All About Public Speaking

My first proper public speaking experience was in 4th grade, and it was one I remember vividly.

Our teacher had given us a prompt in advance, “Should homework be banned?” It was a fairly straightforward topic, but for my elementary school-leveled brain, it was quite the enigma. My classmates and I were divided into the “Pro” group and “Con” group. Much to my dismay, I found myself in the “Con” group, and had to act as an advocate of homework. Regardless, I did my best to prepare, even practicing my “speech” in front of my mom.

On the great day of the debate, when it was my turn to speak to my fellow 4th graders, I chickened out. I barely muttered “Homework shouldn’t be b-banned because… it’s HOME work. You got to do it at HOME.” And I went back to my seat, not even bothering to look at the reactions of my peers. All throughout the rest of class, my cheeks were flaming, like a bright red firetruck.

Whether it be doing a speech or presentation in school, I always found myself horrified at the mere concept of public speaking. The relationship I had with public speaking was that of Tom and Jerry. It was always chasing my tail, and no matter how much I tried to escape it, it was always around the corner. Over the years, I learned to accept this fact, and found a few coping methods for the people like me out there:

1. Accepting and embracing
The first step is to accept your situation. There’s a clichéd saying: if you can’t avoid it, enjoy it. Try to be positive! You can’t avoid the situation, so might as well make the best out of it.

2. Practice and prepare
The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is that hard work never betrays. Well, for the most part. If you are prepared, you will feel less nervous and jittery because you’ve minimized chances of making any mistakes or blanking out.

3. Don’t sweat it
I mean this in both a figurative and literal sense. The more you worry about it, the more nervous you get. One method I use when speaking in front of the public is pretending everyone in the audience is a gummy bear. Then, you won’t have to feel intimidated at all. This may sound ridiculous, but don’t beat it until you’ve tried it.

4. Confidence
Make sure your tone of voice sounds convincing and confident. If you sound like you truly believe in what you’re talking about, then the audience will be convinced. If you sound doubtful, the audience will be doubtful as well.

Hopefully, these tips help you in your next public speaking opportunity as they have helped me. Good luck!