weakness you need to address.   14. Figure out why you’re scared: vocabulary. If you identify your problem as a lack of confidence, chances are the real culprit is something else. Do you feel insecure about your vocabulary? This is an understandable reason for fearing to speak in public. If you can’t use words to your advantage, of course you will feel scared. Perhaps tutoring could help, or flashcards. Either way, some study is in your future.   15. Figure out why you’re scared: lack of research. You can’t just whip out a great speech with too little preparation, even if you are Prince Charming. If you have not adequately researched your facts, or not adequately prepared them for your speech, you will rightly suffer from fear. No one wants to look like an idiot, and if you don’t have your facts straight and your speech practiced, there’s a good chance that’s just what you’ll look like.   16. Calm down! So you’ve prepared, researched, and practiced. There’s no reason for you to mess up. Unless you psych yourself out right before you go up. If you get too excited, you will lose a good amount of control and ruin your chances of success. Before you go up, come up with a way to remain calm and composed, whether it’s recited song lyrics, thinking about something else, or even doing a centering physical warm-up.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 4 of 18
  5. 5.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     17. Be prepared! I believe this is the single most important key to successful public speaking. No matter how exciting your topic is, you must remember that you are not going to be able to give a lengthy talk on it without being prepared. As much as it sounds easier to just get up there and let inspiration do the work, the truth is unprepared speeches tend to be confusing, boring, and ultimately pointless. You need to spend time writing, rewriting, and practicing. Then when you finally get up there, you’ll have the confidence to fly. Remember: professionals prepare. Amateurs “wing it.”   18. Identify the purpose of this speech. When you start preparing, it will help to figure out what the point of your specific speech is. (A few different speech purposes will be covered in the next few tips.) Once you know what your goal is, it will be much easier to create a structure and a flow and an attitude for your speech. It’s just another way to focus you so you can get down to work and feel purposeful instead of overwhelmed.   19. Possible purpose #1: Inform. If your main purpose is to inform, then your speech will be like a narrative—like a story. You’ll want to provide examples, and keep the details to a minimum. An example of an informative speech would be, “What I Did Over Summer Break.” You could include pictures, as well as anecdotes and descriptions of your vacation. Your goal is to leave your audience with a good idea of what your vacation was like.   20. Possible purpose #2: Explain. This is a slightly broader purpose, under which “to inform” could fall. An example of a speech that is trying to explain would be a lecture on how the Treaty of Versailles contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler. You are explaining a subject in terms of cause and effect. With an explanatory speech, you need to be very clear and, again, keep the unnecessary details to a minimum.   21. Possible purpose #3: Inspire. This is perhaps the most familiar kind of speech. Its goal is to arouse feeling and devotion in the hearts and minds of the audience. There is sometimes an element of persuasion in an inspiration speech—vote for this candidate, join the army, etc.—but for the most part it is just looking to increase the feelings of the audience about a specific cause or topic.   22. Possible purpose #4: Persuade. A persuasive speech is trying to get the audience not only to agree with the points being made, but also to then go out and do something about the issue. A persuasion speech requires facts, presented in a logical way so that the audience can’t help but see the reason in the argument. Examples of a persuasion speech would be a lawyer’s closing arguments or a fundraising speech for a political candidate or cause.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 5 of 18
  6. 6.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     23. Possible purpose #5: Entertain. This type of speech sounds simple, but it can actually be the most challenging. You need to give the audience a good time. Instances in which an entertainment speech would be needed: a toast at a wedding, introducing a performer, like a comedian or singer, or perhaps to open a party. These speeches have to be light and, hopefully, funny.   24. Decide how you want to deliver your speech. It is also useful for you to explore all of the different ways of delivering your speech. There are different styles of talking, and each style has its benefits. Many experienced speakers, however, advocate using a combination of the following styles. It is always good to be flexible and be able to use different styles as you see fit.   25. Style #1: Impromptu. This is the type of speech that is made without preparation. You are asked to speak without knowing beforehand—put on the spot. The style is casual and usually light. For most people, this won’t happen often, but the better you become at speaking in public, the easier it will be to speak “off the cuff.” You can use many aspects of impromptu speaking—concentration, flexibility, and humor— in prepared speeches to give them that special informal feeling.   