19 Things to Keep in Mind Before Speaking in Public

Knowing how to deliver a great speech is an essential skill for a leader.

Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, Barack Obama… They are great speakers. We all remember them for how they spoke in public.

But we don’t deliver speeches to such large audiences every day. Right?

We’re more likely to talk to the team we lead, to present something to stakeholders, or to speak at an event.

So it’s good to use these public figures to inspire us. But we also need practical tools to improve how we convey a message or tell a story.

Here’s a checklist that helps me before I have to do a presentation:

1. Know your audience.
2. Be clear on why this presentation needs to happen now.
3. Keep your feet grounded on the floor (no dancing).
4. Make sure your audience understands where your credibility comes from.
5. Open your arms. Owning your space like the Vitruvian Man will boost you level of confidence.
6. Convey a clear message. Clarity is essential to good communication.
7. Be more confident. Confidence comes with preparation and practice.
8. Breath!
9. Use the adrenaline rush to your advantage.
10. Pause. Communicating also happens through silence.
11. Slow down. Chances are your speaking too fast.
12. If you’re well prepared, feeling nervous is the result of vanity. Speaking in public is not about you, but about your audience and the message you want to deliver.
13. Get rid of the tension. Relax your shoulders. Again…
14. Work hard on the content and the format.
15. Get rid of the “hmm…”, “like”, and “you know”.
16. Show a high level of energy and be in the moment. (On a 1-to-10 scale, how engaged are you?)
17. Find a way to summarise your message in three points or a two-sentence story.
18. Repeat this message.
19. You’re on stage to tell a story. You’re there for your audience. Serve them.