From primary school to college and university, public speaking is part of any student’s life. There are presentations, oral exams, drama classes, and many other situations that will require talking to an audience.
And while it is an easy task to many outspoken people, for many others it can be the worst time of their lives. Even those who feel comfortable in front of a class know that they could use some advice so to improve their performances.
So let’s see what tips are crucial for every student regarding public speaking – as you will have no way to escape from it for many years.
Get to know your audience
Your audience is the most important people in the world for you during your presentation. Meaning that you should spend some time getting to know them. You will want to know how many will be there, their expectations, their age group, and level of education, so you can decide which is the best vocabulary and resources to use, for instance.
If you are talking to your own class, great, you already know your colleagues. However, you still should try to remember how they usually behave during presentations, and which type of obstacles you might have to face. However, don’t let anyone intimidate you, and remember that your teacher is the one that you have to impress.
Check the environment and any guidelines
You will also need to know about the place where you will be talking so you can decide the best way to deliver your presentation. Will be standing up behind a pulpit? Will you have a desk to leave your notes? Which visual aid can you use? Will you need to speak into a microphone? Will you be filmed?
Another important matter that you need to deal in advance is checked any possible guidelines. You probably have to talk for a specific period, and you might not be the one choosing your topic. You might also be prompted by your teacher or professor to address your audience in a particular manner.
So make sure that you find out about it beforehand, to avoid wasting time having to reorganize your talk in the last minute.
Learn from experts
Now that you know what you have to do, you should do some research and have a look at what some seasoned public speakers do in similar situation. Thankfully, nowadays, you can do it very easily. You can just go on YouTube, and you will find several examples of talks, speeches, seminars, classes, and any other type of oral presentation that you might need.
Of course, bear in mind that you will be watching it not to face the fact that you aren’t as good as they are. On the contrary, you might just realize that they also make mistakes and that it’s completely fine. What you will be doing instead is learning how they create and deliver a presentation so that you can follow their ideas.
Do your homework
One of the most vital things that will ensure the delivery of a memorable public speech is the homework you do before it. In other words, you are there to talk about something, so you should know as much as possible about it. So spare as much time as you can to do your research and study your topic.
Naturally, nobody is expecting you to become a Ph.D. overnight. But you also don’t want to be left speechless for not being able to answer basic questions. Or worse, for providing wrong information about the topic. And the only way to avoid it is by studying and studying more.
Prepare your notes and visual aids
When you feel confident about your knowledge regarding the topic, it will be time to prepare the presentation itself. You can decide to write it down so not to forget what you have to say at this stage, but you know shouldn’t be reading it aloud to your audience – it is a presentation, not a reading exam. Meaning that you will need your notes and visual aids to help you on it.
As mentioned before, you will have to check what you can use depending on the environment, guidelines, and your audience. And if you know that your hands are usually shaking while you speak in public, paper on your hands might not be the best idea.
In any case, make sure that you look for the assistance of a reliable proofreader or an online writing service, such as All Top Reviews, to check if your presentation is error-free. And, if the technology is involved, remember to test everything before your talk starts to avoid embarrassments.
Go for some rehearsal
The next vital step on your way for a perfect oral presentation is doing some rehearsal. You will get your notes and give your talk to anyone that can offer you honest feedback so you can find out in advance what you need to improve in terms of content and performance.
If you don’t have anyone to ask for it, consider filming yourself so that you can reach your own conclusions. Alternatively, at least, use your teddy bear as an audience. But never go to the stage without hearing your own speech beforehand. It can be very enlightening.
Check your tone of voice and body language
While you are doing your rehearsal, also analyze your tone of voice and body language. These elements are crucial to your success, as they can make all the difference to your audience. If you speak too fast or if you move your arms awkwardly, they might get too distracted and find hard to understand what you mean.
According to experts, you should aim to speak a bit slower than normal, make eyes contact with a few people in the audience, and do not pace around too much. You need to look confident and comfortable, so try to identify and eliminate/neutralize any nervous tics you might have.
Present yourself accordingly
Before you open your mouth, your audience will look at the way you are dressed, at your shoes, your hair, and accessories. And it is not because they are superficial people. It is just because it is what is in front of them shouting for attention.
But you are right when you think that these items shouldn’t be more important than what you have to say. And the best way to avoid it is by presenting yourself accordingly to the ambient and turning the volume of your apparel down. Leave bright colors, heavy makeup, and noisy high heels to another occasion.
Final advice: Don’t underestimate yourself
And, as the final piece of advice, never underestimate yourself. Even though some people seems to nail oral presentations, the large majority is just very good at hiding their nervousness. And it is on it that you should become better.
Learn to ignore small mistakes, and not to take too seriously those that can’t be ignored, and your audience will forgive you. Just make sure that you have something valuable to say, remain confident, and let time and practice teach you the best way.
Janet Anthony is a blogger from Kansas City who has been writing professionally for five years now. She mostly writes about blogging, writing tips, social media and digital marketing. Her motto is “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows”.