Public Speaking Tips
Public speaking can be really hard! But don't worry, public speaking, like any skill, is one that comes with time and practice. Based on our own experiences, we have provided below our favourite tips for improving one's public speaking skills.
This is definitely our #1 tip for delivering presentations. When we get anxious the level of adrenaline that runs through our body increases, which causes our mind to spiral and in turn, we talk at a much faster rate. When doing your presentation, make a point to talk slowly. It may feel weird at first, but this allows for your mind to catch up with what you are saying! This in turn will help you talk calmly and clearly to your listeners. Taking pauses between points is also a great way to collect your thoughts.
2. Stay Grounded (literally!)
Swaying left to right when giving presentations is a very common habit for presenters.
If you have experienced this, then standing tall (maintaining a good posture) and standing with your feet shoulder width apart will help with keeping you in one place, and will make you appear and feel more confident.
3. Use Your Hands
Hand movements and gestures are a great way to make your presentation more engaging. The best way to think about hand gestures is to try to be conversational when giving your presentation. Basically, move your hands as you would if you were talking to a close friend. The more you do presentations, the more natural your hand gestures will become. However, if you are looking for specific instances to incorporate hand gestures then one could be pointing or gesturing to an image or statistic you are talking about that is currently on the screen (if you are using a slideshow presentation or something like it).
4. Eye Contact
This is probably one of the most well-known tips for being a good presenter. eye-contact is a way to get your listeners to connect to you and your presentation. Everyone once in a while, make a point to look away from your script for a few seconds. You don’t always have to make eye-contact with a person, you can also look at a wall or object if you feel more comfortable.
5. Pretend You're An Expert
This is a sort of unconventional tip that I have found very useful when doing presentations! Even if you are not the world’s greatest expert on topics such as sustainability or climate change just yet, from my experience, pretending like I’m a world renowned scientist makes me feel like I am qualified enough (and thus, I feel much more confident) to educate my listeners about the topic at hand.
Below are additional resources for public speaking tips!
7 powerful public speaking tips: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/299610
10 tips for improving your public speaking skills: https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/10-tips-for-improving-your-public-speaking-skills/
Ultimately, presenting is a skill that takes practice. Don’t worry—the more and more you do presentations, the more and more comfortable you will become!