Public Speaking – Practice Methods

Every public speaking opportunity is a chance to improve your skills. Public speaking happens every day at the office– team meetings, client meetings, etc. Don’t think you have to be standing on a stage in front of a lectern for an occasion to qualify as public speaking. Here are some ways that you can practice your delivery:

• Practice a full-length speech using a video recorder at least ten to twenty times. How many times should you practice? The answer is simple: As many times as it takes to master your content.

• Ask someone to count the “ums,” “ahs,” and “likes” you use. These are filler words and they can kill a good speech. Be comfortable with the sound of silence. Or, use a video/voice recorder and count the filler words. You may be surprised.

• Visualize your audience and the room in which you will deliver your speech.

• Prepare for possible interruptions and distractions such as a ringing cell phone, a microphone or PowerPoint failure, or people who arrive after you’ve started.

The Best Resource for Mastering Public Speaking

When it comes to mastering public speaking, there is no greater resource than Toastmasters International(TM).

Toastmasters International offers its members a venue for practicing communication and leadership skills. Clubs meet regularly and members fulfill different roles at each meeting. There is a proven curriculum of increasingly more challeng- ing topics, techniques, and formats. Fellow club members evaluate speeches for each other. They also give support and encouragement to speakers of all abilities. Toastmasters In- ternational has grown to 14,650 clubs in 126 countries since its founding in 1924.

I encourage you to join Toastmasters. Each club has its own personality, so visit several clubs to find the one that best suits you. Visit the Toastmasters International website to find a club near you.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Public Speaking and Presentation Skills from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career