26. Style #2: Extemporaneous. This type of speech, unlike the impromptu speech, uses prepared content but hasn’t been practiced or presented before. You’ve done your research and have written your outline, but when you actually give the speech, you’re doing it without having memorized the speech itself. This type of speech is common when you are asked to speak on short notice, or are addressing a topic you don’t normally speak about.   27. Style #3: Written and memorized. This type of speech is not recommended but is sometimes necessary. One of the most important aspects of speechmaking is to connect with the audience and focus on listeners. When you’re struggling to remember your speech, you may not be able to appear casual or really engage with your audience.   28. Style #4: Written and read. This type of speech is the most used in corporate or political speaking. It should still be used with caution. It is harder to connect with an audience and communicate sincerity when speaking from a prepared script. When is this type of speech appropriate? A good example would be if you are giving a high stakes speech that includes important details that must be delivered correctly. Remember when using this type of delivery to keep looking up and making eye contact with your audience.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 6 of 18
  7. 7.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     29. Know the parts of a speech. Another way to ensure you are writing solid, engaging speeches is to know how to break down the speech into sections or modules. The parts of a speech are: salutation, introduction, body, and conclusion. Knowing these parts of the speech and writing by them will help you craft a speech with structure and purpose.   30. Part #1: Salutation. This part will change depending on the purpose and occasion of the speech. The purpose of this part is to greet your audience. If there are individuals you need to acknowledge, you can do that. Otherwise, it’s good to keep the salutation short and sweet. Often, just greeting your audience as a whole will do. No one wants to listen to a never-ending list of people before your speech even begins.   31. Part #2: Introduction. This part should also be short and sweet. Your goal with the introduction is to familiarize your audience with the purpose or question of your speech. You don’t need to develop anything or answer the question. You just need to introduce the question or the topic, clearly and succinctly, and then move on to the next part of the speech, the body.   32. Part #3: Body. The body is the bulk of the speech, where most of the content will be presented. Here is where you should make your points in a clear and logical progression. You can then develop each point and give details, facts, or statistics. If you are trying to persuade your audience or answer a specific question, you should first present your argument at the beginning of your body, so you have plenty of time to provide backup for it.   33. Part #4: Conclusion. The conclusion is very important. It is the last impression your audience will get of you before they leave. Therefore, it is important to present your conclusion in a confident and clear way. Summarize the points you’ve made, and perhaps give one last moment to the statement you were making in the first place.   34. Work within your limitations. When choosing a topic on which to speak, it is important to choose a subject that you can actually cover in the time given to you. Many fascinating and important topics are simply too wide and complicated to try to cover in five or even ten minutes. If you feel your topic is going to be hard to cover adequately, try choosing one aspect of the topic and focusing on that instead.   35. Know your audience. It is extremely important to know who you will be speaking to before you ever start writing your speech. How many people will be there? What is their age? Economic group? Cultural background? Social background? What is their unifying characteristic? Are they all in the same political group, or perhaps a committee for a school? Knowing the answers to these questions will greatly affect the speech that you write.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 7 of 18
  8. 8.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     36. Use your sources wisely. The dumbest thing you could do would be to get up in front of a group and give a speech on a subject about which you know next to nothing. It is obvious to the audience when you are uncomfortable, and you will definitely be uncomfortable if you don’t know what you’re talking about. The following sources are excellent places to begin when choosing your subject or writing your speech.   