Guide to giving speeches and presentations

Guide to giving speeches and presentations

Tips and advice of public speaking, making speeches and giving presentations effectively.

Giving speeches and presentations is one of the most basic ways that an activist can communicate their ideas. Every activist should have at least a little experience with public speaking.

Speaking tips
Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and healthy. It shows you care about doing well. But, too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here's how you can control your nervousness and make effective, memorable presentations:

1. Know the room. Be familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and try practicing using the microphone and any visual aids.

2. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience as they arrive. It's easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.

3. Know your material. If you're not familiar with your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your speech and revise it if necessary.

4. Relax. Ease tension by going for a walk, doing some basic stretching, chatting with colleagues.

5. Realise that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, and informative. They don't want you to fail.

6. Don't apologise. If you mention your nervousness or apologise for any problems you think you have with your speech, you may be calling the audience's attention to something they hadn't noticed. Avoid pointing out your own imagined inadequacies, your audience has a higher opinion of you than you think.

7. Concentrate on the message - not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties, and outwardly toward your message and your audience. Your nervousness will dissipate.

8. Turn nervousness into positive energy. Harness your nervous energy and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm.

9. Gain experience. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking.

Tips for handling Question and Answer sessions
If you don't hear the question or understand it, ask the questioner to repeat it.

1. Try to keep calm, even if your audience is hostile or upset.

2. Always respect the questioner, even if you do not like the question or the manner in which it is posed.

3. Don't feel offended if someone asks you a question that you feel you already answered in your presentation or a previous question, they may not have heard or understood the information previously presented.

4. Honesty is the best policy, if you don't know the answer to something, admit it - you can offer to get in contact the person later with an answer.

Excerpted by libcom from 10 Tips For Successful Public Speaking with modifications by Shawn Ewald and Handling Q & A.