How to Get Started In Public Speaking

Public speaking is among the five most feared activities human beings encounter.

The majority of us fear it worse than anything else. Yet, the mastery of public speaking is an important tool in our business skill set.

It's never too early (or too late) to learn to speak in public. Every one needs to start somewhere. The best strategy is to look for non-threatening opportunities with familiar surroundings, friends and colleagues. Plan your speaking gigs in stages starting out with a small comfortable group then increasing the number of members in the audience and finally tackle the prominence of the engagement.

Become a member of the leadership team where you need to give reports or host meetings. In these instances, you will have prepared material in front of you. Practice with the material as if you were giving the speech. Don't just read the material; live it and convey it with feeling. When you begin with an audience, remember to make eye contact. Watch how people are receiving your information. Do they look bored? Adjust your inflection accordingly.

Do you participate in a professional association, social club or sport that hosts regular meetings? Ask to make a short presentation. If this is too daunting volunteer to introduce another speaker. This will get you in front of an audience but the spotlight won't be on you because you are not the primary focus. It will help you to feel comfortable with a stage, a mike, and an audience. If you are comfortable with jumping right in, ask to be the keynote. Plan for it to be informal so that you get the experience of speaking in front of a group but you don't have to extensively prepare or make a formal presentation.

Make sure to ask for feedback. The simplest way to do this is to have an evaluation sheet. Write the questions using a ranking of 1-5 for answers. Leave space for writing an additional assessment, but the less work someone has to do in an evaluation the better the response.

Tip: Make sure to collect the completed forms before the audience leaves the room. Otherwise, you will never get them back.

After a few informal speaking occasions plan to make a "real" speech. Make it about something you are an expert on so the material will come naturally. Prepare for 20 minutes tops for this type of presentation with a ten minute Q& A You will want to have notes but it is imperative that you are comfortable with the topic. It has to be part of your repertoire so that it comes to you even if you get off track. The more you know about the subject the more comfortable you will be with your audience.

Tip: About 8 pages of typed material equals 20 minutes if you speak in an even measured rate.

Tip: As a friend or a moderator to ask a question even if the audience doesn't have one (Prepare several questions in advance).

Look for panel opportunities that allow several participants. Once again, this gives you time in front of the microphone where the focus is not just on you. It also helps because there is a moderator who will keep the dialogue going if you hit a rough patch. It's also good to discuss before hand what the moderator will ask and what they expect from you in the way of a presentation. How long will it take? How many questions you will be asked, etc.

Tip: In this instance, you are part of a team. Don't hog the limelight. If your material is good and you are well prepared, you will come out as a credible participant.

Tip: Never serve on a panel blindly without knowing what you are going to be asked in advance.

After you have mastered the informal and the panel, it's time for some serious speech giving: The 45-minute program with 10 minutes of Q&A.

This requires preparation and practice; a good venue for this is a trade show or conference. At these affairs they are always looking for speaker. Plan months in advance. Contact the organizing group about your topic. Make sure your topic fits with the conference theme otherwise it might not draw the audience you want.

Tip: Abstracts are required in advance of the actual event. Unless you are an expert at winging it, do your homework early. The abstract should be the framework for your presentation. This will give you ample time to prepare your speech and presentation and add new material should something relevant happen.

Tip: You want your material fresh. Always look to current events or hot button issues to make the presentation contemporary.

Tip: As a beginner, be advised to stay away from the more exotic aspects of speech giving. If you use PowerPoint, make it simple. Remember, the more complicated it gets the greater the chance for something to go wrong. Always take a backup CD and at least two printed copies of your speech.

There are groups such as toastmasters that you can join that will allow you the opportunity to speak in front of a group in a non-threatening environment. To find out about a group near you go to

Remember everyone has to start somewhere. The more you speak front of people the more comfortable you will become. The audience is not the enemy. They are there to learn from you. Share the wealth of your knowledge. Keep that thought in mind when in front of the podium.

