Public Speaking Tips

Public speaking has been cited as the number one fear of individuals (Death is number 2!).

Here are some pointers to improve your presentation skills and help you feel more comfortable. 

Mingle. Arrive early and meet various members of your audience before the presentation. You’ll build a connection with them, which will ease the discomfort of speaking in front of a room of strangers. Plus, you’ll have a feel for what the audience is expecting to learn and you can adjust points in your presentation if necessary.  

Bite your tongue. One of the easiest ways to cure dry mouth is to gently bite your tongue. This releases saliva, making it less noticeable as you make it back to your bottle of water. 

Use silence. While this frightens most speakers, silence is a great tool when used sparingly.  Sudden silence grabs your audience’s attention. So, if there is a point that you want to emphasize, get quiet first. 

You may notice I left out the typical advice:

  • Practice ahead of time
  • Don’t speak in a monotonous tone; add variations
  • Avoid a lot of text on PowerPoint slides
  • Don’t use excessive animation and graphics 

FYI, these still apply. 

Towanda Long aka The Café Lady


2 responses to “Public Speaking Tips

  1. Great tips Towanda. I’d never heard of the “tongue biting” trick before, I’ll have to try it!

    I’m glad you included the “mingling” tip, as this is one of the easiest ways to calm your nerves before a speech.

    Matt Nadell

  2. Hi Matt – it’s a trick that always takes people by surprise when I train them. The funny thing is that I always tell ’em not to try it out right now because it won’t work unless your mouth is dry.. but they do anyway…..

    Personally though, I suggest they gently squeeze, rather than bite, just in case they get carried away! I also suggest that they go for the inside of their cheeks, not their tongue but the principle’s the same!


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