Public Speaking Tip

There are literally thousands of skills, techniques and habits that can improve your presentation. Here are 101 of them:

  1. Follow a proven plan for outlining and delivering a successful presentation
  2. Recruit a mentor to help you through the development of your speech
  3. Practice!
  4. Use an example about yourself
  5. Organize your speech with a definite opening, conclusion and a few points in the middle
  6. Clearly state your speech goal at the beginning
  7. Make sure every element of your speech focuses on that goal
  8. Examine your word choice carefully
  9. Structure your sentences
  10. Research and know your audience before you present to them
  11. Let the audience get to know you
  12. Prepare in advance
  13. Pronounce your words clearly
  14. Use no notes unless you have statistics to report that must be perfect in translation
  15. Deliver your speech to someone and ask for their feedback
  16. Select a topic appropriate to the audience
  17. Have a clear message
  18. End your speech with some of the words used at the beginning
  19. Lead your audience to a defined goal
  20. Support your points with examples
  21. Transition smoothly from one section of your presentation to the next
  22. Use current facts from your research
  23. Have a logical flow of points
  24. Have an attention-getting beginning
  25. Be sincere
  26. Be convincing
  27. Appear confident to your audience
  28. Channel your nervousness into “enthusiasm”
  29. Smile naturally without going overboard
  30. Provide vivid descriptions, stories and examples that paint a picture
  31. Eliminate jargon
  32. Reduce words that are not supportive of your point
  33. Use correct grammar
  34. Shorten your word length
  35. Eliminate trite canned jokes from your presentation
  36. Use action verbs
  37. Stand still until moving is appropriate to the presentation
  38. Stand centered in front of the group and use movement to the sides to present sections of your speech or to make specific points
  39. Only read a speech if getting every single word perfectly correct is essential to the success of your presentation
  40. Only use a lectern if you are going to read your presentation
  41. Use hand gestures even if you are reading your speech from a lectern
  42. Never clasp your hands on the side or top of the lectern
  43. Eliminate the word AH or UM from your presentation
  44. Use gestures that are natural and appropriate to the feel of your speech
  45. Explore facial expressions
  46. Make eye contact with everyone in your audience
  47. Express your message rather than just say it
  48. Hold your arms at your side until a gesture makes sense to use
  49. Avoid clasping your hands unless you’re demonstrating how to make a snowball
  50. Analyze your posture by video recording your presentation during rehearsal
  51. Be balanced in your stance instead of leaning to one side or the other
  52. Pause to give your audience time to laugh
  53. Raise and lower your voice volume throughout your presentation to emphasize points
  54. Project your voice using your diaphragm instead of just your throat
  55. Slow your speech rate in parts of your presentation when you want people to focus and remember a specific point
  56. Speed up your speech rate when you want to raise the energy level in the room
  57. Warm-up your voice prior to your speaking with various voice exercises
  58. Never drink milk or eat ice cream within four hours of speaking
  59. Put a slice of lemon in a glass of water and sip on it 30 minutes before your presentation and during to keep your voice loose
  60. Support your main points with researched statistics
  61. Use personal testimony to backup your claim
  62. Plan for using your stories and tell them, but don’t write them out word-for-word
  63. Never share a story unless you also have a point to share at the end of the story
  64. Display your findings on a visual aid for the audience to see
  65. Use more than one source to research findings
  66. Your opinion is good, but researched proof is better
  67. Use 7 words or less per line on your visual
  68. Use 5 or less lines per screen in PowerPoint slides or flip chart sheets
  69. Always bring a handout in case your technology fails
  70. Make 10-20% more copies of your handout than you think you’ll need
  71. Have at least two people review your visual aids for typos before completing your presentation prep work
  72. Use black markers and fresh markers on white boards
  73. Use visual aids appropriate to your personality
  74. Choose font sizes that can be easily read from the back of your presentation room
  75. Select visual aids that you are “at ease” with and that do not require a struggle for you to use or setup
  76. Craft your visuals so that your message is remembered
  77. Invest in quality designed slides
  78. Bullet points are cliche so you should never use them on PowerPoint slides
  79. Incorporate video into your presentation
  80. Be persuasive in your call to action
  81. Show you have the interest of the audience as your top priority
  82. Use logic to win your audience
  83. Apply emotion to connect with your audience so they see your side of the point
  84. Establish your credibility on the subject early in your presentation
  85. Know your audience’s self-interest and tailor your speech to it
  86. Ask your audience if they agree
  87. Challenge the audience to consider something they might have thought otherwise of before
  88. Be positive
  89. Plan humorous statements right before a major point you want the audience to remember
  90. Dress slightly better than most of your audience
  91. Polish your shoes before any presentation
  92. If you wear a dress shirt and suit to present, have them both pressed before your presentation
  93. Use a clicker to move from screen to screen in your PowerPoint
  94. Always face the audience and never turn your back on them
  95. Place your laptop on a table in front of you so you never have to turn and look at the screen
  96. Hold a hand-held microphone with the same hand for the duration of your talk, unless the presentation is longer than 10 minutes
  97. Test all microphone and sound devices before you take the stage
  98. If you use a lapel mic, be sure to have a hand-held (hard wired) mic nearby in case you have to move to the hand-held
  99. Prepare a written introduction for the person introducing you to the audience
  100. Use 16 point font and two line spaces between each sentence for your written introduction
  101. Never end your presentation with “thank you” because the audience should be thanking you with applause at the end

About 80 of these 101 came from my paraphrasing of suggestions and sequences of steps provided in the Competent Communicator manual supplied by Toastmasters International.

When a new member joins Toastmasters, the Competent Communicator manual is the first manual they receive to work through ten presentation projects. Each project focuses on the development of a certain group of skills such as vocal variety or researching a topic or using visual aids.

The topic you choose is up to you.

You’ve just been introduced to 101 ways to improve your presentation skills. And, now you know the origin of most of those suggestions.

Now all you need is a supportive environment to work through those skill building objectives and practice them!

That is the purpose of a Toastmasters club.

Come and visit our Toastmasters club in Aurora Colorado and see how it all works. We meet every Thursday from 11:30am to 1pm. Check our About Us page for directions to our meeting location at Colorado Technical University (CTU).

We hope to see YOU at a George Sutton Toastmasters meeting soon!