College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Career Corner
Top 7 Steps to Better Public Speaking

Sandra Schrift -- A good speaker commands attention and communicates a message effectively. Once you've chosen the right words, here are some tips on how to properly convey them to your audience.

Whether you want to be a part-time, full-time, or BIG time speaker you must speak, speak, speak. At first, deliver 25-30 minute free talks to service clubs and community organizations. Consider it to be your off-Broadway tryout. It's a great opportunity to fine-tune your program...and maybe get some future paid business!

Do the following to put everyone at ease when delivering a speech:

1. Your speech needs a beginning, middle, and end.
You must grab your audience's attention in the first minute...so begin with a starting comment, question, story, or humor. End your speech on a strong note by asking a question, providing a quote, telling a story, or leaving them laughing.

2. Every 5-7 minutes, back up your facts with signature (about you or others) stories.
Stories are out there -- everywhere. Find them in the stores, at restaurants, on the airplane, at home. People retain information better when hearing a story.

3. Practice your speech out loud.
Record it onto a tape recorder and/or video camera. Also do this when giving a program to a live audience. Do it every time!

4. Practice pausing before and after important points.
Don't be afraid to leave open space. The use of silence is a key requirement to becoming an effective speaker.

5. Use direct eye contact.
You can focus on one person when making a point...and everyone else in the audience will think you are speaking to them also.

6. Don't just stand behind the lectern: move around, gesture.
Be animated. (55% of how people perceive you is by body language; 38% by your voice; 7% by your words)

7. Smile a lot.
Be enthusiastic about what you are saying. And have fun.

Coach Schrift, who started the first national, professional Speakers Bureau in San Diego in 1982, now works with emerging and experienced speakers on reaching the next level in their speaking careers. She also works with business professionals and organizations who want to deliver masterful presentations. To find out how to make it as a professional speaker, visit: http://www.schrift.com/success_resources.htm. For her free bi-weekly "Monday Morning Mindfulness" ezine, go to: http://www.schrift.com/monday.htm.

© 2007 Sandra Schrift

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.