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Tips for Public Speaking – Before You Speak

tips for public speaking, nannette bosh

Tips for public speaking before you speak.

Recently a LinkedIn contact for some tips for public speaking that I could offer her before she got started. I put together a list she could use to ensure her first public speaking engagement would be a success. Below are 40 tips for public speaking, great for newbies. (Actually I wish someone had given these tips when I was first starting out).

Here are my tips for public speaking before you speak:

  1. Most public speakers need to start speaking for free. This will build your foundation, get you name recognition and give you a chance to gain real life practice.
  2. Join your local Toastmasters. You’ll get practice, support and boost your confidence.(If you’d like 7 tools to super charge your self-esteem you can download my ebook for free).
  3. Speak wherever and whenever you can.
  4. You only need one value added presentation to get started.
  5. Choose a topic you’re passionate about, that’s related to your business. If you speak for free you’ll have an opportunity to offer something additional to your audience that they may need in the future.
  6. Find your target market. Who are the people that will benefit most from the expertise you offer?
  7. Ask you friends, family and contacts to pass around and share your name and presentation topic when appropriate.
  8. Contact event planners for conferences related to your industry and ask to be considered for their upcoming event.
  9. You most likely won’t start as the Keynote Speaker but you might be offered an opportunity to do a break-out session or be used as an alternate for a last minute cancelation.
  10. Offer to present to your local Chamber of Commerce.
  11. Align yourself with a non-profit that’s close to your heart and ties into your business on some level and offer to speak to their group for free. It’s great for your soul and you’ll get visibility and gain some credibility as well.
  12. Remember you’re the expert on your topic. Be sure your website reflects that very fact. Your website is your online business card.
  13. Summer is the slow public speaking season, this is the perfect time to create a package or product you can offer event attendees when things pick up in the Fall.
  14. Write a book or an ebook on your topic. You’re the expert and a future audience may purchase or download your book after you speak.
  15. When asked to speak, be early so you can coordinate with the event planner and view the layout and setups.
  16. Know your equipment (consider buying your own equipment it’s a handy back up) and don’t forget to pack an extension cord and extra batteries for your remote.
  17. Pack a snack. You won’t want to present on an empty stomach and you may find your speaking while others are eating.
  18. Always bring a printed version of your presentation in a flip binder. Technology is great but it’s not always reliable.
  19. Bring your marketing materials. Audiences love workbooks because the can take them home. If you use a workbook be sure your contact information is on the cover, you don’t miss out on future speaking engagements.
  20. Don’t drink alcohol the day before you speak. Alcohol stays in your system for 24-48 hours and can leave you foggy and dehydrated.
  21. You need to be hydrated before you speak, so drink plenty of water the day before and bring along a bottle of water the day of as a back up.
  22. Have more slides and material to cover than you think you’ll need. It’s better to be over prepared than under.
  23. Work on your timing. Time yourself when you practice. It’s rude to go over your time but you don’t want your audience to feel short changed.
  24. You’ll most likely take longer to present your material than you think. Know in advance what slides or bullet points you can skim over or skip so you won’t rush the presentation.
  25. Find your own creative ways to engage the audience and use stories. Our brains love stories.
  26. Be your authentic self. That’s why they chose you as the public speaker.
  27. Make it as easy as possible on the event planner.
  28. Ask to be promoted by the person who booked you (especially if you’re speaking for free).
  29. Have someone proof your slides, they’ll see things you’ve missed.
  30. Keep the slides simple using bullet points and pictures. You don’t want an audience disengaged because they’re slide reading.
  31. Watch some professional speakers you admire on youtube, this will help you perfect your own technique and stage presence.
  32. Record yourself when you practice at home so you can see where you need to improve, and practice, practice, practice!
  33. Put on an event of your own with some friends at home and ask for feedback.
  34. You don’t know everything so if you have a Q&A session and someone asks a question you can’t answer, tell the audience member the truth. Offer to find the answer and get back to him or her.
  35. If there is no mic for the audience asking questions, always repeat the question before you answer, that way everyone in the room hears the question that was asked.
  36. Bring feedback sheets and ask attendees to take a moment to fill them out. This is the best way to make improvements and corrections before you speak next time.
  37. Be gracious and thank the person who booked you. Never forget to thank the emcee or whomever did your introduction.
  38. Before you close tell the audience how they can reach you and yes thank them too!
  39. Keep your bio current.
  40. Gain media exposure around the event if you can and be sure to ask for permission to include it on your website.

Tips for Public Speaking Before You Speak BONUS TIP

Always ask for a testimonial from the event host. You’ve provided a valuable service enjoyed by many and a testimonial shared on your website for a job well done is priceless.


Use these tips for public speaking then share your big win… I’d love to hear from you!


Nannette Bosh xo

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