"public speaking dos and donts"Whether you’re having a business meeting or need to present something at work, good communication skills are the key to success. There are many factors that may interfere with your ability to speak in public. The good news is that giving a good speech is a skill that anyone can learn. Prepare yourself, research your audience, and embrace your discomfort. Learn more about the topic and write down any possible questions that your audience may ask.

Here are some public speaking do’s and don’ts to consider:

Public Speaking Do’s

  • Do decide what the purpose of your speech is. Analyze your audience and then organize your talk accordingly.
  • Be yourself. Too often, people think they need to act in a certain way to impress others. The best way to connect with your audience is to be genuine and real. Talk about your passions, your hobbies and other things that help support your speech.
  • Do organize your thoughts and focus on the subject. Avoid lengthy self-promotion.
  • Do come prepared. Confidence comes from knowing your material thoroughly. The most successful public speakers are well prepared. Practice your speech several times in front of your friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.
  • Be interesting and passionate. Your speech should evoke emotions.
  • Do practice your visual aids beforehand.
  • Do face the audience.
  • Tell a story. Points and stories go hand in hand. Use stories from your own life.
  • Do control your nerves. Most people are afraid of speaking in public. However, there are various techniques that can help you overcome speech anxiety and deliver great presentations. Act like you know what you’re doing even if you don’t.
  • Do make eye contact. This is an essential part of your speech. If you don’t make eye contact with your audience, you will lose their interest.
  • Do speak clearly.

Public Speaking Don’ts

  • Do not apologize. If you mess up the words that you are using, or forget a section of your speech, fix your mistake and move on.
  • Don’t go over time. Keep your speech within the time limit.
  • Don’t use big words and jargon. Use simple language.
  • Don’t read your slides.
  • Don’t go back and forth your slides.
  • Do not “lecture” at the audience.
  • Don’t stare at the ceiling, the floor, or the window.
  • Don’t imitate other speakers.
  • Don’t use clichés.
  • Don’t learn your speech by heart.
  • Don’t stress too much.
  • Don’t point out your faults.
  • Don’t do awkward gestures.
  • Don’t be boring.
  • Don’t ignore or disrespect your audience.

Image credit: Stuart Miles

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