37. Source type #1: Personal knowledge and experience. If you are choosing the topic yourself, why not pick something that you know? If you are an expert on karate because you’ve been studying since you were eight, then that is a great subject for you. You can back up your own experience with research, but audiences will appreciate your first-hand knowledge, and you will speak with confidence when the subject it one that’s close to you.   38. Source type #2: Interview. Another way to obtain close, personal information about a topic is to interview someone who is an expert on that topic. You could interview your grandparents about what it was like to grow up during the Great Depression—just think of the wealth of specific and interesting details you could get from them that you couldn’t get from a book. Make sure, however, that you supplement these interviews with research, just have all your bases covered.   39. Source type #3: Research. This is an extremely common form of information gathering. Once you decide to do general research on a topic, you have the world at your fingertips in the form of libraries, online databases, and more. Make sure your sources are reliable, though. Especially in these days of the Internet, there are many sources out there that are not good enough to be considered official research.   40. Keep up with current events. Current events make up one of the most interesting and handy topic for practicing speeches, or even for giving actual speeches once you feel ready. If you subscribe to newspapers or magazines, and keep up with the news and world events, you will be all the more prepared to engage in dialogue (or monologue, as the case may be) about these topics.   41. Start a library of your own. For people just starting out with public speaking, starting to build an arsenal of topics or research materials can help a lot with ideas and content for speeches. Keep a file with articles and interesting bits of news, or quotes from books that you’d like to reference someday. After awhile you’ll have your own personal reference library to turn to when ideas are running low.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 8 of 18
  9. 9.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     42. First, write out the whole speech. It helps to get it all out first. Then you know what information you have, where you want it to go, and how important it is to the speech as a whole. This is the document you can revise and rewrite.   43. Second, break the text into the parts of the speech. Go over your speech and make markings all over it to indicate which section is which. You can make titles or headings for each section, and mark them with Roman numerals. This will help you identify the sections of your speech and get ready to make an outline.   44. Third, summarize each paragraph. Think of this as making a heading for each paragraph. You want to capture the most important points of each paragraph in a short phrase that could go into your outline. Each paragraph heading should be marked by a letter from the alphabet, or by numbers.   45. Fourth, make the outline. On a new sheet of paper, transfer all of your speech parts and headings into an outline form. It can help to fold the paper into sections, so that each of your speech sections can be looked at separately if you want it to be. Keep using the Roman numerals and paragraph headings to maintain consistency.   46. Fifth, get to know your outline. This outline is the backbone of your speech. You now need to study it and go over it until you know it inside and out. Think of the outline as the blueprint for your speech. If you know it, you know the speech.   47. Sixth, practice the speech! Now practice, practice, practice. Using the outline, deliver the speech with no other notes. You don’t need to memorize the original text—you’ve taken what you needed from it and will be sticking close to it by using your outline as your guide. This delivery—without notes but with an outline—is the definition of an extemporaneous speech.   48. An alternative: write the outline first. You can go over this same process the other way around. If you write better with a good outline, then by all means do so. You can then break the resulting speech down again, to end up with the outline you will speak from. It just depends on which process works better for you.   49. Outline on note cards. The way you want to read your outline when you’re up at the podium is up to you. Many people like to break their outlines up into sections and keep it on separate note cards. This allows you to focus on one thing at a time, and usually looks good because note cards are so easy to handle.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 9 of 18
  10. 10.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     50. Outline on paper. Others prefer to keep their outline on one piece of paper. This allows you to see the entire speech at once, right there in front of you. If you like to be able to see what’s coming, or to know the place of your current section in the speech as a whole, then this method will work better for you. This also avoids the danger of dropping your note cards or shuffling them by accident.   51. Speaking extemporaneously: don’t worry! Trust yourself! Some people get really nervous when they don’t have the full text of their speech in front of them. An outline doesn’t feel as safe. But think about it: you are the one who wrote the speech. You know what you’re talking about. You don’t have to say the exact words that you wrote for your full text. The outline is enough to guide you, especially if you’ve practiced with it.   52. Know when to shorten the outline. Once you’ve been speaking for a long time, you may start to feel that a full outline is too much— that you don’t need that up there with you. That’s completely normal. The more comfortable you feel speaking, the less guidance you’ll need from your outline. You’ll still want a good, solid outline—you just won’t need so much detail in it.   53. Think of public speaking as a performance. