The Basics of Public Speaking

Reference & EducationWriting & Speaking

  • Author Gord And Gertie Guide
  • Published February 2, 2012
  • Word count 452

There is nothing that can strike fear into the hearts of mankind as having to address an audience and give a speech. Certainly there are many who can grasp the proverbial microphone and regale their audience without a moment’s hesitation.

Then there are the rest of us who would rather be in the seats or behind the scenes instead of on stage.

Chances are we will need to address this situation at some point in our lives and the best defense is learning the basics of public speaking and adapting them into our lives as often as possible until we are comfortable with how we present ourselves.

The Main Points

Here are a few basic rules of thumb to keep in mind when you have been asked to speak.

  • The content of the speech should match the information needed by the audience. Preparing the material carefully in advance can ensure you have covered all areas you wish to address.

  • Record your speech in front of a mirror and take notes. By doing so, you can watch your mannerisms and emphasis any weak points you may uncover in your speech.

  • Note your posture. Standing tall and making eye contact across the room shows confidence and attention. If you feel yourself tensing up, change position or walk a few steps and let yourself relax while you continue.

  • In any story, there is a beginning, middle and an end. Use this guide in your speech to capture attention in the beginning, support your story in the middle, and close up with a conclusion at the end. Your speech is just another story to be told.

  • Keep natural pauses in your speech and allow the listener to reflect and absorb what you have to say. By allowing them to question in their own mind, you have engaged their attention.

  • If there are audio-visual materials being utilized, have a plan B and a plan C should electrical problems occur. Also as a fail safe, plan for all of the above and know how to wing it should the worst case scenario happen.

  • Keep track of your time. Never go beyond your allotted time as boredom will quickly set in and derail any gains you may have made in your speech previously.

From grade school to corporations across the globe, meetings and speeches are a part of our life. By taking the fear out of public speaking early on, we can learn to become more comfortable in front of crowds each time we take the stage.

Learning to plan the topic and teaching ourselves to relax while speaking can make a big difference when it comes to projecting confidence and leadership in all areas of our lives.

Got a burning question about the basics of public speaking? Grandpa Gord and Grandma Gertie put a sensible spin on expert advice, with a little humor thrown into the mix. We cover topics ranging from pets to parenting, careers to hobbies, relationships to lifestyle, finances to food, and everything in between. Visit us at for some simple and straight from the hip advice from people who’ve been around the block a few times.

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