I have recently decided to take a speech class here at BenU. Usually I consider myself to be very social and comfortable with speaking my mind freely, planned speeches in front of a class, however, can be nerve-racking for me. I think that prior to a speech or presentation I start to over think things and I psyche myself out. Once I get going, I am perfectly fine. My first speech is due next week and I am getting a little nervous. I’ve been thinking about good ways to prepare myself for speech class and public speaking in general and I’d like to share with you guys.
- Make an outline – plan your topic before hand so that you can develop a good speech.
- Have your professor go over your outline – your professor can edit your speech and give you advice on your presentation.
- Make note cards – write down small bullet points that will help you along during your speech in case you forget your train of thought. Make sure to include main ideas only.
- Do not read straight off of your note cards or powerpoint, it will get boring for your audience.
- Practice your speech- practice with family members and friends multiple times, after a while you will have memorized the main ideas. After practicing it multiple times, you probably won’t be as nervous during the actual speech.
- Timing – as you practice your speech, time yourself and make sure that are not going under or over the time limit. Remember if you have a short amount of time, keep you points short; you do not want to rush through a boatload of information in a 2 minute time slot. Take it slow.
- Make sure it flows – reading your speech out loud will help you pick out parts of your speech that do not sound right.
- Everyone in the class is probably as nervous as you – your audience is full of your peers, they aren’t going to judge you. Plus, when they give their speeches, they’ll probably be just as nervous.
- If you really want to improve your speaking skills, try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone!
- You have to try new things! Face your fears and try joining things that require speaking in front of others like becoming an officer of a club, giving tours at your school, or joining a speech club or drama club. There are numerous ways that you can get out of your comfort zone!