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Professional Development: Public Speaking 101




Want to become a better public speaker? Here are some simple tips to help you learn more about presenting and public speaking!

Want to become a better public speaker? Here are some simple tips how!


1. From script to memory

Start by writing a full script out and reading it to yourself until the words start to sink in. Then practice many more times without the script in front of you. The words won’t be exactly the same but the content you’re talking about will be and you’ll give a more genuine performance!


2. Only use brief notes

With all that practice you shouldn’t need your full script with you at the podium. Instead, bring along bullet points to prompt your memory so you can speak confidently.


3. Breathe through your nerves

Breathing deep and slow before you step up to the podium can help to calm your nerves. If you feel yourself shaking, it will help to squeeze your fists. Also try limit your caffeine one hour prior to your speech!


4. Don’t apologise for your performance

You might feel overwhelmed but the best way to deal with that is to fake it ‘til you make it! Don’t say “Sorry, I’m nervous” or “I’m not very prepared” because people will expect you to fail. Instead, charm the crowd with your dazzling smile and believe in yourself.


5. Know your strengths

Are you the office clown? Know a lot about French cuisine? Playing to your strengths can show people your humanity and uses less brain power because you’re talking about things you already know. Use humour to warm up the crowd or throw in an analogy about how your preparation for the speech was as important as the mise en place at Mirazur in the French Riviera… (see what I did there?).


6. Timing is everything

Know your timing prior to the day so that you don’t run over your allotted time. You should also remind yourself to slow down; if you race through the content your audience won’t understand what you’re talking about!


7. Know your audience

Remind yourself who you’re presenting to – if you understand the people who are listening to your speech it will help you to understand how to talk to them. Maybe you’re an expert and you need to simplify the content you’re teaching. It would be completely different if you’re talking to a group of peers who might think it silly for you to over-simplify!


This article was written in consultation with accomplished HACSU member, Deborah Robinson who is recognised as a Toastmasters International teacher of public speaking. Thanks Deborah!