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do a very good job. Why would anyone go to all the trouble public speaking requires if they didn’t enjoy the attention and praise they get in that audience applause? Like actors, musicians, and other performers, public speakers are, at least in part, looking for that audience approval. If you think of this, it will help you practice as a performer.   54. Strive to be physically fit and healthy. Along these same lines, you should not perform if you are not up to par physically. No one wants to see a singer with a sore throat, or a dancer with a broken ankle. If you are under the weather with a cold or flu or fatigue, you should seriously consider how it will affect your speech. Don’t sell yourself—or your audience—short.   55. Take care of yourself the day of the event. Even if you are healthy, there are numerous ways of ruining your chances at a good speech, even after you’ve arrived at the site. On the day of your speech, get plenty of sleep, stick to water and other healthy drinks, and don’t eat or drink anything that could make you sick to your stomach or sluggish. You want to keep yourself at the top of your game.   56. To do good, look good! Be well-groomed. Your appearance makes a big impact on your audience. You want to leave a good first impression. So, make sure you are clean shaven, that you’ve had a recent haircut, and that you have showered and applied whatever   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 10 of 18
  11. 11.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     makeup you need to. This will help you right away to gain the interest and respect of your audience or, at the very least, to avoid distracting from your speech with a bad haircut!   57. Dress appropriately. Your dress on the day of your speech is very important. You should try to dress conservatively, just so your audience won’t be distracted by your outfit. While self expression can help relax the audience and the speaker, you don’t want to go too far. Also, be aware of the occasion and dress appropriately.   58. Save yourself for your speech. There is a lot of energy involved in socializing and partying. Do yourself a favor and skip this stuff until you are done with your speech. Show up as late as you can, shortly before you are set to speak. This way, you can conserve your energy for what you’re being paid to do. You can socialize as much as you like after the speech is over.   59. Take stock of your audience. Even once you’ve gotten to the event, it’s good to check in and see how the actual audience compares to the audience you wrote your speech for. Even when you’ve researched your target audience, you never know what the situation will be when you get there. So take a look with some time left before you speak, and make any final adjustments to your speech to finally tailor it to your audience.   60. Take advantage of the microphone. Just because you have a good voice and you know how to project does not mean you should give up the use of the microphone. Your job as a speaker is to get your message across. The microphone will make your voice audible and help you save your energy for the long run. Always check the microphone and sound system in advance. Bad technology can ruin a good speech.   61. …But don’t let the mike take over your speech. The trick to using a microphone is to think of it as an extension of you. If you don’t want your audience to pay attention to your mike, then you need to be used to it so it doesn’t distract you from your performance. Just make sure to practice with your mike beforehand, or with something that can represent it. Also, make sure to do a sound check before you begin your speech so you are familiar with the effect of the mike.   62. Start out strong. Your first few words will leave a big impression on your audience. Your first sentence, will, of course, depend on your speech. But in general you should make it a priority to start out with a strong statement or an intriguing question, and to deliver the beginning of the speech with a pleasant, confident manner.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 11 of 18
  12. 12.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     63. Don’t get cocky. Be careful not to mistake cockiness for confidence. Though your audience wants to feel that you know what you’re talking about, they certainly don’t to feel you are talking down to them. You’ll be best of adding some humble pie to the recipe of your speech. Any audience can identify with that.   64. Win them over with respect! Remember that, in order to persuade an audience of your point of view, then you really have to win them over to your personality too. It is unlikely that anyone will want to listen to what you have to say if they don’t like you in the first place. Go in with the right mental attitude, appreciating and respecting your audience. That will respect will come across to the audience.   