Public Speaking Tip Sheet

Public Speaking Tip Sheet
Public Speaking, whether it is in a small group in front of hundreds, requires practice
and an understanding of both the common pitfalls and effective techniques to gain and
keep the audience’s attention. While excellent speaking skills cannot make up for
mediocre material, mediocre speaking skills can easily undermine the effectiveness of a
well-designed lesson. While some individuals may seem born with innate speaking skills,
anyone can learn the essential aspects of effective public speaking through practice,
reflection and developing a connoisseurship of teaching styles.
Essentials of Speaking: F E P3
Fluency: speaking clearly with well chosen words
 Articulation – practice difficult and important words
 Eliminate fillers (e.g. “um”, “like”, “you know”)
 Careful phrasing, use of power words/phrases (e.g. “This is the critical point”)
Energy: the use of body movement, projection, eye contact and inflection to convey
excitement and a sense of importance of the topic
Pitch: a comfortable (mid range) and varied voice frequency
Particularly important issue for those who tend to speak at either a high or low end and
those who tend to speak in “monotone”
Pace: a comfortable (mid range) and varied speed to maintain attention
Fast talkers  plan pauses and repetition
Slow takers  vary volume and inflection
Posture: conveying confidence, excitement
Common mistakes:
 Trapped behind podium (when not necessary)
 Leaning
 Hands in pockets
Keys to success:
 Practice – especially phrasing and inflection. Review recordings of your talks,
seek objective feedback – identify weaknesses and make them your strength
 Incorporate rhetorical questions to keep the audience engaged
 Get comfortable with silence – pauses are useful
 Imagine you are having an animated conversation with a close friend
 Enthusiasm is contagious