Three tips for someone who had to give a speech?

Have you ever wanted to overcome your fear of public speaking? Did you know that there is a place locally that provides a wealth of resources and community to be able to not only overcome this fear, but do it alongside others who share the same fear and goal?

Utah Valley Toastmasters holds weekly meetings where these fears are addressed and conquered using many methods including the following three tips for the trade.

Hold their Attention

You have to get the audience’s attention immediately. People will give you a chance to grab their attention, and if you fail, they will pull out their digital device and their eyes and attention will be elsewhere. So, don’t poke around with small talk, get right into the topic and try to keep it interesting. You can use a story or you can ask a question to get the attention of the audience. Stories, if told well, are great at capturing attention. A really good question can also grab people’s attention. 

Focus your speech on the topic

Don’t try to squeeze too much into a speech. Too much information will make it hard to remember what it was that you were actually trying to say. For instance, if your speech aims to talk about the “20 steps to a great morning routine,” you will likely not only lose interest in your listeners, but even if they do listen, they won’t remember all of the steps. 

Keep it focused on a few main points. You don’t want to wander out into the weeds on some extra topic that has no bearing on the point you are trying to make, so don’t. 

Practice

All speeches have a time limit. That is actually a blessing. It causes the speaker to be succinct in his or her message while choosing the right words and getting right to the point.

Sadly, I have learned this lesson from not timing myself and taking more time than allotted which in turn meant that the next speaker had less than the time that they were allotted. That is embarrassing and shows a lack of awareness.

Practice is also a great place to move from “the written speech” to “the spoken speech.” You need to speak as you would to a friend, not as you would get from a textbook. Practice is going to make it easier on the ears of the audience.

 After a recent event where students from the American Sign Language class at UVU visited, several left with positive reviews including, “I liked the safe space you have for people to speak.” “I liked the evaluations of the speeches” “ I think you all are so brave to stand and speak in front of a group of people.” “I really appreciate the preparation the speakers have made for their speeches.”

If you would like to learn more about public speaking and even polish the skill up enough to enter in competitions, I invite you to check out the Utah Valley Toastmasters in Spanish Fork or one in your area by going to www.toastmasters.org.

Submitted by William Boardman

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