Do you ever feel anxious about public speaking? Do you wish you could communicate with confidence in any situation? Effective public speaking doesn’t always come naturally. Many people struggle with speaking in front of a crowd or even a small room of their peers. If you’re just beginning or you want some help to become a more effective public speaker, you have come to the right place.

My 10 public speaking basics will help you to focus on your audience, engage with them, and keep them interested in what you are saying. With these guidelines, you will understand how to speak with more confidence and impact while also reducing anxiety.

Being well prepared can help to reduce any fear of public speaking you may have. Furthermore, understanding how to engage with your audience will lead to successfully communicating your message.

Effective Public Speaking Basics

Read my public speaking basics below or watch the video where you will find important dos and don’ts to keep you on track and your audience engaged.

1. Don’t have too many notes

If you have too much detail in your notes, you will find yourself focused on your them instead of your audience.

2. Have bullet points or talking points

A concise list of talking points that you use to trigger and remind you what you are going to say is ideal. Bullet points will give you time and opportunity to look up, engage with your audience, and connect with them.

3. Don’t fidget

Fidgeting with your hands and feet or pacing up and down constantly may distract your audience. Using your hands to gesture and explain is helpful and will engage your audience, but fidgeting can be very annoying. If you are guilty of fidgeting with a pen or your hair, make sure they are out of the way until you feel more comfortable with your public speaking skills.

4. Find a comfortable, confident position to stand

Make sure you are feeling relaxed, and then if you need to move, it should be for a specific purpose, for example, to engage with another audience member.

5. Don’t ramble

Try not to ramble as this can make you look disorganised, and it is hard for the audience to focus and understand your message. Rambling when public speaking in public may cause your audience to lose interest quickly. Refer to your talking points to make sure you stay on track.

6. Prepare

Be organised and concise by taking the time to plan, prepare, and practice for any public speaking engagement. Make sure your talk has a sound introduction, useful content, and a concise summary. Your audience will respond best to a well-structured speech.

7. Don’t look down

Don’t look at the floor, to the side, or to your stand as this will not engage your audience; having talking points rather than detailed notes will help you with this.

8. Pick someone to talk to

Pick people in the audience and speak to them, make them feel like you are talking directly to them. During your talk, select several people to speak to directly, then generally to everyone. This strategy, while engaging your audience, can also help to keep you focused and calm any nerves you may have.

9. Don’t mumble

Talking too softly, mumbling or using too many fillers like um or ah can make you look unprepared. The occasional um won’t have a big impact on your presentation, so don’t panic if one or two slip out. If your audience cannot hear or understand you they will lose interest quickly.

10. Speak clearly

Speaking clearly, loudly and with confidence will help your audience stay interested in your message. Emphasise key words and pause after a critical idea or thought. The pause ………………….can have a significant effect.

I’m Sonal Dave, your public speaking coach. I run workshops and online courses to help everyone communicate with confidence and improve their public speaking skills.

The public speaking courses I teach cover how to engage and interact with your audience, different styles of communication for different scenarios, voice control and using body language to influence your audience. Most importantly of all, I will help you to overcome public speaking anxiety and communicate confidently.

Effective communication is so important for everyone, from children to adults. Let me know in the comments which tip you find most useful?

Sonal Dave is a Ceremonies Celebrant, Lady Toastmaster and Professional Public Speaking Coach. Speaking English, Gujarati and basic Hindi, Sonal’s services include symbolic Asian rituals, the sand ceremony and many other symbolic Indian or Western elements.