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Guidelines for Public Speaking

Follow these rules-of-thumb to write great speeches!

hand point left by Craig Jewell

While no rules are set-in-stone, following a number of guidelines for public speaking can make things go more smoothly for both yourself and your audience. Here's a few rules of thumb.

  • Prepare well. Nothing else will make a bigger difference to your presentation than adequate preparation. Know your material. That way, when you get there, you can worry about other, more important things, like connecting with your audience.
  • Speak slowly. When you're uptight, it's easy to blaze through a speech and leave the audience in your dust. Relax; speak slowly and surely. You'll communicate confidence and knowledge.
  • Know your audience. Know the people you're speaking to. Find out who they are, what they want. Speak to them not as an entity you're forced to address, but as individual people with hopes and dreams.
  • Scope out your room. Know where you're going to speak. Ask people if the room has any quirks you should know about. That way, you won't be surprised when the lights die and sound system cuts out.
  • Focus on your message. Once you're there, forget about everything else. Relax, focus, and speak. If your projector doesn't work, don't worry. You are the message.

Follow these guidelines and you'll give a speech your audience will remember - in a good way.

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