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Mastering the Art of Public Speaking as a Student

June 8, 2024

Whether you’re taking a public speaking course or you need to give a presentation as part of a class or extracurricular, there are a few things to do to overcome your anxiety to appear confident, competent, and prepared.

1. Understand the Underlying Reason for Your Presentation

The first step in effective public speaking is creating a compelling speech. If you know your presentation is interesting, you’ll automatically have more confidence. The key is to be clear about the central premise for your speech. You’ll then be able to create talking points to support your argument.

2. Connect with Your Audience

It’s crucial to know who you’re talking to and their prior knowledge of the topic. This will help you tailor your language appropriately to ensure your audience both understands your message and feels engaged.

3. Practise Giving the Speech

Practise reading your speech aloud several times before your presentation. If this will be your first time public speaking, you may find you need to have a script. Ideally, though, you’ll just use a bullet list of key points and remember what you want to say. This will sound much more natural and allow you to show your personality.

4. Take Your Time

There’s no need to rush when giving a presentation. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with your surroundings, assess the audience, and check the acoustics before you begin. When you deliver your speech, avoid the temptation to speak fast to finish as soon as possible. Use your normal speaking speed and give yourself the chance to breathe.

5. Feign Confidence

No matter how you’re feeling, it’s important to act like you are confident. Even if you’re anxious, you may find you fool everyone into thinking you’re a master orator if you feign confidence.

6. Watch Professional Speakers

For more ideas of what to include in your presentation and how to speak effectively, watch videos of professionals. Note down what tactics work well and think about how you could adopt them for your own speech.

7. Don’t Worry About Mistakes

Speaking flawlessly is not a requirement for good public speaking. What matters much more is that your speech flows naturally. If you stumble, don’t chastise yourself — this will only ruin your confidence, and the chances are no one even paid it much attention. In fact, if you watch professional speakers (or even your professors), you’ll notice they occasionally make mistakes while talking, but they just correct themselves and move on.

Many students don’t rehearse giving their presentations in advance because they don’t have a private place to practice. You’ll find you study much more effectively (for presentations and for all your other schoolwork) if you live off campus. For St Catharines student housing, look no further than Regent. As well as the desk in your private bedroom, you’ll have access to our community room, which is ideal for studying on your own or in a group. Set up your tour today.

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