JoAnn Hines' specialty is PACKAGING PEOPLE. Whether you want to be paid more, you just lost your job, or you want to progress in the one you have, Ms. Hines advice and expertise can help you transform your personal brand. She can show you how to package yourself and make your brand a hot commodity. It's easy once you know the ropes and begin to utilize her insider's secrets. She shows you step by step how to increase your visibility, credibility and marketability with easy to use tutorials and templates.

It is time to get started "Packaging Yourself." To learn the ropes and "Package Yourself" for success email Ms. Hines @

In The News:

pen paper and inkwell

cat break through

Speech Presenting - Seven Ways to Tailor Your Speech to the Audience

Every speech has an audience and every audience is different.... Read More

The Little-Known Speechwriting Secrets That Won George W Bush The US Election

He's been accused of "mangling the language, destroying its meaning... Read More

For Speakers: Ten Tips on How to Increase Your Fees

One of the most important tools speakers use is their... Read More

How To Make A Blue Ribbon Presentation Every Time

You can make a Blue Ribbon presentation each and every... Read More

How To Use Microphones

Microphones are designed to help your voice, not replace it.... Read More

Speak With a Relaxed Body and Mind

Fear of public speaking is No.1. Death is No.4. So... Read More

A Simple Guide to Writing (and Giving) a Speech

Nearly as dreaded as snakes and spiders, public speaking ranks... Read More

Top 7 Ways to Succeed in the Business of Speaking

How attractive are you as a speaker? No, your looks,... Read More

Analyzing Your Audience and Assessing Comprehension Through Feedback

Aside from fielding and asking questions, there are other ways... Read More

So Youre Going to Make a Speech

What Do I Talk About?Start by asking yourself three questions:1.... Read More

How To Handle Audience Questions Effectively

For some reason, the prospect of having to answer audience... Read More

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Speakers

Successful speakers do not do all the right things all... Read More

Public Speaking: Getting the Room Set-up Right

I don't know why it is, but no matter how... Read More

20 Tips to Becoming a Professional Speaker: How to be a Rising Star

Entering the speaking industry can be both daunting and exciting.... Read More

The Top Four Ways To Get Audience Involvement In A Presentation

In the thousands of speeches I've heard very few presenters... Read More

How to Use Public Speaking to Attract Clients

When Robert Middleton moved his marketing consulting practice, Action Plan... Read More

Speakers Learn How to Define Your Niche

This is one of the hardest things speakers have to... Read More

Conquer Presentation Anxiety: Olympic Athletes Show Us How

Whether going for the gold or giving a presentation, the... Read More

7 Sure Fire Ways To Overcome Stage Fright When Speaking Or Performing

Prayer or Meditation: If you're a believer you can pray... Read More

Start Conversations as Easily as You Start a Car

Starting a car is easy. Put the key in, turn... Read More

10 Worst Tips To Give A Speaker

1. Learn the speech by heart or read it from... Read More

Timing - Why You Should Never Go Overtime with Your Presentation or Speech

In a conference setting, nothing annoys audiences more than talks... Read More

Public Speaking Tips

1. No speech is ever perfect. Perfectionism creates more fear.... Read More

Speaker Partnership Offers Trade Show Value

Want to gain added exposure at a trade show? Consider... Read More

Choosing a Hot Keyword: Advice for Aspiring Public Speakers

When choosing keywords, you'll want to stay away from using... Read More

Executive Public Speaking for English as a Second Language (ESL)

Public Speaking is a challenging skill. It is TOUGH! For... Read More

Is Information Delivery Instruction?

Do you work for one of those organisations whose "training"... Read More

Youre Making Me Nervous

Almost everybody is nervous when they stand up to speak.... Read More

What is Public Speaking?

When we talk about public speaking, we usually think about... Read More

How to Get Started In Public Speaking

Public speaking is among the five most feared activities human... Read More

15 Tips For Making A Great Speech

1. Listen to your internal dialog. 2. Visualize a positive... Read More

Public Speaking Tips: The More You Know, The More It Will Flow - Tips For Knowing Your Audience

The more you know about your audience, the better your... Read More

Directing Voiceovers: Dont Be, Do!

Directing a voice-over talent you've hired to read a spot... Read More