Public Speaking: Confidence Building Tips

by Patricia Venables - Date: 2007-01-19 - Word Count: 612 Share This!

The ability to speak well in public helps people in all walks of life. More and more people are involved in charitable organisations, or on committees or parent-teacher organisations. People who would never consider themselves speakers find themselves having to structure a presentation and communicate ideas, and are held back by lack of self confidence.

It is also true that giving a presentation to colleagues has become a normal part of people's working lives. Once it was just those in executive positions who had to master the art of presentation, but now absolutely anyone can be asked to present their ideas in this way. Learning to speak well in public can help overcome shyness and self- consciousness, and help people to think clearly under any circumstances, whether in everyday life or in the work place.

Make no mistake, delivering an effective presentation to a group of people of any size is difficult. Because of the easy availability of all sorts of information these days from the internet and other media sources, listeners expect more from speakers today. More in the way of content, more in the way of entertainment value. Audiences want a presentation delivered with personality and verve.


Preparation is everything. The first essential for a speaker is to be familiar with his subject. If you have been asked to give a presentation on your own pet subject, then this will not be a problem. Think about it for several days, and do any necessary research. Find out as much as possible about the group you will be speaking to. Perhaps you can dig up some little known fact about their club or organisation. Audiences like to hear stories about themselves!

Structure your Presentation

Make sure you structure your speech. Begin with something to get the attention of your audience, perhaps the fact you discovered about their club, or a comment on a current event. Another way to gain immediate attention is to ask a question. This is a technique used by many professional speakers.

Make sure you have only two or three main points in your speech, and back these up with examples or statistics. Try to use a visual aid if possible. You can simply use a flip chart or graph, or display an object. If you use an overhead projector, make sure your slides are of good quality. There is nothing more irritating to an audience than inadequate or blurred presentation slides. Better to have none at all.

To Read or not to Read

Most beginners feel happier if they can stand and read their speech. This should be avoided at all costs. You must look at the audience during your presentation and maintain good eye contact. The trick is to let your eyes roam the audience, covering all corners of the room. To enable you to do this, use note cards instead of reading your speech. Make sure each card has a word or phrase that will act as a trigger for a particular train of thought. Practise your presentation with these cards several times. This is very important, and can help reduce stress and anxiety on the day. Make sure you use variety in your tone of voice, and smile!

A Good Closing

You have just treated your audience to a first class presentation, so you must leave them with something to think about. You could summarise your main points, or again, ask a question. Another technique used by the professionals is to close with a quotation or a brief poem. If you choose this option, make sure the quotation or poem is relevant to your presentation.

The points discussed here are the basics to encourage you to be the speaker people will want to listen to.

Related Tags: speech, presentation, public speaking tips

Patricia Noble is a qualified healthcare professional. She also has interests in home business enterprises and advises on public speaking. Please visit and

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