Public speaking has been described as our number one fear … even ahead of dying! However, most people will have to confront this fear at some stage during their lifetime.

Below are some tips to assist you to communicate effectively when you are next called on to make a speech or presentation:

  1. Be prepared. Make sure you know your material inside and out.
  2. Have a practise run. Ask for feedback and work on areas that need to be improved.
  3. Check out the venue in advance. Make sure you can be heard. Ensure that any aids are in place including where necessary a microphone and appropriate lectern.
  4. Practise appropriate gestures. Gesturing when speaking can help you to relax, reinforce your message and make your presentation more interesting. Practise in front of a mirror.
  5. Start with an interesting story or fact to grab the attention of your audience. Keep the presentation short and concise.
  6. Stay relaxed and have fun. The audience will latch on to your enthusiasm.
  7. Where appropriate use natural humour.
  8. Do your homework on the audience. Find out what their expectations are.
  9. Keep an eye on your audience. If they are losing interest you may need to change your approach to ensure that your message is received.
  10. Get better – ask for feedback and work on areas that need to be improved.