65. Remember the audience, not the rules. Once it’s time to speak, you need to just forget all the rules you’ve been learning. Just relax, forget yourself, and focus on your speech. It does no good to be distracted by lots of technical things when you have to actually talk. So just trust you’ve done the preparation you needed to do, relax and have fun!   66. Don’t listen to your own voice. Along the same lines, do not pay attention to your own voice. Once you start listening to yourself speak, you can get so distracted there’s no turning back. The audience is supposed to look at you and hear you. Your job is to communicate to them, not to share their experience. Forget about yourself and focus instead on your audience.   67. Use gestures, but keep them natural. You will look like a robot if you don’t use hand and body gestures in your speech. However, be careful not to invent gestures that will look unnatural. Your audience will notice if you don’t gesture at all, but they will also notice if you use unnatural gestures. So try to just relax and use your normal gestures.   68. Consider the pace of your speech. Like gestures, pace shouldn’t be unnatural or over-practiced. But you do need to identify places in your speech that will require a change of pace. Making an important point by slowing down, or speeding up. The best way to learn about pacing is to watch videos of other great speakers, like Martin Luther King, Jr. Pay attention to how he uses pacing to emphasize certain parts of the speech.   69. Minimize the use slang. As a speaker, you are trying to project an image of professionalism and education. Therefore, even if the speech is meant to be informal or casual, you should use little or no slang language. Often, even if the audience member isn’t offended by it, they may just be distracted from your point by the language   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 12 of 18
  13. 13.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     you’re using. They might even miss your meaning. So stick to traditional phrases.   70. Use appropriate content. It’s great to use personal stories and experiences in your speeches, for color and for evidence. However, do not use stories that could potentially make the audience uncomfortable. Off-color stories are never appropriate for public speeches, unless your speech is at a bachelor party. Your goal is never to make your audience squirm!   71. “They’ll forgive you anything with a good ending!” This is a true phrase. While your whole speech should be strong, you should never forget to pay attention to your ending. If you can leave the audience with a particularly strong point, a funny joke, or a touching story, delivered confidently and sensitively, they will leave with a good taste in their mouths and will be more likely to “buy” your speech.   72. Improvise with caution! With all the work you’ve put into preparing your speech, sometimes you’ll be in the middle of speaking and will feel tempted to digress or improvise what seems like a better ending. Resist this urge unless you’re willing to take a risk and live with the consequences. While you should definitely be thinking on your feet and be flexible in a speech, it doesn’t usually serve you to digress. You’ll probably end up getting off track and losing your audience.   73. Check your performance. A good way to progress as a speaker is to keep track of how often and how well you meet the goals of your speeches. Unless you can use an election or a jury vote to directly measure your success, you’ll have to get a little more creative. Ask a friend to rate your performances, for example. You can also tell if your speech went over well by whether or not you are asked back.   74. Use movement wisely. Using movement helps break up your speech and sometimes highlights important segments. However, just as with gestures, you do not want this movement to be distracting or unnatural. Try just a slow-paced walk across the stage and back. Use your movement strategically, too—move when you change topics or points, for instance.   75. Put your nervous energy into controlled movement. Another advantage to movement is that it can be a good way to burn off excess nervous energy. Be careful, though, to keep your movements fluid and controlled, though. You don’t want to burn nervous energy with annoying hand gestures or clicking your pen, for example.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 13 of 18
  14. 14.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     76. Use the power of the pause. If your speech is going very well, chances are the audience is listening attentively. You can use a pause very effectively to build suspense or to highlight the significance of whatever’s coming next. An appropriate pause can also emphasis to what you’ve just said and give the audience time to think.   77. Try using rhetorical questions. A good way to engage the audience directly without actually requiring participation from them is to throw out a rhetorical question. A rhetorical question is not meant to be answered. It’s just to illustrate a point. Often it is a helpful way to challenge the audience to think about their own personal answers, which connects your speech to their lives.   