Today’s Solutions: December 05, 2023

Public speaking can be frightening, but with the appropriate tools, it can be transformed into an art of connection and influence. Professional speechwriter for government officials, business leaders, and athletes, Lauren Dominguez Chan of West Wing Writers, reminds us that the ultimate goal is to connect with your audience in the moment.

Dominguez Chan and Eva Margarita, an assistant director at Texas Speech, the speech team at the University of Texas at Austin, offer advice on how to overcome several issues that people commonly face when speaking in public.

The power of a clear message

Determine your main point before beginning your speech. “If my audience could walk out of this room with one thing, what would that one thing be?” Dominguez Chan urges. The foundation for a great speech is a clear, simple message.

Guiding your audience

Make sure that every piece of your speech points back to your main theme to keep it focused. This ensures a well-structured and purposeful presentation that is well received by your audience.

Bridging the gap: connecting with your audience

The key to capturing your audience’s attention is through vibrant visuals and storytelling. Dominguez Chan believes in “sticky stories,” or anecdotes that arouse the senses and make your message memorable.

For example, she suggests replacing “I was terrified,” with something along the lines of: ”my hands were shaking so much that I couldn’t hold the steering wheel.”

Write for the ear

Writing for the ear, with simple words and sentences that resound, is essential for effective speechwriting. Keep in mind that simplicity can convey complicated themes and “are often the most powerful.”

Practice makes perfect

Overcoming anxieties and fine-tuning your speech require practice. Seek input from friends and family, or even consider joining a group like as Toastmasters International, where structured sessions provide important critique and practice chances.

Dominguez Chan encourages you to ask those you are practicing with if the you sound like yourself, or about details like the pacing. She also suggests “[taking] a voice memo with your phone and [playing] it back to yourself.”

Overcoming nervousness

Margarita, who coaches college students on how to research, write, and deliver speeches strongly recommends taking deep breaths in the moments before your speech. Deep breaths and self-regulating breaths can help relax your body and mind before speaking. It’s all about laying the groundwork for a confident delivery.

Embrace imperfections

Mistakes are a normal part of the process. Don’t be alarmed if you trip or lose your location. A brief pause, a deep breath, and a gentle restart will keep you on track. Remember that the audience is more forgiving than you may believe.

These public speaking tips and insights will help you become a more confident and effective speaker. Mastering the art of public speaking is within your grasp, whether you’re addressing a small group or a large audience.

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