As an Youth Reps, you will often have to speak in public. You may feel nervous at first but through practice, you will soon gain confidence. This tips will help you when making a public speeches.

Early Preparation

If you are using audio equipment such as a microphone, make sure that it works. Do a simple sound check, you want to appear strong and professional.

Be familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practise using the microphone and any visual aids.

At the start of your speech, you can ask that people raise their hand before making any comments or designate a specific time for questioning such as at the end. If someone begins to interrupt, you can politely remind them of your opening remarks.

Problems that could occur…

Here are five common things to look out for:

‘Drying up’ or not being able to speak.

Forgetting what you are talking about and your mind going blank.

People noticing that you are nervous.

The impossible to answer ‘question from Hell’.

Going dizzy and falling over!

There are many ways to combat these potential problems. Just follow the tips on the next page and make sure that you know your speech inside out, and have something to lean on, just in case!

Key points to remember

Questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, then don’t waffle on pretending you do. Just admit that you don’t, but try and refer them on to someone who might know the answer (see Media Guide, pages 44-48, for more tips).

Know the audience. Greet some of the audience as they arrive. Make sure you know what your audience want, a laugh, a lecture or what? It is up to you to find out and do just that.

Know your material. If you are not familiar with what you are reading or are uncomfortable with it, you will be nervous.

Relax. Ease tension by doing exercises, a simple walk should do it.

Visualise yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud and clear. When you visualise yourself as successful, you will be successful.

Jargon. Try to avoid using jargon. Not everyone in the audience will understand technical terms, so explain everything and make it simple and accessible for all.

Facts. Use facts and statistics to reinforce what you are saying. This will make your speech much more effective.

Concentrate on what you are saying. Focus your attention away from your own worries, and outwardly toward your message and your audience.

Time management. Keep an eye on the time. Do not bore people for hours and hours. If you have a long speech, then try and engage the audience.

Speak slowly. Speaking slowly will help you say your speech clearly and make you sound intellectual, but it will also give your audience a chance to understand and take in what you say!

Eye contact. Make eye contact with different members of the audience.

Audience. Remember that some people get nervous in audiences too. Put them at their ease.

Visual Aids. Use visual aids where useful. People like to look at things. Flip charts, Powerpoint and video can all be used to make the presentation more memorable. Also consider the use of handouts. It gives the audience something to take away and it might help them remember your speech. They can also feel as if you have given them something ‘for free’ … everyone loves a freebie!

Passion. While you should not be afraid to speak passionately, do not be overly emotional, provocative or aggressive.

Be yourself. An audience will know if you are trying to be something you are not.

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