78. Repetition, repetition, repetition…again! This is a classic rhetorical technique that helps shape your speech and emphasize important themes in it. The most famous example of repetition used in a speech is “I Have a Dream,” by Martin Luther King, Jr. King used the phrase, “I have a dream” to illustrate and shape his inspirational speech about racial equality. The repetition of the phrase emphasized the point and lent a musicality to the speech.   79. Whispers can be powerful. Whispers are rather like pauses. They can keep the audience listening, and can emphasize important points. When you change the volume of your voice, it signals an increase in intensity. This can tell the audience they should start paying attention if they haven’t been already.   80. Quote the masters. One great way to spice up your speech would be to add relevant quotes from works of literature. Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction are all genres that offer endless possibilities for inspirational and useful quotes. Sometimes a quote illustrates your point better than anything else, and it adds dimension to your speech.   81. Don’t be afraid of clichés. People attach a stigma to clichés—or phrases that are used often—but that’s usually an unfair position. Phrases that people recognize are actually useful, because they spark recognition and serve as a sort of short-hand between you and the audience members. If you choose them wisely, clichés can serve as solid, colorful quotations   82. Review your speech as a whole. Does your speech make sense? Is there a logical sequence that will leave the audience agreeing with you, or at least understanding your point of view? At this later stage of the speech prep process, you should go back over your whole speech and try to judge the composition of the speech. You need to make sure it works as a whole composition.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 14 of 18
  15. 15.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     83. Use stories about other people. Sometimes called “human interest stories,” these are great for grabbing your audience’s attention and giving them something to identify with from the start. These stories function almost like fables or parables. Your story should relate to your position, or the overall point of your talk.   84. Use illustrations. The most powerful tool of the public speaker is a good story. Abraham Lincoln, when arguing or lecturing, would very often interject a short, often funny story, or a joke, to illustrate his point. These stories made his arguments sparkle, and made people remember and like him even when they disagreed with him. The best stories are true stories that have happened to you.   85. Keep a library of speech material. Much like the library of news stories suggested earlier, keeping a library of the poems and stories and other quotes you come across gives you a large pool to choose from when you are writing your speeches. Also, the act of archiving the literature will help you remember it in the first place, in order to come back and pull it for a specific speech. Whenever you run across quotes, statistics or interesting illustrations, put them into a digital or hard-copy file folder. This file is your arsenal for future presentations.   86. Use visual aids. You can use slides, movies, computer presentations, and other types of visual aids in order to enliven and hammer your points home. Your audience will appreciate these aids because they break up your speech and very often communicate what it would take many words to clarify.   87. Don’t let the visual aids distract you. If you do decide to use visual aids, make sure you have mastered the presentation of them before you give your speech. Practicing with your visual aids is just as important as practicing the rest of your speech. The worst-case scenario would be for your video to be cued incorrectly, or for your slideshow to contradict what you are saying!   88. Pass papers out at the right time. If you have print visual aids, like charts, maps, and other types of handouts, it is good to consider the best time to hand them out. No matter how mature your audience is, chances are, if they receive handouts at the beginning of your speech, they will spend most of the speech looking at the handout. If they don’t need it, don’t give it to them. If they do need it, wait to hand it out until your speech is ready for it.   89. Consider your voice. Imagine someone giving the best speech ever written, but delivering it in a voice that is high pitched, or nasal. Would you have a positive reaction to the speech? Probably not. Grating or annoying voices can be the most distracting elements   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 15 of 18
