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The power of preparation: 8 tips for public speaking from Amy Pond

The power of preparation: 8 tips for public speaking from Amy Pond

Public speaking is a powerful storytelling tool and an inevitable part of life. Whether Interviewing for a job, discussing a promotion, selling a product, pitching an idea, or giving a memorable toast at a wedding, these are all examples of public speaking. Here are eight tips for becoming a better public speaker, whether you're speaking in front of one person or 1,000.

1. PRACTICE. It might seem obvious, but practice is the best way to feel more confident as a presenter and public speaker. You can read every book on public speaking, but you will only get better if you practice. Don’t let the day you present be the first time you deliver your speech—practice out loud, over and over. Prepare whether you have two weeks, two days, or two minutes!

2. Ask for feedback. Supportive feedback is a gift. Ask a trusted peer, friend, family member, or mentor to listen to your speech and ask for honest feedback.

3. Know the relationship between content and delivery. There's a difference between content—what you say—and delivery—how you say it. Practicing the content of your speech and delivering your speech are separate and equally crucial steps to being an excellent public speaker.

4. Know your audience. Before speaking, you should understand who your audience is. Giving a presentation to the board of directors at your company will be very different from giving a toast at your best friend's wedding.

5. To memorize, or not to memorize? A common question is whether you should memorize your speech. If you're going to memorize, memorize the first two sentences only. A strong opening will set you up for success. It’s not a place for adlib.

6. Know how your fear will show up. When it comes to public speaking, it isn't a question of "if" you will get nervous but how your nerves show up. My anxiety levels before speaking, to no surprise, are directly related to my level of preparation. Knowing how to combat your anxiety is critical to getting over it.

7. Be yourself. As Oscar Wilde said, "Just be yourself; everyone else is already taken." The goal of public speaking is to be the best version of you, not to mimic someone else. That way, your genuine authenticity can shine, and you'll feel comfortable delivering your speech.

8. Be a lifelong learner. Public speaking is an art form that can be crafted—don't be afraid to push yourself to keep learning!

About the author

Amy Pond is the Vice President of sales at Cultural Care Au Pair based in Denver, CO where she focuses on sales, business development, and customer service. She has built a brand as a master public speaker and has engaged audiences worldwide as a trainer, motivational speaker, and even talk show host! She is passionate about helping individuals overcome their fear of public speaking and believes in the transformative power of effective communication.