• Choose your speech topic very carefully. Ideally, select a topic which interests you, and on which you have some previous knowledge.
• Be well-dressed. As everybody knows, first impressions count a lot.
• When delivering a speech, make sure that you maintain eye contact with the entire audience. Do not just look in one direction. Instead, look at different people at different times during your speech. This is a great way to involve the audience in your speech.
• Do not read out your speech word by word.
• If quoting someone, or reading out statistics, make sure to mention the source.
• When giving examples and stories, make sure that you include those which the audience can relate to.
• Visual aids, such as power-point presentations, interest and appeal to the audience a lot, so use them creatively to enhance the effectiveness of your speech.
• Do not make the speech too lengthy. Keep it short, crisp, and interesting.
In the end, it is practice, experience, patience and your ability to stay calm, which will improve public speaking skills.
Good luck on your next presentation!
• Bob McDonnell is executive director of Arizona College Planners, L.L.C., a member of the College Planning Network, the National Association of College Funding Advisors and the National Association of College Acceptance Counselors. For questions, email Info@ArizonaCollegePlanners.com.