  16. 16.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     of speeches. So, as you work so hard to prepare your speech, make sure you put some energy into training your voice.   90. What your voice should sound like. The ideal voice for speakers is pleasant and clear, with no effort being apparent. The audience should not be thinking about what hard work you have to do as a speaker. Your voice should betray no work at all, but sound easy and refreshed. This will immediately allow the audience to relax and listen to what you have to say instead of feeling sorry for you.   91. Speak up, and enunciate! If the audience cannot understand what you are saying, then what is the point of speaking at all? You need to make sure to pronounce each word clearly, and to project enough so that the audience can hear you. These two factors are equally important. If you are yelling but not enunciating, then you’re wasting your time.   92. Learn to take care of your voice. As any actor or politician will tell you, taking care of your voice is of the utmost importance. You will lose it if you just go around yelling and straining. It is important to study with a vocal coach to learn how to care for your voice, especially if you plan to use it a lot.   93. Eliminate tension for the sake of your voice. If you can’t learn to relax your mind and body before speaking, you will have lots of trouble both mentally and physically. Muscles actually tense up when you are nervous or just strained. These tight muscles affect your voice and make it automatically harder for you to speak correctly.   94. Eliminate tension for the sake of your mind. If you are stressed out and tense, you will not be able to perform mentally at the level you hope to in order to deliver a good speech. The best way to go into a speech is with a clear, focused mind. If this means you meditate beforehand, that’s fine. Many physical warm-ups also help you focus and clear your mind.   95. Speak from a standing position. You cannot have a completely clear airway when you are sitting down. You also cannot fully support your voice with your diaphragm if you are sitting down. Standing with your weight distributed across your whole foot, and with your spine in alignment, helps you automatically to speak in a more healthy and effective way.   96. Encourage others. One secret to being a successful public secret is to remain gracious and generous to other people. People will remember every little interaction they have with you, so you   might as well take every opportunity you can to leave a pleasant impression.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 16 of 18
  17. 17.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking     97. Demonstrate your expertise in the subject of your speech. In a way, this is reiterating a point made earlier, but it’s worth the time. If you choose to speak on a particular subject, you have to know that subject backwards and forwards. An audience is smart; they will know right away if you are faking your way through a speech. Do what you need to do to learn your subject.   98. Keep notes while preparing your subject. If you are researching a subject for a speech, carry a notebook around with you all the time. You can take notes not just during your designated research hours, but anywhere—on the street, watching television, talking to your parents. Background information can come from anywhere, especially when you consider all the sources—poetry, human interest, etc.   99. Use closing arguments as a model for your speech. Even though your purpose is different, and perhaps your stakes are lower, it helps to think of your speech as the same as a lawyer’s closing arguments. All the factors are there: facts, logical sequence, persuasive language, and several sources. Most lawyers’ speeches contain elements of all the types of speeches in way that is fluid and effective.   100. Don’t be afraid of dramatizing it. The techniques we’ve mentioned like the whisper and the pause are ways of dramatizing your speech. Depending on many factors, like the purpose of your speech, the delivery you’ve chosen, and the make up of your audience, you can use these techniques to shape and spice up your speech. This will make it more memorable and effective.   101. Have fun! With all of these tips, you may feel overwhelmed. While it’s true you have a lot of work to do to become a good public speaker, the most important thing is that, in the end, you let it all go and go up there ready to have fun. Enjoy your audience, enjoy your subject, and enjoy yourself. You’ve got something good and useful to say, and your audience is excited to hear it.             Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 17 of 18
  18. 18.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking   Sanborn & Associates, Inc. 10463 Park Meadows Dr. Suite 213 Lone Tree, CO 80124 (303) 683-0714 (303) 683-0825 fax email: Mark@MarkSanborn.com     Visit us on the web at: www.MarkSanborn.com www.FredFactor.com www.YouDontNeedaTitle.com www.TheEncoreEffect.com                            www.marksanborn.com/up-­‐down-­‐or-­‐sideways       Additional Resources from Mark Sanborn:   The Sanborn Store: Mark’s best selling books, e-books, video tapes and training materials are available in our online store and at finer bookstores everywhere. The Fred Factor eCoach: An extraordinary training program available online. Mark Sanborn’s Email Newsletters: Monthly insight for those who want to learn to lead and server better at work and in life   Bring Mark to Your Organization:   Mark is a Hall of Fame speaker whose impact extends well beyond his presentation. To discuss having Mark take your next event to the highest level, call us at (703) 757-1204. Email us at helen@marksanborn.com or visit us on the web. Electronic Press Kits available upon request. Preview Videos available online.   Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 18 of 18
  19. 19.   101 Tips for Successful Public Speaking                               Copyright © 2008 Mark Sanborn All Rights Reserved Page 19 of 18