How to speak confidently in public

Know your subject.

Part of making yourself a comfortable and dynamic public speaker is to make sure you know what you’re talking about and you know it well.

Lacking knowledge can make you anxious and uncertain when you’re speaking and that will come through to your audience.[

Train your body.

While speaking in public isn’t like running a race, there are still things you can do to make sure that your body cooperates with you.

This goes beyond not shifting your weight from foot to foot while you’re talking (hold your toes still and you won’t find yourself doing this). It has to do with breathing, with projecting and making sure you’re speaking properly.

Speak from your diaphragm.

This will help you to project clearly and loudly so that your audience can hear you without seeming like you’re straining or shouting. As an exercise, stand up straight and put your hand on your abdomen.

Breathe in, and breathe out. Count to 5 on a breath and then 10 on a breath. You’ll feel your abdomen start to relax.

Modulate your tone.

Figure out what the pitch of your voice is. Too high? Too low? Relaxing, standing in a comfortable (but upright) position and breathing properly will help you find a more comfortable and more pleasant tone.

Practice pacing.

People speak a lot more quickly when they’re just having a conversation, but that sort of speech doesn’t work when you’re speaking in front of a group. Your audience needs to be able to follow along with what you’re saying and be allowed time to process the speech.

Practice proper articulation and pronunciation.

Articulation is when you’re pronouncing sounds. Focus especially on enunciating these sounds: b, d, g, dz (j in jelly), p, t, k, ts, (ch in chilly). For pronunciation, you want to make sure you know how to pronounce all your words and that you’ve practiced pronouncing the more difficult ones.

Know your speech.

Knowing your speech is just as important as knowing the subject you’re giving the speech on. There are also different ways of giving speeches, so you’ll need to pick the way that works best for you.

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